The excitement is in the air and the signs are everywhere: people sporting their favorite team’s jersey, heightened chatter in the news, at work, and at church, neighbors spying out the most coveted “man cave,” not to mention those dreadful lines at the supermarket as the supply of hot dogs, chips and dip vanish as if we’re preparing for an invasion.
Still, the taste of imminent victory is contagious. Why? Because we were created for victory! Just as sports fans memorialize their team legends among the various Sports’ Halls of Fame, the Bible offers Christians the famous “Hall of Faith” in chapter eleven of the book of Hebrews: an extensive list of God’s people, both men and women “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (vv. 33-34 ESV)
We were created for victory! As Super Bowl is played out this afternoon, the smell of victory simply feeds on this God-given desire. Its power rests in the fact of the certainty of one thing: someone is going to win. During the months, weeks and hours leading up to the big game, fans of both teams are thoroughly convinced they are on the winning side. They bought the tee-shirt, found a friend with a big-screen TV, agreed that the loser pays for the pizza, all because they genuinely believe victory is imminent.
Yet, until that defining moment, no one knows for sure. Even when all appears lost, the fans of the trailing team never give up hope, praying for a miracle, often ‘til the very end. Victory: it’s what we were created for. Still, every year, many discover they put their faith in the wrong side.
One day each of us will face another defining moment, one concerning the most decisive battle of all—the battle for our eternal soul—and in that moment, the moment we enter eternity, we will discover whether or not we chose the winning side. Yet unlike the Super Bowl, we don’t know the day or the hour that moment will come. We have to choose now.
So which is the winning side? It’s what you see written on the banners waving among the fans at every football game as far back as anyone can remember, “John 3:16” which is God’s promise: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And yet when we look back at Jesus’ final moments, all appeared lost as He hung dying on the cross; many of His fans deserted Him, gave up hope, never expecting a miracle. But that’s precisely what happened. Jesus was raised from the dead and in that moment, He defeated our final enemy, death itself: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death…Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15: 26, 54)
Don’t wait until your defining moment to know the outcome of your eternity. You can choose today to embrace the winner; choose Jesus, choose victory. It’s what you were created for! “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57).
Whose side are you on?