What did you get? Gold? Silver? or Bronze?

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

You can bet your life many TV viewers qualified for a medal in the recent games. They sat up into the small hours, cheering Aussie heroes between mouthfuls of coffee, then, after a nap, headed off to work trying vainly to look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

London was a viewing marathon. The total number of people hours occupied in watching the spectacle is a figure we will never know. What stands out in your memory?

The winners

We are all the same. We are interested in the winners, especially the winners from our country. Then we can say, “We won the medal!” We share the thrill of standing on the winners’ podium listening to the music playing, while starry eyes turn heavenward and tears of joy flow earthward.

The ‘also rans’ are soon forgotten; their faces and names mean little to us.

The losers

There are, of course, some losers that stand out: Those who were sent home, those who were disqualified, those who were injured, those in despair over some unforeseen turnaround. Faces were twisted into a picture of pure agony, while tears of frustration and bitter disappointment flowed freely. Years of preparation had come to nothing. Hopes and dreams were dashed to little pieces. Helplessness prevailed.

Life’s like that

Winning and losing is almost what life is all about. Every day we experience both to some degree. The feeling common to most of us is that we don’t get our own way easily. Losing is easier than winning — in fact you can lose without even trying.

The conclusion that seems very common today is that ‘luck’ or ‘fate’ dictate what happens in life, so If you happen to be one of those unlucky in life, so to speak, too bad for you. Everything will go wrong. If someone seems to be successful, either they are lucky or they cheated.

Thinking in a groove

This same mentality rules people when they think about the end of life. Too bad, we die. Too bad if there is a heaven and we don’t make it. Good luck if we do.

However, the truth is that pleasing God and making it into heaven have nothing at all to do with luck. Nor has it anything to do with being a personal achiever — a winner. It is altogether different with God. The only one who appears before Him on the winner’s stand is Jesus Christ. Only He is worthy of it.

How badly understood this is! The vast majority think they will go to heaven if they are good enough. Yet the Bible teaches something quite different.

The people who find full acceptance with God are those who are acknowledged failures. They come to the point of seeing that there are no truly good (perfect) people, no true winners. They see that they have utterly failed to please God and that all the trying in the world won’t bring success.

Heaven will be full of people who have reached out empty hands to a God of generosity. They will be there because of His love and kindness and for no other reason. Christ won the crown for them. All they did was receive it. For it is by grace (God’s undeserved love) you have been saved through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

It is true that you can’t win without Christ. It is true that you can’t lose with Him.

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