By Lau Jue Hua, Singapore
In high school my classmates and I laughed at this joke—since we were all the “fastest” sperms, we were all winners.
Jokes aside, the importance of winning is instilled in us since we were swaddling in blankets. Winning becomes our primary focus even as we get older. We are told to achieve good grades, win gold medals, and to be first in whatever we do. Don’t get me wrong, studying and exercising are not bad things to do and it’s not a crime to be good at it. It is deriving satisfaction and gratification in winning as if nothing else matters that is the problem with society and us today.
A pastor once asked his congregation, “When two faithful Christian athletes compete against each other, who will God support? Who wins?”
Many would think that it is the one who is more faithful. But that is not necessarily true. There are some who are blessed with superior genetics, talents, and the capability and dedication to work harder than others—and they may be unbelievers.
And what happens when God does not give you your win? Some Christians turn from their walk of faith when faced with such troubles. However, all of us should understand that losing could result in a deeper walk with God. For losing may be His way of humbling you, to bring you closer to Him. Perhaps He is even preparing your life to be one of those great success stories where the protagonist achieves his goals despite many setbacks. Even if we should lose in the eyes of others, it is the lessons we learn from losing—God-taught lessons—that make us true winners.
Matt Reagan, a pastor, once wrote: “Disappointment in defeat should remind us that our one hope and boast is fixed in Jesus—and based on the success of Another. Personal success is never the Christian’s final aim.”
Professional basketballer Jeremy Lin, who is a Christian, understands the importance of fixing his hope and boast in Jesus. In an interview expressing his opinions about Christianity, he said, “I’m not working hard and practicing day in and day out so that I can please other people. My audience is God. … The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I still don’t fully understand what that means; I struggle with these things every game, every day. I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give up my game to Him.”
At the end of the day, we should understand that winning is not all that matters, and losing is not all that bad either. After all, who cares about winning when we are already on the winning team?
One hymn writer penned these beautiful words:
No more need fear, and no more need doubting,
No more need pride control in my life.
I may be free from all condemnation,
I can have victory now in the strife.
I take the life of victory,
Not I, but Christ Himself in me;
He conquers now, He sets me free;
I take, He gives—the victory.
(The Victory by Paul Radar)
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5 NLT).