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Summary: People who win a lot, teams that win a lot and people who succeed in life all have a lot in common. There are certain things they do and certain things they don’t do that somehow they all figure out. This is called the Winner’s code.

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Introduction

A. People who win a lot, teams that win a lot and people who succeed in life all have a lot in common. There are certain things they do and certain things they don’t do that somehow they all figure out. This is called the Winner’s code. What does it take to be a champion?

B. A few years back, Marion Jones, an Olympic athlete made the news. She was caught taking steroids in her quest for the gold in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She won 3 gold and 2 bronze medals, but had to give them up. She even had go to jail. This was a total embarrassment to the United States. She was the first woman to ever win five medals at one Olympics. She wanted to win but along the way decided to cheat to get there. Everyone wants to be a winner but we need to follow the rules along the way.

C. I am sure we all remember the Lance Armstrong scandal. He won the Tour de France seven times in a row, but was stripped of those victories a few years ago after he was caught cheating.

D. In sporting events only one athlete or one team can win. All the other competitors will return home having failed to achieve their goals. And although they may be some of the best athletes in the world many would consider them losers because there can be only one winner. However in the Christian life this is not the case. In the Christian life we can all be winners. We can all bring home the gold. What does it take to be a champion? What does it take to be a winner? Today I would like to look at a few characteristics that are common among all winners. Let’s start by reading a passage in the book of Hebrews 12:1-3.

Have to “give up to go up”

A. In order to rise to the top there are some things that you have to let go of because they are holding you back. There are some things that you have to give up if you are going to make progress. This involves making sacrifices.

B. World-class athletes understand that they have to give up to go up. While others are munching on chips and sodas they are snacking on health food bars and vegetables. While others are lying on the couch watching sports on TV they are in the gym working out. Most of the Olympic athletes that compete in the Olympics are not like the professional athletes who earn enormous salaries. They are regular people who make a living by holding down regular jobs. And that means that they have to give up most of their “free time” to train for their sport.

C. To be a world-class Christian you will also have to give up to go up. There are things that you will have to say no to while everyone around you indulges in them. There are sacrifices that you will have to make and things that you will have to go without.

D. However, all this talk about giving up things and sacrifice doesn’t sound very appealing. You might be thinking that you’re not too interested in that. Why is it that some people are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to take their athletic performance to the next level and some aren’t? The same could be asked of believers in Jesus Christ.

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