Adverse circumstances can actually lead a Christian away from the faith. We must, therefore, think beyond the grave with a winning attitude, and live in light of eternity, as we keep following Jesus. We should also remember that we are not alone with lifeís problems and tests. Many other godly people have gone through the same kinds of experiences, and even worse, than we are or will be in. Their winning attitude is most commendable for us to learn from.
This Is Especially For YOU
The Winning Attitude, According To The Bible
ALL Christians Should Know This About a Winning Attiitude
What is the winning attitude for this life which is filled with a wide variety of experiences, many of which are unpleasant and even painful? Having a winning attitude is often a major part of the victory, but what would that be? If a person lives several decades or more he will face many tests of various types. He must maintain a view past the grave and into eternity to succeed spiritually. Related to all of this is the Biblical fact that only lifeís overcomers will enter Godís paradise kingdom and all of the non-overcomers will be cast into the fiery lake of burning sulfur:He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.(Rev. 21:8)
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Rev 2:9-11)
At various times in the Bible we read precious words spoken by heroes of the faith as they were in the midst of an unusual, fiery trial. Let's draw strength and insights from their noble examples. Their faithful winning attitudes speak loud and clear where their hearts were at that time. Many others, under the same circumstances, would (or did) deny God and/or his truth. As the heroes of the faith stared death in the face their loyalty to God shined bright. They were looking beyond the insurmountable, lethal obstacles and stood like a rock. Again, some of these dear spiritual family members (and heroes of the faith) were tested with circumstances that very few will ever know. Some actually died as they remained faithful to God. We are told not to be surprised by painful trials:
Heroes Of The FaithDear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Pet 4:12,13)
The book of Job starts off with Godís glowing assessment of this man:
Job's Winning AttitudeThen the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8)Fearing God and shunning evil is exalted elsewhere in Scripture:A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. (Prov 14:16)
And he said to man, "The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding." (Job 28:28)
Note These Truths About Job's Winning AttitudeJob was such a wise man (with that type of understanding) who got severely tested by circumstances, perhaps like no other human ever has. God allowed the devil to test him to the point where he lost his wealth and all his children in one day (Job 1:13-22). After that, the second wave hit and Job was severely afflicted physically with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head (2:7). Furthermore, Jobís so-called friends and alleged comforters turned out to be relentless false accusers. They wrongly charged Job with various sins they thought must have been the underlying cause which brought such calamity on him. (Their faulty theology, like some today, didnít allow for a holy man of God, like Job, to be subjected to such painful tests and unusual circumstances.) To his so-called comforters, Job stated:I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! (Job 16:2)Besides these accusers who came to visit Job, Jobís own wife spoke for the devil and suggested that he curse God and die. Imagine that! Job was being hit spiritually and physically from various angles and even his wife was speaking for the devil. In his misery, he wanted to die and even cursed the day of his birth, yet he was still trusting God. Job said in the midst of it all:
How long will you torment me and crush me with words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. (Job 19:2,3)Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him .... (Job 13:15)Perplexed Job didnít know if God was going to kill him or not, but he knew he was going to continue to hope (or trust) in God. This is the kind of winning attitude that endures to the end. Dear reader, when the bottom falls out for you, remember Job and his words in the midst of his fiery, bewildering trials. Donít buckle under the pressure. Remain true to God. James mentioned Job (and the prophets of God) when teaching about the Christian life:Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Jobís perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:10,11)Also remember Job the next time the devil tempts you to have a pity party.
Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, there was an idolatrous king of Babylon named Nebuchadnezzar. Three Hebrew men exiled into his country were going to remain true to their God and not bow before the newly-erected, graven image, even though the penalty for non-conformity was physical death. This brought them before an angry king, who questioned them and resulted in their amazing answer:
The Three HebrewsShadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Dan 3:16-18)These men of courage and faithfulness to God were ready and willing to go to their death to avoid the sin of idolatry, even one time. That is the winning attitude. God miraculously delivered them from the blazing furnace they were thrown into. That is exciting, but the greater point to ponder was their fidelity to God even when their lives were on the line. May we all remember such examples as wickedness increases and the love of most grows cold (Mt. 24:12) which must first happen to pave the way for the coming antichrist.
