“I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not stand against it.” Jesus
I’m a Cleveland sports fan. (Please send your sympathy cards to 400 Cherry Hill Lane, Cortland, OH!) Only a Cleveland sports fan can Google “the drive” and see a Wikipedia article come up where you can read all the gory details of John “what’s-his-name” orchestrating a 98 yard drive to tie my Browns in the 1987 AFC Championship game and go on to win in overtime. Then there’s “the fumble” and “the shot” (sorry, I don’t have the heart to tell you what these things mean). While I don’t believe in the “Cleveland curse” (ridiculous) I do believe that losing can get etched into athlete’s psyches and affect their performance in crunch time. Much of winning does have to do with attitude.
I wonder sometimes if the church of Jesus Christ has developed a losing mentality. As we look around us we see a culture spiraling downward. Things seem to be getting worse and worse something which the Bible says will happen as we head toward the consummation of all things in the return of our Savior. It we’re not careful we can become doubtful and even cynical about life sitting around waiting for the rapture!
While it’s true that scripture tells us that many things in our world will worsen until the end it also tells us that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). When I think about Jesus’ powerful statements like, “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not be able to stand against it” (Matthew 16:18), and “He who believes in Me will do the works that I do and greater works will he do” (John 14:12) hope rises within me. I am encouraged every time I hear 2 Chronicles 7:14 say that, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). And when I look around me and see that God is at work preparing us for what He is about to do I get excited. I take heart in every answer to prayer, every victory won, every act of love and kindness shown, every soul that is saved and yes, every trial faithfully endured. I admit to times of frustration but when I turn to the Lord His Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and reminds me of “whose I am” and of the immense privilege I have to serve the Lord and work for His kingdom.
Let’s begin to regularly pray what Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus when he said, “that Christ would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). Let’s make it a point to speak words to one another that will be uplifting and encouraging. Let’s be real about our problems and our pain but let’s also have real faith in a real God who really is in control and who really does work all things together for our good and who really will use us for His glory! Let’s ward off a losing attitude by remembering the wonderful promise from God’s word that says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap it we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).