The Thrill Of Defeat And The Agony Of Victory
During the 1960's (I am dating myself with this one) there was a weekly sports program aired every Sunday on ABC called The Wide World of Sports. The opening showed kids playing baseball ecstatic as they won their game and a ski jumper coming down the hill, loosing control just missing a camera crew as he slammed to the ground. Then you hear the line that became synonomous with the show...The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.
We celebrate victories with all night parties, trophies and parades then talk bad about those who lose barely mentioning them because that is who we are. We like winning, that is the way of the world. No one wants to be a loser or be around losers.
The world offers perks for those who like hanging with winners, you get to take part in their world and not paying any attention to the cost because it is cool and you are enjoying it all. It starts with a glass of celebratory champaign, the fact you have never drank before becomes a non issue. One glass leads to another and before you know it, you are drunk. Not just drunk but sloppy, can't stand up straight drunk, passed out cold drunk.
When you finaly wake up, you are still drunk and hung over when you discover you look dramatically different. Clothes are scattered arounnd, you may not even be in yours and can't remember anything about what happened. But you convince yourself you had the time of your life, hanging out. Someone suggests getting more drinks, this time there are joints and white lines available to help you recover. You get where I am going with this?
Before you know it, you have started partying all over again, telling yourself what a great time you are having when in reality you did not have a great time and the joints and white lines that you did partake of may have made you feel better (or so you thought) so you do some more, then some more, then some more.
You want to stop but don't want to lose the feeling that being in an altered state of mind has you in. And you dare not tell anyone the truth, so you spend your money to get some more of the stuff and you do it again and again. It all started because you were hanging out with the winning crowd, now you have allowed yourself to fall in a funnel. It's wide at the top, getting smaller and tighter at the bottom until you find you are stuck.
That is the way sin greets you, its great when you step in, fun when you step in, exilerating when you step in the funnel but when you try to get out, you find it difficult to grasp anything to pull you up because it is slick, the more you struggle, the tighter the grasp gets. You were having the time of your life enjoying the thrill of it all, now the thrill is gone, you want out and starting to feel defeated because no matter how hard you want out you can't get out. That is called the thrill of defeat.
A hard truth about sin is, you felt you could stop any time you wanted but you didn't. Before you know it, you have less and less of your hard earned money because you are feeding the person in the funnel. You look up and 2 months, 5 months, a year has gone by and you are still in the same place, convinced you are enjoying yourself and killing yourself at the same time.
Here is another hard truth about sin...John 10:10...the thief cometh not, but for to kill steal and destroy and he is on his job and we are more than a willing participant in his scheme. But Glory to God... there is however a B part to that same verse that say's...But I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. Jesus is the one who said it. He is saying not just you but they. That means you and everyone stuck in the funnel with you has a chance at this abundant life.
How do you get it, tell Him you are sorry, tell Him you need His help to get out of what you got yourself into. Tell Him how you tried to be part of the worldly winners but in reality found yourself with the biggest losers. Romans 10:9 say's ...If thou shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation and your way out of the funnel is just that simple.
In the 1992 Olympics in Spain, there was a race of the fastest runners. As the race started one of the runners pulled a muscle falling on the track in great pain and agony. He had trained and worked so hard for his big moment and this happens. There was a disturbance by a gate leading to the track when the tv camera's caught this scene. It was the runner's father telling the Olympic officials...I know you have your rules that have to be followed, spectators are not allowed on the track... but you don't understand...that is my son laying in agony on that track.
The officials let the man get on the track to his son, he picks his son up, putting the son's arm arounnd his neck and together...he and his son walked painfully for the son to the finish line.
There is agony in victory, Jesus endured the most unthinkable agony ever experienced because God, His Father so loved us that He allowed His Son Jesus to be put on a cursed tree to die an agonizing death so you and I can have eternal life. What we call Salvation. God raised Him from the dead three days later with ALL POWER...VICTORIOUS over death, hell and the grave. and He did it for you and me so we too can be Victorious.
This earthly race we are in called life has plenty of pitfalls and dangers waiting for us, but Jesus proved, though there is agony in our victory, it is only for a short while. Eternity is our home or finish line. When we stumble along the way, Jesus is right there with us, putting our arm around His neck so we can finish...together with Victory.
God Bless You,
Elder Thomas Burgess