The prophet Daniel was a contemporary of the aforementioned three courageous Hebrews. He too was tested with a life or death decision and it was all over praying to God instead of to a person. A law had been passed that allowed no one, under penalty of being thrown into the lionís den, to pray to anyone except the king for 30 days. Without hesitation, this holy man of prayer and faith continued on as before and was caught by his enemies who wanted him dead:
Daniel Had The Winning AttitudeNow when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. (Dan 6:10,11)It has been estimated that Daniel was in his eighties when this occurred. Part of the lesson for us to remember is, as long as you draw breath into your lungs, regardless how long you have been faithful to God, you will be tested and tried, even to this degree which landed Daniel in the lionís den! God miraculously rescued him after a night in the lionís den. Godís judgment came on Danielís enemies and they were killed by the same lions that wouldnít touch Daniel. Prayer is essential in our spiritual battle against the forces of darkness. Daniel certainly knew this and prayed three times a day, even if his life would be endangered by such. He had the winning attitude.
Multitudes of false teachers in our day downplay the seriousness of disobedience to God. Consequently, many who profess to be Christians have been misled into thinking that sin cannot jeopardize their salvation. The early Christians knew otherwise and risked their lives on various occasions to obey. Those who escaped with their lives sometimes spent time in prison or shed their own blood because they obeyed God. Notice the unanimous, bold answer the apostles, who earlier disowned Jesus, now gave the same wicked religious leaders that had Jesus crucified:
The TwelvePeter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29)This occurred after they had already been warned to stop teaching about Jesus. This same type of steadfastness and endurance, even when placed in this kind of situation, is what is sometimes needed to enter Godís Kingdom and especially to bear much fruit here and now. Remember the Apostlesí answer and obey God. For surely, that is the winning attitude.
A very well-known miraculous deliverance God gave the Israelites was when the young shepherd boy, David, killed the champion Philistine warrior with a rock from his sling. That giant of a man stood over nine feet tall and terrorized the whole Israelite army. David faced Goliath, who threatened to kill him, with unwavering faith in Almighty God:
David's Winning Attitude Againt GoliathDavid said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and Iíll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lordís, and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Sam 17:45-47)Though we will never face a physical Goliath like David did, we will all face many giant obstacles in this life. We must continue to trust God as we continue to run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb. 12:1). Remember David's words.
The greatest example that Christianity ever produced was the Apostle Paul. He excelled in every area of the Christian life, including self-sacrifice and faithful dedication. He was NOT the worst of sinners like some think. Notice his commendable winning attitude about not protecting his own natural life at the expense of irresponsibility in ministry:
Paul's Winning AttitudeHowever, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of Godís grace. (Acts 20:24)Paul knew he could possibly not complete the task God gave him, even though it was Godís will for him. That was something he surely dreaded and he did everything he could to prevent. Furthermore, he took his ministry responsibilities seriously, unlike the vast majority seem to be doing in ministry today. Instead of spending long hours on the golf course or watching television, todayís ministers need to get serious about proclaiming the true gospel of Godís grace to as many as they can. What a need, especially when the prevalent version of grace in our day is the dangerous, counterfeit version called once saved always saved. Paul was willing to risk his life to do what God called him to do. We need more like Paul in our day. He certainly had the winning attitude. Any commitment less than this will result in much less than what could be otherwise for Godís eternal kingdom. In turn, precious souls will also be adversely affected.
The greatest person born of women was John the Baptist (Mt. 11:11). This man was a bold, hell-fire and damnation preacher, who preached against sin. His fearless, public denunciation of wicked Herod being in an illegitimate marriage, led to his arrest and death by decapitation.
