UNDEFEATED.

That word strikes me. It is used to describe a group or person who has never lost. It is not a word that I often ascribe to myself. I have lost in my life. I have started things and failed to complete them. I have been defeated. These defeats have helped me to learn perseverance and what it means to live with failures as a part of your history. American’s love winners; we love to have a connection to the winning group. We want to feel success through their victories. We invest heavily in sports teams who are winners. Sports teams invest in players who have a proven record of wins, or the potential to build a winning record with them. We want to win.

Recently I have been coaching soccer for the U8 league that is here in Medford. Our guys range in age from 6-8, they are wild, they are wacky, and they are worth every minute spent with them. Their youthful exuberance at playing the game gives me joy. What makes me even happier as a first year coach is that they are winning. I am not sure we are supposed to keep track of that. I can tell you that the guys certainly do. They know what winning feels like. They are undefeated. This is certainly not due to any coaching acumen that I have. This is my first time coaching and because of the group of guys that I have been given we are winning. They want to win, they strive to do well, and they want to be on the field giving their all. They also have to sit, they have to learn to wait and to play in positions they don’t feel are as valuable. They have to work outside their strengths to make the whole team better. They have to learn how to lose. Not just how to lose, but how to lose well. They can define themselves as winners right now but when the first loss comes they may define themselves as losers. How they view who they are is important; this is most likely why in youth sports leagues nowadays we have trophies for all participants. What they base their view of their self on is often tied to their actions, the results they get.

As Christians we have the chance to help people redefine who they are, not based on their actions or the results they get. We have a message that ties who they are to something they have no control over, that is unchanging, that is forever going to be positive, and that can reshape not just their perception of their life but the way they live. We have the chance to help people recognize that they were created to be in relationship with God, that He loves them, and that He has made a way for them to be with Him. We have the chance to offer them a perception of their self that is based on what God see’s when He looks at them and not what they typically measure their life with. God has created each person to be with Him. He wants us all to be His children, alive in His kingdom, living for His purpose. To live in this truth requires surrender to His will and ways. Surrender feels like defeat. And everyone wants to win. How do we convince people that the only way to truly live an undefeated life is to surrender to the ultimate victor? We live in the victory that Christ has provided for us and let other people see what this surrender has done for us. This month, I am asking that we live as an undefeated people because of the things that God has done on our behalf and that we invite people to join us as we learn what it means to be part of Christ’s victorious team.