Spiritual Winners, Spiritual LosersStudy No. 20
For amusement, office workers often circulate among themselves copies of cartoons and sayings, some of which are quite funny. I have enjoyed some of them, such as the one, "Itís difficult to soar like an eagle, when you work with turkeys." One, however, has so intrigued me that I feel that it would benefit others for its spiritual lessons. The title is "The Difference." I have reproduced it in its entirety and as you think upon it, Iím sure you will see it makes good physical and spiritual sense. There is a vast difference between winners and losers.
A winner says, "Letís find out." A loser says, "Nobody knows."
When a winner makes a mistake, he says, "I was wrong." When a loser makes a mistake, he says, "It wasnít my fault."
A winner isnít nearly as afraid of losing as a loser is secretly afraid of winning.
A winner works harder than a loser and has more time; a loser is always "too busy" to do what is necessary.
A winner goes through a problem; a loser goes around it and never gets past it.
A winner makes commitments; a loser makes promises.
A winner says, "Iím good, but not as good as I ought to be"; a loser says, "Iím not as bad as a lot of other people."
A winner listens, a loser just waits until itís his turn to talk.
A winner respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn something from them; a loser resents those who are superior to him and tries to find chinks in their armor.
A winner explains; A loser explains away.
A winner feels responsible for more than his job; a loser says, "I only work here."
A winner says, "There ought to be a better way to do it"; a loser says, "Thatís the way itís always been done here."
A winner paces himself; a loser has only two speeds: ó hysterical and lethargic.
"Letís Find Out" Versus "Nobody Knows"
Spiritual winners dig out the truth. Like the Bereans, they are not automatically turned off when they hear something new. They seek positive confirmation based upon the Scriptures, Acts 17:10-12, John 5:39. Truth is found by those who seek the Lord with all their hearts, Isaiah 55:6-7.
"I was wrong" Versus "It wasnít my fault"
Those who are wise are corrected by the truth they find. They admit when they are wrong and learn the lessons, Proverbs 1:1-7. But, losers never admit errors, always blaming someone else. Read the prayer of David when he confessed his sin with Bathsheba, Psalm 51. Contrast this with the attitude of the harlot Israel who says she hasnít sinned, Jeremiah 2:31-37. Those who cover their sins wonít prosper. They are losers. But those who confess and forsake their sins shall have mercy. They are winners, Proverbs 28:13-14. Admitting guilt is an expression of truth. Denying blame is lying, I John 1:8-10.
Fear of Winning
Do losers have a fear of winning? Yes, this is often the case. We know of some who have begun in the way of truth, only to stumble and fall again and again. They may have a serious problem with smoking or drinking, and seemingly cannot break the grip of Satan. They are so used to losing that overcoming would come as a shock to them.
For winners, perfect love casts out fear. There is none occasion for stumbling in them. They may be knocked down but they get right up and carry on the battle. They do not become locked in defeatism, like Mrs. Job, Job 2:9-10.
Meaningful Work Versus Busy Work
The winner gets more done in less time. The loser spins his wheels and wastes his time. Our Savior set a perfect example of the winning work principle. He always made the time for prayer, and was never too busy to heal someone, or spend time with children. He never wasted a moment, was always active doing the work of His heavenly Father. Even the Sabbath was a day of work for the Messiah, John 5:5-17; the spiritual work of helping and serving people. Not everyone knows just what the work of the Almighty is, John 6:28-29. It is believing the Messiah and doing what He says.
How many of us are in danger of letting the cares of this world choke us out of doing the true work? Oneís job, hobby, or outside friends are important. But, do we neglect the really important thing ó our family, the brethren in the faith? Busy work does not satisfy. It is a mark of a loser.
Facing Problems and Standing by Commitments
Being wishy-washy is another mark of a spiritual loser. He never comes to grip with his problems, but only makes alibis and promises to overcome.
The winner, on the other hand, is a person of action, a doer, James 1:22-27. Havenít you heard a brother in the faith say, "I'm going to pray more," or "I'm going to help others more," etc.? Plenty of promises, but no action. Doing good works, keeping the commandments, facing oneís guilt and sin and overcoming with the help of the Holy Spirit: all these require dynamic action, living faith! A winner never gives up, running with purpose to obtain the victorís prize, I Corinthians 9:24-27. You can count on a winner to deliver what he says, Psalm 15.
Realistic View of the Self
Would a spiritual winner ever say "I'm good, but not as good as I ought to be"? Yes, the real winner knows that he has the victory through our Savior. He knows he has the proclivity toward evil, but that he is overcoming, Romans 7:14-24. He is a victor now, and he knows it, I Corinthians 15:57-58, I John 5:1-5. Winners today have no fear of the coming beast and the evil system of Babylon, for they shall be victorious, Revelation 15:1-4.
"I'm not as good as I ought to be." Unless you can say that and mean it, with dedicated action to overcome and grow, you are not a winner. The case of the Pharisee and the publican is a classic contrast, of a loser and a winner, Luke 18:9-14. Losers are always comparing themselves with others. We should compare ourselves with the Savior, not ourselves, II Corinthians 10:12.
