It’s important to make sure that every day of our lives we practice gladness and condition ourselves to finding even the smallest bit of “glad” amongst the bad. That calls for a conditioning, a practice and a routine that assume a regimen of daily, consistent focus on keeping a happy heart.
We spend so much time these days keeping our bodies fit; yet we often spend little or no time making sure that our hearts, although physically in tip-top shape, are kept in good spiritual shape. The Bible tells us to “not lose heart” when everything around us seems to “wasting away.” That’s not easy to do when you’re down to you last dollar or last medical hope. Keeping a stiff upper lip and persevering even when there just doesn’t seem to be any good reason to be happy is a great prescription to buy into but often a bitter pill to swallow. We rely so much on everything going right in order to keep us in a cheerful mood that it is a tall order to expect anyone to be happy, not lose heart, when most everything is going wrong.
Keeping a winning attitude even when you are losing is a tall order, to be sure. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what God expects of each one of us. In the personal things of this life, God wants to remind us daily that we should always be prepared to come face to face with defeat, loss and disappointment. We need to condition our hearts to persevere, to endure when our happiness is invaded from time to time by sorrows; to treat defeat as nothing more than a stepping stone to an eventual victory.
Life’s happiness “winning streaks” are real highs but we need to remember that no one, not even the most devout Christian, always turns out to be the winner. There comes a time in every Christian’s life when there just is no getting around it; a time of defeat is at hand and we just have to be able to deal with it as best we can. That dealing happens best when we consider first our ability to endure in Christ, learn from the moment, and then be willing to step up the effort to get our lives back on track again.
I remember reading about a girl’s volleyball team in a small, obscure midwest town that had assembled an unbelievable winning streak of 65 games. What was so incredible about the feat was this––the school had only 18 girls total and 16 of them were on the volleyball squad and a 17th was the scorekeeper. Although it was one of the smallest Class B high schools in the state, it won the Class B volleyball championship for three years running. Then, after 65 victories, they were eventually defeated. The local paper reported the defeat with a large headline one night. Then, two days later, another headline appeared in the small paper “Team Rebounds With a Winning Streak of One.”
The key to not “losing heart” is making sure that we understand and believe that even in defeat we are renewed in Christ. Defeats come and go in this life and that will never change. Yet, for the Christian, defeat is one of those things that we strive to manage in the sweet expectation that even in defeat we are victorious in Christ. Christians are always on the rebound. When one foot is mired in defeat, the other is already moving on; looking for that “winning streak of one!”
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