The NFL schedule wasn’t out but an hour or two and people were predicting the Packers’ final record for the upcoming season. That is such a useless exercise, since the draft hadn’t happened yet, nor the inevitable cuts and trades that ultimately shape this year’s team, and that of the opponents on their schedule. It’s moronic to make such predictions with any level of sincerity or integrity.
That being said, I think the Packers will go 12-4.
Very few places in the world get wrapped up in wins and losses quite like our little corner of the Kingdom. The addiction or obsession or idolatry that we have for winning tends to spill over into our daily lives in ugly ways, with documented increases in domestic violence or decreases in work attendance and productivity. That’s obviously taking things way too far.
If we’re going to have a healthier approach to our fandom – and to life in general – we need to celebrate the victories, certainly. But we also need to learn from our losses. Every coach will tell you that the true measure of a champion is how you handle adversity.
In Christ Jesus, we not only learn from our faults and failures, we also learn what we lose when He comes in and takes over the game. Jesus wins the ultimate victory for us over our sins and failures, and the death and darkness that come with them. He then hands us the trophy, for which He did everything and we did nothing. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:37), when He baptizes us into victory, feeds us with His salvation, and graces us with His daily presence through His Word of truth.
That means Jesus is the winner, and you’re the loser.
In Jesus, you lose all your sins, even the ones that keep coming back to haunt you with guilt. You lose the slavery into which pride, greed, lust and impatience have cast you. You lose the chains that trap you and hold you back from the life you really want to live – the life He really wants you to live.
In Jesus, you lose all your fear. Fear has several teammates that try to crush your faith and steal your joy. Things like doubt, stress, depression and worry team up with fear to immobilize you, terrorize you, and paralyze you. Jesus gets you moving again.
In Jesus, you lose your self. Your inner nature, the Old Adam, continually drives you to be first, to go first, to take first, and to live for yourself first. You end up constantly feeding the whims of the idolatry of self, relentlessly pursuing and imposing your own desires, opinions, preferences and judgments. You’re always right, but you always lose. Jesus turns you inside out.
In Jesus, you lose control. You’ve convinced yourself that everything you have and all that you are is your own doing, your own earning, your own possessing. It’s your money. It’s your ability. It’s your life. If it’s all yours, then you think you can dictate how and when and where it comes from, and how and when and where it’s going to go. You want to plan and program the outcome. Jesus crashes through our self-deceiving house of cards and establishes Himself as the foundation of every corner of our lives – past, present and future.
Jesus has that kind of impact on us, because He’s the Victor, the Champion. And He’s undefeated.
So be the loser.