Whining or Winning Christians?
“7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
”Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.”
Revelation 12:7-17 NIV
The church of Jesus Christ today is filled with both whiners and winners. Fortunately, we get to decide which one we will be.
God does not want me to be a Whining Christian…
Sadly, there are many whiners in the church whose life verse is 1 Corinthians 3:15, because they are saved, “like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”
Whining believers will only allow their attitude to be based only on their situations. The whining believer always recognizes fulfillment and happiness as on the other side of the mountain. When I finish college I’ll be happy. When I get that job, I’ll be happy. When I get married, I’ll be happy. When I get rid of my wife, I’ll be happy.
The Whining Christian always wants things done their way. These folks put their own needs above all others. The needs and wants are more important than their spouse, co-workers, friends, children, and everyone else. They want to find the “perfect” church to fellowship at because at churches they have already been to, are too big, too small, too conservative, or too charismatic. The Whining Christian may say, “I understand that God is the creator and that I am the created, butt you know what, I’m going to take authority and I’m going to take charge, because I really know best.”
He wants me to grow as a Winning Christian!
Revelation 12 reveals to us that there is a war that ALL Christians are in, whether we believe it or not, whether we want to be in it or not. Revelation 12 also shows that God won’t use Whining Christians to overcome the enemy, but He will use Winning Christians! That is why He wants me to become Winning Christians!
Victory comes through a constant faith in Jesus Christ.
“11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb”
During Passover in Exodus when Moses and Israel were delivered from Egypt, the people had to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood over their doorposts. The lamb’s blood was the symbol of its death, and it was their symbol of their deliverance from death. The blood of the Lamb in Revelation was a symbol of the Christian’s deliverance from death also.
I read the following story about Roy Reigels:
“On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Beeny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. Several plays later the Bruins had to punt. Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the UCLA team.
The strange play came in the first half. At halftime the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. As others sat down on the benches and the floor, Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands.
A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels.
When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second. “Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face the crowd out there.”
Coach Price reached out, put his hand on Riegels’ shoulder, and said, “Roy, get up and go back. The game is only half over.”
Riegels finally did get up. He went onto the field, and the fans saw him play hard and finish well.”
Sometimes as Christ followers we run in the wrong direction. When that happens, the enemy wants to keep us out of the game through guilt, intimidation and accusation (Revelation 12:10). At those points, we need to be reminded that because of the forgiveness offered in Jesus Christ, the game is only half over. None of us can go back to the beginning and make a brand new start, but by the blood of Christ, we can always start from where we are and make a brand new end.
The blood of the Lamb (or of Jesus) is our symbol of deliverance from death as well. Victory over the enemy comes NOT by hard work from God’s people. Victory over the enemy does NOT come through niceties and being good people. It does NOT come from religious obligation from God’s people. It does NOT come from God’s people at all! Victory over the enemy comes by the blood of the Lamb. Victory over the enemy comes from trusting Jesus!
Victory comes through a consistent faith in Jesus Christ.
“11 They triumphed over him… by the word of their testimony;
The Winning Christians in Revelation let their actions match up wtih their words. The word of their testimony was one of consistency. It didnt’ change according to how they felt or what they were going through. I have heard it said that what matters most is not how loud you can pray in tongues or how high you can jump in worship, but how straight you walk as a Christ follower. I think the Winning Christians in Revelation would agree with that.
How straight is your walk?
Victory comes through a courageous faith in Jesus Christ.
“…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
I’ll be the first to admit that there are too many times in my faith that I am too timid. There are times that I need to have faith in a bigger God who ALWAYS comes through. Sometimes I shrink back from ridicule, confrontation, discomfort, and fear. The Winning Christian, is one who is willing to take big risks for a big God.
Working in the Criminal Justice field, I’ve learned about “The Broken Window Theory.”
“The Broken Window Theory” says that if we want to reduce crime in a neighborhood, one of the first and most effective things you can do is to fix the broken windows and clean up the graffitti. Literally.
Interesting. If there’s a section of town that’s run down and filled with crime, this theory says that just by fixing the broken windows and cleaning up graffitti on that block, the bigger issues are affected and crime is reduced.
An article on this theory says:
“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”
The Broken Window Theory sounds crazy to me. When you have a giant intense problem, why waste your time fixing insignificant windowns and graffitti? Someone compared this theory to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic as it heads toward the iceberg!
Still, this theory has been proven to work because it has less to do wtih changing the crimnials, and more to do with changing the culture. It sends a signal that anarchy is no longer the rule of the day and that crime is no longer the status quo.
So what is at the heart of the “Broken Window Theory?” If you boil it down, you essentially have two parts:
1) A big goal: reduce crime.
2) A small start: fix windows. But it’s the small start that makes the big goal possible.
The problem with Whinning Christians is NOT only that they don’t think big enough. It is that they don’t start small enough. God wants Winning Christians to have a faith that is courageous enough to dream big and to start small. Someone once said it this way, “A big dream without a small start is nothing but a daydream. God initiates the biggest changes in our lives through the little things”.
I can’t have the Apostle Paul’s walk with God overnight. Big dream.
But I can start being more consistent in my daily devotions starting today. Small start.
I can’t entirely mend a broken relationship overnight. Big dream.
But I can write the letter, make a call, or say I’m sorry. Small start.
I cannot reach all my lost friends and family by tomorrow. Big dream.
But I can begin to praying for someone every day. Small start.
God does not want me to be a Whinning Christian. He wants me to be a Winning Christian!
Lord Jesus I want to be a Winning Christian. Holy Spirit grow me as a Winning Christian who OVERCOMES by the blood of the Lamb, the word of my testimony, and a strong and courageous faith! Amen and amen.