January 24, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  A Connecticut Huskies player cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

WINNING IN LIFE

I am a sports nut. In our house when it comes to any kind of game with a ball we just about play them all. I love watching Kentucky basketball. I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan. I long for the day when the Tennessee Titans are relevant in the playoff picture again (pray for me on that one!).

It’s pretty easy to know who wins a ball game. The rules of the game are pretty easy to understand and the victories are easy to track on the scoreboard. Life is not quite this easy. Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re winning or losing in life. This got me to thinking, what are the wins in life and how do you know you’re succeeding. I think the wins in life come down to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment says love God and secondly love people. The Great Commission says make disciples. So, love God…love people…make disciples. I mean, those are wins right there! That includes loving your family and friends well. That includes serving and giving in God’s Kingdom. That includes worship, prayer, and the Word of God. I mean it’s all there. So, the wins are loving God, loving people, and making disciples. But also, how do you succeed daily in your job? In your marriage? What about parenting? Finances? Here are three essentials to winning in life.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

In order to win in life you must take personal responsibility for your actions. I believe this is what Christ meant when He said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving yourself means taking personal responsibility for your actions. The moment I begin to blame other people for my mistakes or my lack of growth as a person is the moment I regress. The success of my life is not determined by my spouse, my upbringing, my supervisor, or even my health. It’s the result of my thoughts, words, and actions. Daily I must stop and get with the Lord in prayer and do some personal evaluation. What am I feeling? How am I acting? What is my attitude right now toward my family, friends, and co-workers? We all have sinful moments, but these become destructive when we are unwilling to admit them and change, and when we allow our insecurity to rule us we drown in ineffectiveness. You will never win in life if someone else is always to blame and you always expect someone else to be responsible for your daily well-being.

DAILY DISCIPLINE

Life is a succession of daily moments. What I do in this moment determines where I will be tomorrow and the next day and so on. The daily habits you develop are the ingredients for your life, and the resulting meal that comes is the compilation what you do today. So many people miss this. They just get up in the morning, go to work, try to produce something or engage in some service, go home and watch a little television, go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow. Let me ask you a question: what do you want your life to look like 50 years from now? What kind of marriage do you want? What about your relationship with your kids? What about your job, business, or vocation? For some reading this you may not have 50 years left. What my life looks like 50 years from now and the legacy I leave for the glory of God in my family, friends, and others will be the result of the daily decisions I make to either honor Christ or live for comfort and complacency. So, how are you growing today? What are your personal goals and what are the daily steps to get you there? Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:7 in the bible we must discipline ourselves unto godliness. Character isn’t given it’s earned, and success isn’t gifted it’s acquired. This doesn’t negate the grace of God, it’s only by His grace we are able to accomplish anything. But don’t be deceived, character and true success are the result of appropriating the grace we are given in Christ. I was listening to a leadership podcast by Craig Groeschel recently and he asked a great question: what is one new discipline you will start this year? If we add one new simple daily growth habit a year, 20 years from now we will look back and stand amazed at the resulting difference in our lives.

 WISE CHOICES

It’s been said that we don’t just make choices, our choices make us. In order to win in life we must walk in wisdom. Wisdom can be defined as living life successfully. How do we do that? It comes down to resources and relationships. What resources are you learning from and what relationships are engaged in? Show me what you’re studying and who you’re spending time with and I will show you your future. Your first foundational resource is the Word of God, because Scripture says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So, when do your read and meditate on Scripture in your daily routine? Secondly, what books are you reading, podcasts are you listening to, or video content are you watching? If you spend all your time binge watching Netflix shows, watching ESPN, playing video games, or just listening to talk radio you probably won’t win in life according to God’s standard. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just have interesting conversation I want to live an incredible life for the glory of God. On relationships, who do you spend time with? We need great mentors, life coaches, and other godly successful people to speak into our lives. As it says in proverbs the person who walks with wise people will become wise. Winning in life is a matter of making prudent calculated decisions today that shape my tomorrow.

I hope this helps. These are all principles that I have learned from others and have to constantly return to in order to win in life. By the way, I’m climbing up the mountain with you on this and know that it’s just as difficult for me as it is for you. Ultimately, never forget the greatest win. Winning in life starts with the victory Christ won for us on the cross when He died to take away our sin. When you turn from sin and trust in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you are immediately put on God’s team, brought into His family, and you now have the strength to succeed. So, even before you try to apply the principles above the first question is have you turned from your sin and confessed Christ as the Lord of your life? If not, do it today! Then apply these principles above. I can promise based on the authority of God’s Word you will experience true success.