Quitters never win and winners never quit. That is an old quote that is most often attributed to the legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi. He certainly knew a thing or two about winning. In fact, he knew a lot about winning. Best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, his five league championships in the seven-year span from 1961 to 1967 is a display of winning that has still not been matched in professional football as of this writing. His famous line isn’t just some nice old quote, though. It actually holds one of life’s great truths and an invaluable key to living the overcoming life.
I would venture to say that each and every one of us has made a trade at one point or another in our lives. Most of the time, if you are going to make some sort of trade, it is pretty safe to say that the goal is to benefit from that trade. I’ll never forget a line in the Batman movie where Jack Nicholson, playing the Joker, was going through a pile of pictures and saw a one of a girl he wanted to date named Vicki Vale. When he learned she was dating the extremely wealthy and distinguished Bruce Wayne, he said “She doesn’t know it but she’s about to trade up.” For whatever reason, that line stuck with me through the years and often when faced with a trade to make of my own, I have reminded myself to TRADE UP.
If you have received Jesus Christ as your savior and made Him the Lord of your life, you have begun a marvelous journey. The path you are on will lead you to some amazing destinations along the way and will ultimately lead you to the greatest of all finish lines. In fact, your life of faith is going to be much like building a house. Making the decision to put Jesus first is like the initial decision to build the house and choosing to build your life on the Word of God is like putting the most solid foundation on Earth under your life’s structure. Of course, most people really look forward to picking out the paint colors and putting the finishing touches on their house of faith, but many folks leave out one of the most important steps in their spiritual walk.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sit down today and plan out the next 10, 20, or even 30 years or more of your life? Think about it for a moment. It would be so easy if you could just know where you were going to live, which church you would be plugged into, what your job would be, how much money you would earn, or even how many children, grandchildren, and even cats and dogs you would have. In actuality, it really isn’t that cut and dry, is it? Life can throw us many curveballs, and when we are faced with those surprises, we need to sometimes make important decisions.
What is faith? Have you ever sat down and analyzed your mental picture of faith? Have you examined not only what you think of faith, but more importantly, how you have grasped a hold of it in your spirit? Most people seem to travel through life, never understanding what faith is. Maybe they are under the assumption that if they just think about their problem long enough, their faith can will it to go away. That is a mind-over-matter teaching that really has little, if anything, to do with faith. Maybe they think that their faith is defined by what they do for their local church. The fact is that faith is not the power of positive thinking, nor is it defined by what you do. Faith is way deeper, and yet much simpler than that.
Balance is a big key to a healthy lifestyle. Lately, it seems like experts in every field of study will offer some variation of that advice. You can ask any nutritionist and they’ll tell you that you need to consume the proper balance of fats, proteins, grains, dairy, and carbohydrates to function at your best. A physical trainer will tell you that you need to maintain a proper balance of strength and cardiovascular training to optimize your body’s fullest potential. It doesn’t stop there, though. The financial advice this world has to offer encourages you to balance your risk around your short-term and long-term goals, our governmental bodies pass laws that promote balance by providing individual equality while maintaining a sense of order for everyone, and the list goes on. All work and no play makes… well… I’ll let you finish that sentence.
Responsibility is a word that brings many images to mind. In some instances, it can describe a character trait that is synonymous with dependability. At one time or another, we all would like to hear one of our teachers or our boss describe us as showing a lot of responsibility. Most of the time in our society, however, that word is a noun used to describe some sort of task or duty. All of our lives, we hear that we have been given responsibilities. When you were three years old, you may have heard, “You’re an older sister now, Suzie, and you have more responsibilities.” What did your mom mean by that? Well, she probably meant that you can’t throw your toys around the baby, you’ll need to be quieter now so the baby can sleep, you’ll need to help feed the baby, or maybe even change diapers! Whatever it was, it probably revolved around the things you would have to DO in order to be a better big sister.
Who do you think you are? That is a question you have probably heard at one time or another in your life. Maybe you set out to do something that you had never attempted before and your mom or dad hit you with it. Perhaps you ignored your baseball coach’s sign for you to bunt, and instead swung for the fences, striking out in the process. If so, you may have heard him ask “Who do you think you are… Babe Ruth”? Most of the time, that question has a negative connotation to it. Often, it implies that you have no business holding to that type of self-worth or setting such lofty expectations for your life. None of that matters, though, because today that question is going to take on a whole new meaning.
When I was sixteen years old and had only been driving for about six or seven months, I learned a huge lesson that I will never forget. My hometown in Southwestern Ohio got one of the biggest snow and ice storms that I had ever seen. In fact, it snowed constantly for about three days and after it was done snowing, we got ice. Each time that the snow plow crews got a little snow off of the roads; there was twice as much an hour later. This went on for days. I believe it was the only time in my entire childhood that we got that many snow days off in a row. We missed school for at least a week straight!
Have you ever felt like you didn’t know which end was up? Have you ever looked at a finish line that seemed to be so far out there that you couldn’t even figure out where the starting line was? If so, you are not alone! Millions of people all over the world find themselves in that exact predicament. So, what is the answer? I believe that the answer is the Word of God.