Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Our college football team has won many championships that is until recently. The legendary coach retired and the new coach did a pretty good job. He left for another position. The boosters hailed another new coach as the hometown hero. The hype upon his arrival was crazy. His first season as head coach did not produce the winning results anticipated. This season is proving to be even worse. The stadium is more empty than usual. Only the most seasoned and weathered fans remain – there will be no championship season this year. What a letdown for the football fanatics! Their champion is not who they thought him to be. The team is struggling beneath his leadership. But…
Jesus is the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith. He is the Champion of all Champions overcoming death and the grave. He handed us the keys to every victory unlocked by faith in the Kingdom of God. It is up to us to rise to the occasion. The “David” in us must meet the “Goliath” on the field and leave victorious. It is our calling. The battle is in our creation. The new life in Christ moves us from grace to grace, glory to glory and victory to victory. It is important to note that champions are not just winners. Champions win every time to secure first place. Our victory falls under sound leadership. Our dedication to the team is required even in the off season, early morning practice, and even if we lose one. It is our confidence in Christ that makes us champions. He must increase and I must decrease.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Do you think David was afraid? Of course, in I Samuel 17:3-8, Goliath is described as quite the formidable foe. He was massive in stature. He was fully equipped for battle and backed by a huge army of similar size. No other Israelite would go to face him because of fear. Yet, David who was not a warrior had complete confidence that the Lord would be His Champion and ran to meet the giant. I Samuel 17:51 reports that the Philistine champion was dead and the army retreated.
I have thought about the new football coach hailed to be the savior of the team. I cannot imagine how he feels when he reads the comments of frustrated fans or even worse encounters them in public. All the hype has led to some pretty horrible remarks. Yet, he is just a man doing his job. He is coaching a team. I believe that his intent is to win and make champions of these young men. Nobody wants to be labeled a “loser” or “failure” in life. Yet the enemy tries to take momentary setbacks, insecurities and doubts to make us feel insignificant without purpose or potential. Well, it’s simply not true. Our Champion believed that we were worth dying for. He laid His Life down for our victories. Every single one of them – big and small.
A champion is a person who has defeated all opponents. They are in first place. The origin of the word “champion” is a warrior who wins battles on the field. When Christ becomes our Champion, victory is inevitable. However, it is up to you and me to defeat all opponents to Jesus in our heart, mind, body and soul until He sits on the Throne of our life victoriously. Otherwise, there is a duplicity that creates disconnect from Him and insecure outcomes in life. To live for Christ is the motto of a life champion. The win is secured by faith in the confident hope provided by Jesus. He gives us access to the winners circle. However, if fear and doubt destroy our faith then there is nothing to rest our laurels on and life will get the best of us.
Sin will keep us from triumph every time. Little sins. Big sins. Anything contrary to God’s Will or Way will slow us down and trip us up. It is important that as faith racers that we become astute at repentance which is the removal of that extra weight and burden to turn and run the race of faith with confidence that victory is ours in Jesus Name.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith…
Finally, there are people watching your life of faith. People who want to win but don’t have a clue where to start. They want a successful, prosperous and hopeful life with extraordinary potential. It is up to us to show them the way. Not religion, but the power of having a real and right relationship with Jesus – Our Champion. It will only take a couple wins to establish victory – signs, miracles and wonders as the life you are after. Maybe even only one – to experience the holy inhabitation of Christ and His Potential in us can change the course of a life forever. It will take discipline. It will require focus. It means giving your all to become a champion. To lay this life down for something greater. It is only possible when Jesus is your Champion.