More Than a Conqueror: 2 Ways to Win
Posted in Family by Benham Brothers | April 13th, 2015
When you decide to “get in the game” in America today there are a few key points to keep in mind to be an effective player on the field. We’ve already discussed the effectiveness of “separating ideas from individuals,” which provides the necessary balance to swing the bat with power. Today, we’re talking about the value of playing with a joyful heart, which gives us the strength we’ll need to guarantee a win.
In 1981, we were six years old, and our dad was our baseball coach. At our first practice, he gathered the team in the dugout to deliver his golden nugget of wisdom.
“Boys, there are two ways to win,” he said. “You win on the scoreboard and off the scoreboard. Winning off the scoreboard means winning over yourself. We all want to win on the scoreboard, and that’s good. But we must also win over ourselves, which is even better.”
This paradigm was game changing for us. Throughout the season, our dad spent as much time teaching us how to win over ourselves as he did on the fundamentals of hitting, fielding and throwing.
Winning both ways became the foundation of our baseball careers, and it is equally important for every area of our lives to this day.
Obviously, any time you play a game, you can’t always control the outcome, so learning how to win over yourself is a guaranteed way to win every time. We can all win this way!
And the simple key to winning over yourself is – drum-roll please – to play with the joy of the Lord. Yep, it’s that simple.
I (David) remember a time when I was pitching in Little League, and I was getting rocked by the opposing team. When my dad came out to the mound, I was relieved that he was going to pull me and put in a new pitcher, but he left me out there. He said, “You’re gonna have to get through this one on your own, buddy. Just be sure to win over yourself.”
For the next two innings, I had to struggle through the pain of watching my pitches sail over the fence and all over the field. I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw my glove down and pout. But I had to suck it up and finish well. (Jason: When I pitched I didn’t have that problem.)
Although I lost that day on the scoreboard, I won over myself. And as I matured through the years, I learned that having joy in the midst of pain actually made me stronger.
My brother, Jason, had a similar story in college when our baseball team at Liberty University lost to Auburn 3-2 in the NCAA College Regionals in 1998. He booted a ground ball at third base, which cost us the game. Yet in the press conference afterward, he found strength in the joy of the Lord and honored God despite the loss. To my surprise, he actually won over himself!
There’s an encouraging story in the Bible of a man named Nehemiah. Despite incredible opposition and the painful reminder of the loss of Jerusalem, Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around the city with joy and encouraged others by saying, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The same is true for all of us today. The moral and spiritual wall around America is in ruins, and it’s primed for game-changers to jump in and do something about it. But as with any game, there is considerable opposition.
Sometimes it feels like we’ve been “left out on the mound” by ourselves to try and figure out how to deal with growing threats to our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs. But we can find our strength in the “joy of the Lord.”
Oswald Chambers said, “The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super joy of going clean through it … these very things – tribulation, distress, and persecution produce in us the super joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.”
We all want to win when we “get in the game” today. Although we have limited control over whether or not we’ll win on the scoreboard, we have complete control of winning over ourselves. And to do this we simply need to keep a few things in mind:
1) Play happy. Find joy in knowing that God is in control and that His boundaries are part of His blessings for our lives.
2) Strength is found in the strain. We can find joy in growing stronger through the strain of life. As our old strength coach in college used to say, “Big weights, Big muscles.”
3) Be more than a conqueror. The only thing better than a conqueror is a joyful one in the midst of the work!