You Have to Hate Losing
I remember my dad’s advice to a high school basketball player like it was yesterday. “You have to hate losing.” He has always been able to focus on the desired result and leave nothing to chance.
When Christians verbally proclaim their desire to do the right thing they encourage others. However saying, “I want to start living as a faithful Christian father to help my wife and children go to heaven” or “I want to stop lying and use my words the way God would desire” does not make it happen. Why is it often so hard to make these types of changes?
James 1:14 teaches us that every man is tempted by his own desires. I do not doubt the desire that Christians express to stop committing sin and start actively serving God. But when the stated wants do not actually come to fruition it is because stronger desires prevail. The Christian wants to start being a good husband and father. The Christian wants to stop lying. But often he wants to sin more. The idea of being right is appealing, but not strong enough to overcome the desire to serve self in many cases.
There is hope for all of us to change our desires; to make righteousness what we want the most. We must focus on the desired result and leave nothing to chance. We can do this by seeking and thinking about spiritual things (Colossians 3:1-2). If we change our minds to view the world and all its prospects according to God’s will we will begin to hate that which is evil (Romans 12:2; Psalm 119:104, 128).
To miss out on the pleasures of this life for a little while pales in comparison with the thought of losing eternal life. Moses chose to suffer in the short term and avoid temporary enjoyment (Hebrews 11:25). Jesus warns about the eternal cost of earthly gain at the expense of the soul (Matthew 16:26). What do you yearn for so fiercely that you would give up a right relationship with God, the grace of God, the seal of the Spirit, even your own soul in order to have it?
I do not want to lose my soul and so I will do whatever is necessary to change my thinking and actions. “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). How much do you hate the thought of losing your own soul? The answer is likely the difference in your soul’s fate.