Last night was the College Football Championship game between Clemson and Alabama. And we saw two very good teams compete against each other in a battle that true fans of either program will not soon forget. But the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death far outshines any football game for this life long Clemson fan.
There was a battle on the football field, and the players had to remain focused on their goal under intense pressure and competition — just like Christ was focused on what He came to accomplish on the cross for you and I — and just like all of us who now know the Truth must remain focused and diligent in our calling and purpose.
We are called to tell the world this Good News of Jesus Christ, given whatever opportunity might be available to us today — not just in our words, but in our actions, in the “lifesong” of how we live. And our actions flow outward from our thoughts and minds and reveal our true motives. So if we want our VICTORY, or more specifically HIS VICTORY, to be visible and evident to others in our walk, we must be preparing for the big game on the big stage with regular practice and training in our minds.
Clemson didn’t win on the big stage by “just playing a game”, they were intentional, they prepared themselves, they repeatedly played through scenarios before the games, learned to study and recognize the tricks and taps and opportunities, and paid how to capitalize on these to see victory play itself out in the end.
This is how we are called to walk in victory, Christians, by seeing the victory won in our minds regularly, daily, intentionally –so that it will also be evidenced in our lives in those critical moments where it can make all the difference.
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT
Banish the very thought of doing wrong…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
Think about these things…
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV
God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control…
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:22-32 ESV