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Enjoy the Victory

January 07 2014
January 07 2014

By

Well, it’s hard to believe another season of college football has finally come to an end. I know for some of you this is welcome relief; the suffering is over and hopes for next can now begin. As an Auburn fan, however, this has been a dream season. Who would have thought after going 3-9 a season ago that Auburn would have played for the national championship? Even though Auburn lost last night to a very good Florida State team, this season has been nothing short of remarkable. War Eagle!

As Auburn’s march towards a great season gathered momentum throughout the fall, I noticed a common refrain from those who knew where my allegiance lay. After both of the seemingly miraculous wins against Georgia and Alabama several people gave me congratulations. I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. After all, I didn’t “do” anything to earn those victories. Nevertheless, because of those victories Auburn fans all around the country are holding their heads a little higher and telling others about what “we” accomplished this year.

This is one of the great blessings to be found in sport. Championships are not only enjoyed by the players and coaches who compete, but by the fans who can’t. The players and coaches fight for their fans and bring to them the joy of the victory. It doesn’t matter that fans lack athletic skill, youth, determination or opportunity, the victory is still theirs because it is shared. It really is wonderful.

It also perfectly illustrates the greatest blessing of the Gospel—its sheer grace. According to Hebrews, the Christian is to fix their gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ who is the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2)

In fact, Jesus as “founder” could better be translated “champion.”  The idea here is that Jesus is the one who has traveled the path of faith completely and so originates the path of faith in our lives too.  Verses two and three of Hebrews 12 highlight that Jesus was faithful in the face of every temptation, trial and suffering.  Rather than seeking his own personal joy, he endured the trials of this life and the hostility of the cross for us so that we might become a people of true faith. In this way, Jesus has become the one who lived for us and died for us. He is our champion.

The second word only strengthens this concept.  As our champion, Jesus brings our faith to its perfect completion.  He perfectly sustains us in our journey of faith.  It is not just that he has traveled this path, but that as those who follow him we are promised that he ensures we will make it to the journey’s end. Like a true champion, he guarantees our arrival at the victory he achieved for us.

While I’m certain Auburn and Florida State fans will enjoy the slaps on the back and the congratulations for a great 2013 season that they had absolutely nothing to do with, I do wonder if we as Christians will enjoy the greater and eternal victory Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. Are we living in the victory Jesus has secured for us over the guilt of our sins? Do we believe that sin’s power has been truly broken through Jesus’ work on the cross? Are we enjoying the confidence that we will arrive at the finish line no matter how dark and difficult are today’s struggles? Are we living life from the vantage point of being champions? Why not? This is a victory that does not change from season to season, but is ours today, tomorrow and evermore!

As great as it feels to be a champion in sport, it is even better to enjoy the champion whose name is Jesus Christ!


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Tara

January 07, 2014 9:44 AM

I love thinking of the rush of excitement I feel when my team wins a football game and how that pales to the rush of excitement in knowing--even though it sounds incredibly cheesy--I  truly am on Jesus' team and ultimate victory is secured.