Finding God's Winning Spirit

Thirteen Seconds

September 5, 2014 | Greg Smith | Devotional

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I believe that the rank and file Christian has a skewed view what it means to “be tested”.  The word test will force one to decide if they are a half-empty or half-full type of person.  When confronted with the word test some will think fail and others will think pass – some will feel the fear of failure while others will feel anticipation of validation.

One of the definitions of the Greek word test in the New Testament means to prove – which unfortunately by some, can also be interpreted as negative.  As Christians we all are familiar with the idea that we will be tested, I am just not sure we all know what this really means. The simple answer here is that to be tested is an opportunity not a tragedy. For the Christian it is a chance to not only strengthen one's resolve but to show God that we trust Him.

How do we know if a bridge will hold our weight or if a plane will fly?  We test them.  As Christians we cannot know how strong our faith or spiritual beliefs are unless they are occasionally put to the test.  No matter if you attribute the trials and tests in life to Satan or God the feedback we receive should be used to evaluate our relationship with God.  No matter if we “pass or fail” a specific test we can still learn and grow through it – Which translates into winning.

The faithful Christian is not afraid to be tested by life.  They hold on to the promises of Christ, which guarantees not only survival but prosperity.  “All things work for good” is not just something we say as we “whistle through the graveyard,” it is a promise that becomes a life philosophy. It is the difference between living in fear and living the victorious Christian life.

Once we cease to fear “being put to the test” we can begin to understand the power in Romans 5:1-4, which says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Once we view trials and tests in life as opportunities to grow in our faith we can embrace Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

The 2013 football season for Auburn University was like no other. Although Auburn was projected to finish at the bottom of their Western Division they not only won the SEC Championship but went on to play for the National Championship.  As if this was not enough, the way in which they beat Georgia and Alabama was nothing short of miraculous and was deemed two of the greatest finishes ever. They seemed charmed and blessed – “a team of destiny”.

The perfect ending did not happen as Florida State drove the length of the field and scored with 13 seconds on the clock to beat Auburn in the National Championship Game. What does this have to do with turning a negative into a positive you ask? Well it simply comes down to how one views being tested and uses the outcome.

Auburn’s coach, “Gus” Malzahn,  when asked how he felt about losing in the waning seconds of the game responded by saying that he now had a great motivator for next year; Auburn would have to improve their performance by 13 seconds. Coach Malzahn did not attempt to play down or block-out the loss or outcome, he embraced it.   He even had shirts made with “TnT (Tough-n-Together)  XIII” on them to remind his players to focus on improving – that my friend is turning a negative into a positive. That is applying James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance”, to everyday life. That is sports and theology.     

Another blessing Greg! Thanks for sharing this.
Posted by terry Slaughter on
I particularly enjoyed this article. Thanks.
Posted by Angela on
Good one.
Posted by Jerry on
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