It was 6:45 PM in Glasgow, Scotland and only 15 minutes before we were to start leading worship. Due to some uncontrollable circumstances, I was still on the platform of the church on my knees and it wasn't because I was praying! I was plugging and unplugging cables, testing microphones, and trying my best to keep my peace and get everything working in the next few minutes.
Needless to say, I was extremely stressed out which must've shown all over my face as a friend approached the platform, looked at me and said, Brother, are you winning?
His words struck me as odd so I looked at him and said, What? He said it again, Are you winning?! I honestly don't remember my exact reply, but I nervously chuckled and just kept working. On the inside, I was irritated by that question and had no time for it. In fact if anything, I was Whining instead of Winning! So I just shook it off , kept working and by God's grace we started worship at 7PM. We ended up having a great service. Isn't His grace amazing?!
But that little saying, Are you winning? kept coming back to me, and I realized what an important question it was.
We all want to win in life and be successful, solve problems, etc., but everyday we are faced with difficulties and challenges which can sometimes irritate us, weaken us and make us feel like we are losing the battle of life. But after pondering that question, I realized what he was really saying: No matter what is happening on the outside, we can still be winning on the inside.
It's like the lyrics in a song we wrote:
Though my world turns upside down, YOUR peace can still be found...
Many times when I'm in a difficult situation, facing a lot of stress, under a time crunch, in the midst of a battle, I hear that little question again, Are you winning?
To be honest, sometimes I just want to say, NO! I'm not winning!, because in the natural it can be so hard, I don't see how in the world I can get through it. Have you ever been there?
But I am reminded of the simple fact: Winning starts on the inside, regardless of what is happening on the outside.
You can be in the midst of an undeniably very tough trial, but the good news is:
Jesus is on the inside of you, and HE is winning IN you, and winning FOR you and THROUGH you.
This is the key: Winning on the inside no matter what happens on the outside! That's how the apostle Paul was able to be victorious in a Philippian jail and say things like, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) No matter what his circumstances were, he always seemed to be winning!
Maybe it didn't look like he was when he was thrown in prison, shipwrecked, beaten, stoned and left for dead. But on the inside He kept his heart strong, encouraging himself in the Lord, knowing ...If God was for him, then who could be against him. (Romans 8:31) He knew Jesus was on the inside of him, and no matter what problem he faced he could still find a way to be positive, knowing Christ was in him and working for him.
Winning is not always about the outside, as though we were in some natural Earthly race. No, we're talking about a spiritual Heavenly race. And in this race we are victorious and winners in Christ, regardless of our outward circumstances. And even if we died in the midst of a battle, we still win because death is even swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54) and ...To live is Christ and to die would even be gain. (Philippians 1:21) Now THAT'S Winning!
So if that friend would ask me today if I was winning, I would say a resounding YES! Not because everything is perfect in my life, but because The Winner lives in me. He has won the victory for me so I will declare it!
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Winning doesn't mean you will never have problems. It means you refuse to let the problem get inside you. Yes, life can be hard sometimes, but let it be hard on the outside and stay strong on the inside. As Paul said, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might" and "be strengthened with might by HIS Spirit in the inner man". (Ephesians 3:16 & 6:10)
In closing, let's remember that Winning is an Inside Job. Christ lives in us and has given us the victory. I'm determined to not lose the WIN on the inside of me every day. How about you? We are born winners so let's stay winning.
But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Winning inside and out,
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I wrote a song several years ago about Jesus' encounter with Mary & Martha from Luke 10:38-42 titled Listen to His Heart. I can reme...
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