My dad taught me a lot of things growing up: How to throw a ball. How to hook a worm. How to make a fire. How to build. How to compete and win.
He also taught me how to love my mom and my sisters. To care for the weak and powerless. He taught me to wake up and read God’s word; to value, study, and teach it. He even taught me how to lose.
Yes. He taught me how to lose. The key to losing right is not simply to have a good attitude.
There are actually two keys to losing well, and by living by and using these two keys, you will inevitably have a good attitude. The first key is to understand that you are not in control of the outcome; God is. The second, you are in control of what you do; so compete. Compete to the best of your ability, and trust God with the results.
2 Timothy 2:8 says, “Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
Athletes have a competitive nature as well as a discipline to train and compete according to the rules. Paul uses athletes as an example in 2 Timothy 2:8 to show how we are to live out 2 Timothy 2:2-3a:
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us…”
I think most of us want to be faithful followers of Jesus. We want to live up to Paul’s charge to compete as athletes. The big question we have to ask is: How do I compete?
Dusty, I want to work out more often, but what do I do? Dusty, I want to understand the Bible better, but what do I do? I want to lose weight, but what do I do? How do we compete?
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Here are three simple and small ways to compete for Christ this year.
#1 Read God’s word for 5 – 10 minutes a day. If you want, you can read Proverbs, or start in John. Fight for this time. This battle is so easy that we tend to overlook it. Fight for time in God’s word. 5 – 10 minutes, that’s it. No one has an excuse against this.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
#2 Be kind, intentionally and spontaneously. Open doors for people. Make a dinner for a family. Write your children a note that says, “I love you.” Help elderly people into their vehicles at the grocery store. Thank veterans for their service. Snuggle with your wife and tell her, “You are so amazing that you put Wonder Woman to shame.” Kiss your husband and tell him, “You are this family’s hero.”
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
#3 Forgive the people that wrong you. Okay, this one is tough, but it isn’t that tough when we think about Christ forgiving us.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
Which of the 3 could you improve on the most? What are some ways you can master these three? Be courageous, and ask someone to hold you accountable to these three this year.
Fathers, we have a fantastic Father-Son weekend coming up on February 22 – 24. We will be talking about what it is to be real men in today’s “anti-masculine” culture. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your son, and to help guide him on being a man who competes for Christ and His will. I hope to see you there!