Football season is coming to its annual end at all levels and some leagues have already determined their champions. Florida State won the BCS Collegiate Champion, and the Super Bowl will decide the NFL Champions on February 2. When the league seasons began, each coach, each team’s players, and each team’s fans were hoping to be the champions of their leagues. In the end, only one could be the champion at each level. After the season, everyone goes back to the task of putting together the right leadership and players to compete the next year for the right to be called champions.
In what sense, if any, can a church be called a champion? We don’t compete against other churches, yet the scriptures certainly proclaim that we battle while we live on this earth. Ephesians 6:10-19 proclaim that we should prepare for the schemes of the devil so we can stand firm against “the spiritual forces of darkness.” In Romans 7, Paul clearly says that we have a battle that goes on between the flesh and the Spirit in each of us. We are more fortunate than sports teams however, because everyone can be a champion by following the leadership of the Spirit in our lives. We become overcomers as we allow the Spirit to control our lives, thus becoming champions as “we say yes to the Spirit and no to the flesh” by keeping the Great Commandment to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. What about churches?
I believe that churches become champions when they live together in mutual love and support while they engage in fulfilling the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” teaching them to observe all of the commandments that Jesus taught us to follow. The degree to which we accomplish this faithful path varies even according to each church’s context, but in every instance the Church is crowned “Champion” when it seeks to do the work of the Kingdom!
As we work together in 2014, our efforts will become acceptable and we will be crowned champions, because Christ will be working in and through us to accomplish His will. I’m glad to be on this championship team.