Winning is...Being With Jesus
We live in a society that places a high premium on winning. Oh, if you don’t believe me, let’s just scroll on any social media platform, and you will soon discover how others define winning. We are inundated with images from watching television, reading billboards as we drive, and all other media forms that promote the notion that working, striving, and grinding equates to winning. Yet, how does the Word of God define, “What is winning?” and “What does winning look like?”
Is winning success, status, and satisfaction with one’s self? Does it look like a picture-perfect life that only showcases prestige, popularity, and prominence? In Luke 10:38-42, we discover a powerful illustration of winning at its best. Jesus visits with Martha and Mary in a time of fellowship. Martha is distracted with much work, while Mary chooses instead, to abandon the work in exchange for being at the feet of Jesus. Through her example, we too can glean that the power to win is not found in doing, but is experienced in being. Mary valued being with Jesus above working for Him.
How many of us can admit that, like Martha, there are times we draw our identity more from our “doing” and not our “being?” Who we are is not dictated by what we do, and this can never be realized through our own works. Understanding that our identity must first be anchored in Christ is key so that “who we are” can be defined in our “being” with Him.
Have you lost yourself a little or maybe have a case of mistaken identity? We must never forget that our identity is in Christ Jesus, and Him alone. We were not designed to have our identity affirmation met by other people, places, and things of this world. God is not interested in our ability to give stellar performances in order to win the acceptance, affirmation, and adoration we all long for in this life. He simply bids us to come be with Him, so that we can receive the revelation that we are already accepted, affirmed, and adored by Him.
Let’s remember two important lessons from Martha:
#1-Always serve with pure motives.
Our working should never dictate our identity. On the contrary, our identity should dictate our work. When done in our own strength, we offer works of the flesh. When done in the strength of God, we offer His good works (see Ephesians 2:10).
#2-Working can be dangerous if it distracts you from being with God.
Isn’t it funny how we can get so caught up in our work that it actually pulls us away from being with God? There must be a balance so that our relationship with God is not neglected.
Now, let's remember three aspects of winning we learn from Mary:
#1-You win when you relinquish: To relinquish is to release your need to control; it’s being okay with abandoning everything you think you need to do to guarantee your own winning-even the expectations of others (like Martha). We don’t lose anything by giving God our everything. The beauty of relinquishing is that we gain all we can ever hope for or need in Christ Jesus.
#2-You win when you rest: I love Matthew 11:28 in The Message Bible, it says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” When you’re resting in Jesus, It doesn’t mean you quit your job and do nothing. It doesn’t mean you stop serving in ministry. Resting is not a place of inactivity, but it is the condition of your soul. Resting is completely trusting God, and it positions you to receive from Him. Mary refused to work so that she could rest in the presence of Jesus.
#3-You win when you receive: Just receive what God has already declared about you. Just receive what is already yours! That’s what Mary did. She took in every word Jesus spoke. There was no requirement for her to meet in order to accept what he was offering. We understand that it’s only Jesus’ blood that makes us worthy; that He chooses to call us righteous, so just receive Him. Because when you receive Him, you can receive His victory that makes you a winner.
The truth of the matter is, we have already been made winners, and it has nothing to do with anything that we can do for God or bring to Him, even in our worship (although worshipers always win!). By the finished work of Jesus, we are declared winners because He has gotten for us the victory! This means we win before we ever work! Thank God-Hallelujah! Therefore, we can stop wearing ourselves out from works that inevitably lead to exhaustion-body and soul.
The Message translation states in verse 42, “One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it.” What is the one essential thing? It’s being with Jesus. The temporal things that pull on us to exert our own strength should never outweigh the eternal relevance of being at the feet of Jesus. That’s real winning!
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