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To be a champion

Don’t we all dream of greatness? Isn’t that why we love champions and conquerors? Rocky, Indiana Jones, Braveheart, Gladiator – stories of underdogs bloodied and scarred, but whose heads are unbowed, their courage unbeatable. How we long to be like them!

Fierce determination and winning against the odds inspire us. Heroes fire our hearts. They do so precisely because, though we want to be, we don’t feel very heroic.

Too often, when something important needs to be said, rather than rise to the occasion, we keep quiet. And silently kick ourselves later for being a coward. We rehearse what we should have said, what we wish we had said, but we didn’t say it.

Some familiar temptation arises, one we’ve vowed a hundred times we will beat next time, and we lay down our sword and surrender without a fight. Our shame shouts, “You are no champion! You will never be a conqueror!”

We believe that lie. And it is a lie. I know because God said so.

Through Paul, writing to ordinary Christians in Rome – people who gave in to temptation, people who lost their nerve and failed to speak up, people like us, He said, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Did you hear that? More than conquerors! Look carefully. It doesn’t say, “Can be” or “will be.” It says, “Are.” Not just conquerors, but more than that.

How could that be? Had these Christians risen to some new level? Were they super-strong and never wrong? Hardly. Find a Bible and back up to Romans 7:14. Read Paul’s description of relentless temptations and constant failures.

How could people like me ever be “more than conquerors?”

Simple. They were in the winning army. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote (8:1). They conquered because of that one choice, that one courageous act of faith to align themselves with a leader whom they had not met to fight against an enemy they could not see. They would not win every battle, but they could not lose the war.

Our greatest battle in life is to believe what God says that we can be, to believe enough to follow him into the fight, to believe it enough to become it. That takes heroic faith. That faith makes you a conqueror – even when you fail.


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