John The BaptistFor John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brotherís wife." (Mark 6:18)Like other prophets, John declared his message even under risky circumstances. That king was a murderous tyrant, yet John rebuked him because of his sin. Some might say John wasnít very wise to do that, but the Lord gave him the highest endorsement of any person.
Stephen had a very humble beginning with six others as they waited on widows seated at tables. He was a man filled with Godís Holy Spirit and faith. He performed mighty miracles in Jesusí holy name, yet there is more that can be said about him - he engaged in doctrinal debates. The Bible says his opponents could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke (Acts 6:10). The truth-rejecters he witnessed to, who could not refute him, arrested him under false charges which led to his physical death by being bludgeoned to death with stones. His last words before he died are most memorable:
The Winning Attitude of StephenWhile they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59, 60)Stephen prayed to Jesus, unlike how a Jehovah's Witness is taught! He also did that at the hour of his death for Jesus to receive his spirit. (He did not pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus, like Catholics would have us believe is proper.) That is significant, but so is his other prayer to Jesus, that God would not hold the sin of murder against the people who were killing him. Stephen, therefore, is a champion example of a public Christian debater and person willing to forgive others who unjustly sinned against him to that degree. Jesus said we must forgive those who sin against us or our sins will not be forgiven (Mt. 6:14,15). What a powerful winning attitude Stephen had.
The first part of Josephís life is very sad. His own brothers were jealous of him to the point that some wanted him dead but settled for a lesser way to get him out of their lives, that is, by selling him into Egyptian slavery. That led to more hardships in his life including time in prison. But he finally went from the prison to the palace in one day, to be second in charge under the pharaoh. After that occurred, the very same brothers who sold him into Egyptian slavery came to him to buy grain needed to survive the severe famine in the land. After Joseph revealed his identity he made a statement that we all need to remember:
Joseph's Winning Attitude Not To Harbor UnforgivenessYou intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Gen 50:20)It was not apparent when he was sold into slavery, spent time in prison, etc. that all this would precede his being in a position where he could later help save many lives. This is good to ponder when circumstances turn ugly and you are placed in some very undesirable conditions. Maybe God is going to use you where you are or soon will be to help many others. We donít know, but we need to keep trusting God, walk in forgiveness towards others and hold on to the winning attitude.
Abrahamís example is not so much with words, but with action. He was being severely tested by God and it all centered around his miracle child, Isaac:
Abraham's TestSome time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. (Gen 22:1-3)Abraham prepared for the trip and the sacrifice. He believed God would raise his son from the dead:By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death (Heb 11:17-19).This is further shown when Abraham told his servants the following, on his way up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac:On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Gen 22:4, 5)Abraham believed he would return with Isaac, whom he had planned to offer as a burnt sacrifice. Remember, at that point in time no one had ever been raised from the dead! Abraham knew God was Almighty and would stand by his unchanging word (promise). He had strong faith and a winning attitude.
Hebrews chapter 11 is all about faith and mighty examples of such. Of the various aspects of faith shown there, the most important facet to have is an enduring faith, which the following unnamed had as they faced very rough circumstances:
The Faithful UnnamedOthers were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. (Heb 11:35-39)These are the kinds of people that are in Godís Kingdom NOW. They were overcomers. Ponder again the price they paid to keep their salvation and remain faithful to God to the end under those rough circumstances. Pray for this kind of faithfulness to God and never forget it is better to die than to backslide. Finally, donít be misled by those in our day that want you to think that if you have enough faith youíll never be materially poor or physically afflicted in any way, as some Prosperity teachers say.
Though your experiences now canít be recorded in the Holy Bible, they might be in a scroll of remembrance, that is, if you meet the following conditions as stated:
(This Next Paragraph Is For You)Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Mal. 3:16-18).Dear follower of Jesus, perseverance to the end is vital to get into the Kingdom of God. The winning attitudes as just shown will help much. Also remember when the roads of life get rough and you are tempted to give up or even compromise:Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)Press on with the same winning attitude these heroes of the faith had.
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