Have you ever been on an undefeated team? I have, but it was my seven year old soccer team at the YMCA. We were the Green Machines and we had one kid that was awesome at soccer. The rest of us were good, but without Jaimie Ramirez on our team, I don’t think we would have gone undefeated. It was a good feeling to have the confidence going into each match with Jaimie on our team. There were some close matches, and we were down some games, but we always found a way to win.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go undefeated in life too? It would be great to have the confidence to know that whatever we face, we could be victorious. It is possible. Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever” (GNT). When we have the Lord on our side and learn to trust Him, we can go undefeated in life’s battles.
That doesn’t mean we won’t face battles or that we won’t be down at times. It means that we have Jesus Christ on our team and He’s awesome at helping us win the victory. We can have confidence going into whatever battle we face knowing that He’s on our side. I Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (GNT).
Just like my team had to trust Jaimie to do his thing, you and I have to trust Jesus to do His. We still have to show up to the battle. We still have to do our part. Life is not going to be a cake walk just because you’ve put your trust in Jesus and you’re playing on His team. In this world you will have trouble He said. But He also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Yes, you and I can go undefeated in life if we trust in the Lord and fight our battles with Him.
One of my favorite pictures we took on a trip to Haiti was where one person was pretending to cut a board with a skill saw while another person held up the power cord with a confused look on her face. We took it to make people laugh, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s how many people live their lives. They have the right tools to be successful, but they lack the power to utilize those tools properly.
Part of what I do for a living, and also do here on this site, is to give people the tools they need to be successful. Power tools work best when they’re plugged in. Imagine how long it would take to cut a board using a skill saw that wasn’t plugged in. Think about the effort it would require and what that cut would look like if they had to do it manually with that saw. Even though we had the right tool, without the power to use the tool to its potential, we wouldn’t be very successful.
In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses was speaking to the Children of Israel just before they went into the Promised Land. He was giving them final instructions to remember since he would not be crossing the Jordan river with them. He said, “Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful” (NLT). He was reminding them that they have the tools to be successful, but God is the source of power behind those tools. He wanted them to remember that their success wouldn’t be of their own power.
The same is true for us. While we hold the tools and do the work, it is God who gives us the power to be successful at whatever He calls us to put our hand to. Like a professional athlete who takes a knee after a touchdown or points to Heaven after a homerun, we need to take time to honor God for each success we have. It keeps us humble and it reminds us and others that God is our source. Apart from His power, we are trying to cut a board with an unplugged skill saw.
I jokingly refer to Egypt as the land of a thousand car horns because Egyptians use the horn instead of a blinker. I once tried to count how many honks I heard in a ten second span, and couldn’t do it. There were times when I just wanted some peace and quiet. To get away from the noise, I would rent a sail boat and have them take me to the middle of the Nile. It was my little quiet place where I could stop and think as I watched the sun set behind the pyramids.
Where is your quiet place? We may not love in the land of a thousand horns, but we live in a noisy world. There are so many distractions in our lives that it’s hard to find that place of serenity. It’s that place where our phone isn’t buzzing, kids aren’t vying for your attention, social media doesn’t exist, and no one bothers you. We all need that space in this world or we’ll go crazy!
In Psalm 27, David found it. He wrote, “When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool. I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic” (MSG). David found his quiet place in spending time with God.
Each of us needs to set aside time in our day to spend time with God. We need it to keep our perspective so we can remain calm and cool no matter what’s happening in our lives. That quiet place reminds us that God is in control and that He’s got you. Resting in His presence quiets the fears and doubts of the unknown our lives. His Word gives us the hope and encouragement we need. If you’re there right now, take some time to find that quiet place in Him. You’ll be glad you did.
When I was in high school, we would have 2 hour practices after school. Coach always started and ended practices with running. He would say, “Since we aren’t the tallest team, we are going to be the best conditioned team.” There were some brothers on the team who lived in some apartments across from the school. While running, we would say to each other, “Hey, once this is over, let’s go jump in the apartment pool.” The thought of jumping into that cool water was often enough to keep us going.
There was something about diving head first into that water after practice that was so refreshing. We would swim from one end to the other under water to make sure our whole body got cooled down. It was so refreshing, and we needed that because a couple of us worked jobs in the evenings. After all day of school and a two hour practice, we still had a four hour shift to complete before coming home and doing homework. Refreshment was needed.
There are times when we need spiritual refreshing as well. Sometimes things seem to hit us one after the other. It feels like we never get a break from it all. Those times of spiritual refreshing come and keep us going. Other times, we face the consequences of our actions, and those can lead us to spiritual exhaustion. The Bible says we can have spiritual refreshing in those times too. Acts 3:19 – 20 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins. If you do, times of spiritual strength (refreshing in AMPC) will come from the Lord” (GNT).
The word “repent” there means to change your mind and purpose and then return to God. When you’re mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted, you can change your mind and purpose behind doing things so that you bring honor to God. When you do, it’s like jumping into that pool after a two hour practice. God brings a refreshing into your life that brings spiritual strength with it. Just like everything else in Scripture, the first step in activating God’s promises starts with you.
What in your mind do you need to change today in order to return to God’s way of thinking?
If you haven’t been living for His purpose and you’re worn out, pray that God would help you to return to living for His purpose.
I’ve always heard that the best way to catch a raccoon is to create a trap with a shiny coin dangling, and then put a small hole in her side. A raccoon will reach in, grab the coin, and not be able to get his hand out because it’s in a fist. The simple way to get out is to let go, but the raccoon won’t because he wants the coin to badly. I’ve laughed at how stupid a raccoon must be, but then had to stop when the mirror was turned to me.
Each time I hear the story of the raccoon, I wonder what things I’m holding on to that I need to let go of. There was a young man who approached Jesus in Mark 10, and he asked Him what he needed to do to get eternal life. Jesus rattled off several commandments, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother” (MSG). This got the young man excited because he had kept all of those. Just then, Jesus added one more to the list.
Jesus said, “There’s just one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor.” The young man’s face dropped, and he went away with a heavy heart. Verse 22 says, “He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.” He got caught in the raccoon trap. He was holding on to things God was asking Him to let go of. In the end, he lost it all because he couldn’t let go. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
What are you holding on to that God has asked you to let go of? It could be hurt, regret, pain, bitterness, or something physical that you own. Whatever it is, it’s best to let go of it before God pries it out. Don’t let those things trap you and keep you where you are. Release them, no matter how important they may seem. You’ll find that God’s freedom is greater than whatever you’re holding on to. I’ve also learned that I have to let go of things before God can give me new and better things. The choice is ours. What’s it going to be?