As I sit in the midst of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I have great admiration for these athletes who are so committed to pursuing victory. They’ve trained for many years to become the best at what they do. They’ve travelled a difficult and challenging road with many sacrifices made along the way. They have earned their place in the NHL. Their teams have earned the right to compete as one of the top sixteen teams. What matters, is not how they play the game, but that they win. That is what they’re measured against. In the end it is only he who wins the last game that gets to momentarily hold the ultimate prize in hockey…the Stanley Cup. Like these athletes competing for the Stanley Cup, we too want to win, to be successful, to be victorious. And we invest much into pursuing victory.
While we pursue our victories here on earth, whether in the sports arena, in the boardroom or in the classroom, the most important victory is the one we celebrate today. For today, we celebrate Easter. Today is a day, not about colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and a perfectly cooked lamb, but a day about victory. Victory that is not exclusive to only the best. Victory that is not earned but given freely. Victory that lasts. Today, we recognize and celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection. His conquest over sin. His victory over death. His victory is our victory.
Like an NHL player journeying to the ultimate victory in hockey, we too can follow a path to sharing in Christ’s victory. First we must admit that we are sinners. We were born under the power of sin’s control. (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”). We know that sin has consequence. It results in defeat – spiritual death that separates us from God for eternity (Romans 6:23a “…the wages of sin is death…”). We must understand that we deserve death for our sin – we deserve to lose. Victory over death is a gift from God to us. You can't earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it (Romans 6:23b “...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.").
God’s gift of salvation is a result of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. When Christ died on the cross, He did so on our behalf. When He rose from the dead, He claimed victory over our sin. When we believe in Him and His love, we can share in His victory! His love is what saves us…not religion, not church attendance, not by anything we do (Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!").
As you pursue victory, pursue-not trophies or rings, pursue-not fame or fortune…pursue God’s love (Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"). Jesus said, "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..." (Revelation 3:20a). If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door, ask Him to come into your heart (Romans 10:9-10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.").
We can find people in all walks of life who have found victory in Christ. If you’d like to read about NHL players who have found victory both at hockey’s highest level and in Christ, read The Edge Courage And Inspiration From The Ice. Visit www.fcahockey.com or www.hockeyministries.org. Pursue true Victory!
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57