Being on the Winning Team

discipleship steve norris May 16, 2022
Being on the Winning Team | Dr. Steve Norris

Imagine what it would be like to be drafted by the World Champions. The team is loaded with

talent. You are on THE team. You have made it. Life at the highest level of success is yours for

the taking. You show up at the training facility on the first day looking for a new high. The door closes behind you, and you hear, “Get your practice gear on and get out to the practice field.” Your first response is, “What???” We’re at the top. Losers go to practice on the first day of camp. Winners take the foot off the gas pedal to enjoy the spoils of victory.


Winning teams that keep collecting championships never stop working hard. The battle to stay

on top continues. Then you realize something; you have everything you need to continue to

Win. A great organization, proven coaches, excellent facilities, and talented teammates are already in place. So, you run onto the field with passion and excitement. You aren’t working on getting to the top. You are on the top.

Let’s Get Practical

What does a player on a winning team need to do to find success? Winning a title is the ultimate goal of every athlete. Because, at its core, winning is the ultimate purpose of every sport. The goal is the same whether it's a trophy, a cup, a medal, or everything in between. 

Despite the fact that many people have this as a goal, few will ever get the opportunity to participate in a major sporting event, let alone lift the trophy at the conclusion of it. There are numerous theories regarding what it takes to win a championship. 

However, in order to be successful, you must have a firm grasp of some fundamentals. Here is the shortlist.

  1. Know the playbook
  2. Be a team player
  3. Learn from the veterans
  4. Work hard to get the basics down
  5. Look to your coach for direction
  6. Get out onto the field, don’t stay at the practice facility

The Parallel

You can approach the Christian life in the same way. When we choose to follow Jesus, He promises us peace, joy, strength, and more. Through the cross, we were given forgiveness, a new power, a new hope, and the defeat of Satan. So what's the big deal? We're right there with Jesus. We've risen to the top. From this perspective, things appear to be progressing better than before.

When you least expect it, you find yourself plummeting to your doom into the abyss of despair. You sigh and wonder, "What went wrong?" The war isn't done just because you're on the winning team. Battle has just begun in a genuine sense. On the other hand, you are equipped with all of the resources necessary to be a productive member of a successful team.

Paul and His Struggles

I find comfort when I read what Paul said in Romans 7:21-25.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

This is Paul, a mature leader, sharing his presence and experience. You would think the All-Star Quarterback of the Christian faith would have it all together. But he struggled just like you and I do. There is a real spiritual battle when you come to Christ. The good news is that the Gospel provides all you need to stay on top of your game. Just like the player on a championship team, you have a responsibility on the winning team:

  1. Know the Plan Book: Read, study, memorize, meditate on the Word of God and pray.
  2. Be a Team Player: Make authentic connections with a few close Christ-followers.
  3. Learn from the Veterans: Look for a mentor to learn life from.
  4. Work Hard to Get the Basics Down: Practice the spiritual disciplines that keep your soul connected with God.
  5. Look To Your Coach for the Direction: Be part of a church with godly leadership.
  6. Get Out onto the Field, Don’t Stay at the Practice Facility: Be intentional about making friends with the unchurched. Don’t be consumed by the activities at the church.

You’re on a Better Team Now

Saying YES to Jesus doesn’t mean the battle is over. It means you’re on a better team. You can

Now win over those things that would entrap you in your past life.

The course, Discipleship: As You Go Out Your Door Each Day, Change The World, is a reminder to teach your disciples to prepare for the spiritual battle ahead. The battle is from within (our flesh), from without (unbelievers and the religious crowd), and from the Devil. The Gospel promise is that Jesus has won the victory. Now you need to be diligent to practice well and get out into the real world with the Gospel. You find confidence because you are working from victory, not for victory.

You have all the tools you need to be a winning member of the winning team. Your mission as a disciple-maker is to make a difference in the world through making disciples. Enroll in our Discipleship Certificate Course at Grace On Demand and learn to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the greatest disciple-maker.

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