Would it surprise you to know that there is a difference between winning and being a winner?
You can win a contest. . .the lottery. . .an athletic event. . .a prize. . .but still not be a winner.
Winning is an occurrence. It’s something that happens today, this week, this year and then it’s gone.
In fact, if you study the history of people who won the lottery. . .you will discover few people were actually big winners in life. . .regardless of the mega millions they won by having a winning ticket.
Being a winner is a state of mind. . .regardless of what happens or the outcome of any particular contest or endeavor.
A winner is someone who recognizes they’re fighting for something noble. . . someone who refuses to quit. . . and who will never give up until they win or accomplish their goal or calling.
You and I were created to be winners in the game of life. Yet, we face an adversary who is dedicated to our defeat. However, God instructs us to fight the good fight of faith. . .because we’re more than conquerors. . .who can overcome every attack of the enemy.
As I was pondering this. . .I went to www.biblegateway.com and looked up “good fight” and the first reference that pulled up was 1 Timothy 1:18 in the New International Version of the Bible:
“Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight.”
The word good is the Greek word kalos (G2570) which means:
“beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable”
The King James Version of 1 Timothy 1:18 says: “. . . that thou by them mightest war a good warfare.”
The word warfare is the Greek word strateia (G4752) and it means:
“an expedition, campaign, military service, warfare.”
This particular Greek word for warfare is only used one other time in scripture. . .and that’s in 2 Corinthians 10:4:
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”
The Amplified Bible translation of 2 Corinthians 10:4 says:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.”
We also feel led to share 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 in the Message Bible with you:
“The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
I want to share a quote with you from Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams who said:
“Life is unfair. You don’t always get what you deserve. You get what you fight for.”
Now let’s go back to 1 Timothy 1:18 in the New Living Translation which says:
“Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.”
The first key to fighting the good fight. . .of waging effective warfare. . .of tearing down strongholds is FOLLOWING HIS INSTRUCTIONS.
We follow the instructions and then we follow the words of 1Timothy 6:12 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
The second key in fighting the good fight is faith.
I don’t feel led to make this teaching about faith. Hopefully, if you’re hearing my voice today. . .you already know the power of faith.
Let me just say this. . .
Faith is not invisible. Most people think that faith is invisible, but it isn’t. I can show it to you from Scripture.
Hebrews 11:1 says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Please notice that the thing “hoped for” is invisible, but faith is the evidence that makes it real. There is no such thing as invisible evidence.
You can’t go into a courtroom and win a case with invisible evidence.
If you have faith for a new house, the new house might be invisible right now, but your faith won’t be invisible. If the faith is invisible, the house will not show up either.
We’re fighting the good fight of that which is visible.
How do you make that which is seemingly invisible. . .visible. . .you’ve got to see it in the spirit.
In other words. . .see it. . .believe it. . .confess it. . .expect it. . .never give up on it. . .and manifest it.
One other thing I feel led to share from 1Timothy 6:12. . .this time from the Amplified Bible translation which says:
“Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.”
The verse says: “…[for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.”
The key to winning your good fight of faith is your confession. . .which makes what’s invisible. . .visible to you.
If you want to be a winner in life. . .then you must follow the first two keys to fighting the good fight. . .following instructions and having faith.
The third key in fighting to win. . .is to finish what you’ve been fighting for.
2 Timothy 4:7 says:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
My friend John Mason, the author of “An Enemy Called Average” and “Let Go Of Whatever Is Making You Stop,” once said:
"You will be judged by what you finish, not by what you start”You will be judged by what you finish, not by what you start.”
If you want to finish. . .you have to have a plan.
No commanding General would ever go into a battle without a plan.
The fourth key is to learn how to be an OVERCOMER.
Let’s begin with an example from the story of David and Goliath. It’s found in 1 Samuel 17:9 in Today’s New International Version which says:
“If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us."
These are bold words David is speaking. The scriptures don’t record whether King Saul knew David was going to make such a bold statement but I think we can rest assured that David already knew the end from the beginning.
He was not fighting this battle in his own strength… he knew in his heart that God would give him the victory. As you fight the good fight. . .you’ve got to know that God will give you the victory.
You can also have the confidence that as you fight the good fight. . .God will protect you Consider the words of Jeremiah 1:19 in the New International Version:
“They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.”
This thought leads right into the scripture found in Matthew 16:18 in Today’s New International Version says:
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not overcome it.”
We have all we need to overcome every trick or trap of the enemy.
Luke 10:19 in Today’s New International Version says:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
The King James Version of the Bible translates the last part of the scripture as:
“...and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
The Message Bible translation of Luke 10:19 says:
“…and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you.”
The devil does not want us fighting the good fight. . .he does not want us overcoming and he would like nothing more than to hurt our reputations as Christians . . . that’s why we’re waging warfare against principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness.
Romans 12:21 in Today’s New International Version says:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Let’s look at Romans 12:21 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.”
We can never rely on our own goodness or abilities; but we must constantly be relying on the Lord to live through us. Remember…many people try to live for Christ… but that is an impossible feat. We cannot live for Christ because that is based on our power… it is only when we let Christ live through us in His power that we will be successful overcomers.
1 John 4:4 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.”
In the Book of Revelation… the one book that tells the end of the story… the Apostle John was given what I call ‘inside information’ on what would take place. He also writes for us … the key to overcoming the enemy in every way he comes against us.
Revelation 12:11 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb (we were first born-again) and by the utterance of their testimony, (we ONLY confess what God says… not what the devil wants us to say) for they did not love and cling to life (we have given up life as the world lives it to live as the Lord instructs us to live in Him) even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing].”
The fifth key is to have the confidence in knowing our lives will one day take on total victory …
Revelation 3:21 in the Amplified Bible says:
“He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”
Thus far in this teaching. . .we come to understand the importance of fighting the good fight. . .of overcoming adversity and every attack of the enemy.
It’s now to recognize that if you fight to win as an overcomer than you will truly become more than a CONQUEROR.
Who enables and empowers you to become a conqueror over every adversity of life? The answer is found in Romans 8:37 which says:
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
As a victorious fighter. . .an overcomer … Who is the One who gives you your victories? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15:57 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Can the enemy, the devil, defeat you or any other member of the Body of Christ? Consider the words of Revelation 2:11 in the Message Bible:
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death."
Let’s see … you have a choice. . .you can fight till you’re a winner in the game of life by overcoming every storm of life as a conqueror or you can experience the consequences of Revelation 21:6 in the Message Bible which says:
“Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!"
In the athletic events and contests of this life. . .the winners always achieve some sort of recognition. . .what will you achieve as a result of your fighting the good fight. . .as an overcomer and by being, more than a conqueror.
The answer can be found in two scriptures. . .
First, Revelation 3:5 in the Message Bibles says:
“Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I'll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels.”
The second scripture is also found in Revelation chapter three. . .this time, it’s verse twenty in the Message Bible which says:
"Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That's my gift to the conquerors!”
I think what the Lord wants you to learn from this teaching is that He created, destined and empowered you to be a winner in your life.
You may feel like you’re in the battle of your life right now. . .then draw strength from this teaching and recognize that the only way you lose in the game of life. . .is if you quit.
And I know. . .you’ll never do that.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS