The movie Talladaga Nights made the line, “If you are not first you are last” famous. The not so theologicaly correct movie is a fictional comedy and that line is not meant to be taken seriously. However, it is likely you have also heard it quoted on a sports field or even in a meeting at work. The reality is that it is easy to get sucked into this line of thinking. There is a business success book that actually uses the quote from Talladaga Nights it’s title. Back in 1930 UCLA coach Red Sanders said. “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Since then many coaches (including Vince Lombardy), politicians, and business leaders have used this saying and others like it. Too many people live as if this is their life’s motto. Our society is obsessed with winning. We get sucked into making comparisons and measuring ourselves against others in just about all areas of our lives.
In which areas of your life are you trying to win? Are you trying to outdo your friends, neighbors, and coworkers at work, at wealth, in games, in health and fitness, or in personal or social success? Maybe it’s the success of your kids in academics, arts, athletics, or socially that keeps you up at night? We all know someone who has gone to extremes to finish first or to see their kids finish first, but if we are honest we too are often tempted to fall into this trap.
It is true that we are made to pursue dreams and do the best with what we have been given; however, what we pursue is of eternal importance. Jesus had a lot to say about chasing the things of this world and trying to outdo others. He said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew 16:26). And, as Jesus was teaching about fairness, wages, and the kingdom He said, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Our Creator God made us for Himself (Isaiah 43:1) and no amount of winning on earth will ever satisfy the way God intends for us to be ultimately satisfied. Instead, God made us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). This does not mean to stop pursuing goals, dreams, and even competitions that compliment the pursuit our life’s purpose and intended destination. Instead, it means to adopt God’s definition of ultimate victory.
The Bible has a lot to say about winning including what it takes to compete and finish in victory. Here are seven attributes of winners to guide you on the path to victory:
In summary, winners are gifted people who are focused on specific goals that they pursue with relentless passion, intentional discipline and detailed preparation. Confident in the outcome, they understand the cost of their pursuit and humbly surrender that which is not necessary to the mission as they look forward to their reward.
Join us as we discuss how to live this out in everyday life and work.
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