Winners Really Listen
Notice how many times the Savior asked questions of others, and listened to their response. He was genuinely interested in other people, helping them to communicate with Him. Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are told to listen to the voice of wisdom which cries out if only we will heed.
It is sad that people donít listen to their children. Husbands and wives donít listen to each other. Ministers donít listen to the members, often talking down to their flock. Brethren do not listen to one another the way they should. Instead, they want to express their views. In Bible Studies, I have seen this, where the moderator is expounding on a verse, and someone else isnít listening, but he is paging ahead to look up some other scripture to counter what the speaker is saying. Successful brotherly fellowship requires listening. Are we listening?
Respect for Superiors
Today it is tragic that many ministers of the gospel have sullied themselves and their offices. They are masquerading as servants when they are really overlords, contrary to I Peter 5:1-5.
This fact makes it very difficult for some to respect any superior. In fact, past associations have often perverted the true concept of just what a minister is. He should be a servant of others, Matthew 20:25-28. As such, he is to be respected as one from whom we should learn.
Losers, on the other hand, resent all authority over them, despising government, Jude 8. Satan, the biggest loser of all time, had his downfall in this very matter. He had the audacity to think he could win over the Almighty, Isaiah 14:12-17. He never learns.
Losers come up with the poorest excuses! Like the man with one talent, Matthew 25:24-30, his own reasoning judged him, as well as those who failed to serve the "lowly" brethren, verses 31-46.
Let us not explain away our lack of effort, our lack of spiritual growth. Let us grow and produce fruits which speak for themselves.
"I Only Work Here"
How you conduct yourself on your job tells a great deal about yourself. Some people only put in time; others work as unto the Lord, Ephesians 6:5-9.
In a spiritual sense, have we grasped that our responsibility is more than sitting and listening to a minister speaking, and more than paying our tithes so he can do the work? We are responsible to be lights, shining examples in a world of darkness. We are responsible to help our brethren, encouraging them in the faith. Each one of us has the burden of helping the brethren, Galatians 6:1-10. This factor is a key difference between spiritual winners and spiritual losers.
Stuck in a Rut Versus a Better Idea
Spiritual habits may be much more difficult to change than physical habits. Few ever stop to question their most cherished beliefs. "We have always believed such and such," says the loser. Winners, like Abraham, take action when it is revealed to them, and leave their former ways. Our Savior pleaded with the Pharisees to abandon their old ways and return to the Truth.
How about you? Do you periodically examine your practices and beliefs? Do you ever ask yourself: "Is this the best way of doing this?" Are you listening for the many ways the Spirit reveals to you additional truth? Are you continually growing in grace and knowledge, discarding error and adding more truth? II Peter 3:17-18.
I have found that a few sentences from a brother in the faith has often led me through personal Bible Study and prayer to expand my knowledge and practice of the Truth. Better ideas donít always knock you over the head! Sometimes you have to seek them out, responding to that quiet voice.
Spiritual winners are vibrant and alive, anything but lethargic and lazy. They donít spin their wheels, wasting valuable time on genealogies and strifes of words, I Timothy 1:3-4. Like a racer, they donít allow themselves to be tired out and give up the race, I Corinthians 9:24-27.
What are we out to win? The Saviorís Kingdom. How do we do this? By putting aside our sinful past and pressing on toward the mark for sonship in the Kingdom, Philippians 3:7-15. We are in a race. And like the tortoise, we must "keep on keeping on," never giving up, always steadily progressing in our spiritual life.
Spiritual losers, on the other hand, are like the five foolish virgins. They have only two speeds, either lethargic or hysterical, Matthew 25:1-13.
Additional Bible Instructions For Winning
The Greek word for "win" or "gain" is kerdaino; the same word we just looked at in Philippians 3:8. Other uses of the word show additional winning principles:
(1) To win, we must seek spiritual things first. What profit is it to gain the whole world, and lose your own soul? Matthew 16:26.
(2) Our conduct must be flawless and kind so that we can gain our brothers who have strayed from the truth and sinned, Matthew 18:15. To win eternal life for ourselves, we must help others win also.
(3) Spiritual fruits must be produced, or we shall lose all, Matthew 25:14-30.
(4) Sometimes we have to bend a little in order to gain more people to the faith, I Corinthians 9:19-23 in the context of verse 24.
(5) Chaste conduct upon the part of wives can often win their unconverted husbands to the faith, I Peter 3:1-6.
To Whom Belongs Victory?
Let us run the race as if everything depended upon our own efforts. But always cry out to the Almighty for help. Because, after all, it is He alone who gives us the victory, and not we ourselves.
All victory belongs to the Eternal, I Chronicles 29:11. He obtains victory for us, Psalm 98:1. The ultimate victory is the resurrection. He will raise us up and we shall be victorious for evermore, Isaiah 25:6-8, I Corinthians 15:50-58.
Be a spiritual winner. W
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