Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Winners and Losers


2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.


Some Win and Some Lose

We are constantly being bombarded with winners and losers in this life.  Presidential debates have winners and losers—at least that is how the press describes the debates.  We have the Superbowl with one team described as winners and the other as losers.  Those who amass wealth in our society are considered winners and those who are poor are often considered losers.   When we have games for our children in our children’s meetings, the children all want to win.  In spiritual things, the megachurches are seen as the successful winners.  The little churches that are left with nothing when all of their members head to the big churches are seen as losers.  In real life we are taught that we are either winners or losers, and many of our children are depressed because other children bully them and make them think that they are losers. 


Does the Lord Encourage this Kind of Competition?

Should the Christian experience be characterized by winners and losers?  To some degree, yes!  The Lord says however that those who save their lives lose them and those who lose their lives save them.  In Matthew 16:25, the Lord says,  “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”  The Lord says that the winners are the losers and losers are the winners!


Paul does use the idea of a race to help us understand the Christian experience.  In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he tells us that in a race only one receives the prize and that we need to discipline ourselves if we expect to win that race.  But is Paul saying that only one person can receive the prize?  Or is he is saying that we are all to run the race as though there is only one prize?  I think he is saying that we should run the race as though there is only one winner, but  I do not think only one person is going to get the prize Paul is talking about. I think we can all get that winner’s prize.  Yet when it comes to Christian service, sometimes it seems like we are competing against one another rather than cooperating with one another.  Cooperating is called fellowship.  Competing against one another certainly does not lead to unity and fellowship. 


The Marathon

Paul also uses the idea of a marathon race in Hebrews 12 to encourage us to finish what the Lord has called us to do, even if we are discouraged.  But in a marathon it is more important to finish than it is to finish first.  Paul had that in mind when in 2 Timothy 4:7  he says he had fought a good fight, he had finished the race.  He had also guarded the truth that Christ died, was buried and was raised again the third day.  He had been faithful until the end.


When we look at the Christian experience, there is no competition between winners and losers. W are just asked to be faithful to the Lord who called us to serve Him when He saved us.  The Lord never says that one Christian has to lose in order for another to win.  The rewards that are going to be given to Saints for faithful service at the end of their lives does not require us to compete so that we can be winners.  I am convinced there will be enough rewards to go around.  I know that James and John were competing for the best places in the Lord’s kingdom in Mark 10:35-41, but the Lord rebuked them for it; and the other disciples were displeased when they realized that James and John were trying to get the Lord to give them preferential treatment.  It did not lead to fellowship but to contention. 


The Real Losers

However, there are winners and losers when it comes to the Christian’s relationship to the world, the flesh, and the devil.  We are admonished to win the wrestling match in Ephesians 6:10-13.  That match is against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.  We know that we need to separate from the ungodly world and flee the lusts of the flesh in order to be victorious over the world and the flesh or ungodly appetites that we have.. 


From a natural standpoint Christ was a loser.  He died at the hands of the powerful but the whole story wasn’t written until the disciples came to an empty tomb.  The book of the Revelation gives us the rest of the story and this One who was bullied and crucified is going to be the final victor.  The winners are those who trust Him, the losers are those who trust the lies of Satan.  Unbelievers do believe, they just believe the wrong person and the wrong message.  Yes, there are winners and losers when it comes to obtaining eternal life.  But Christians should never be competing one with another for a place of prominence with the Lord.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of February 14, 2016

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