They Got Tired of Winning

by Tad Lindley

One of the themes of President Trump’s campaign speeches was winning. “We’re going to turn it around, we’re going to start winning again. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at every level. We’re going to win economically, we’re going to win with the economy, we’re going to win militarily, we’re going to win with healthcare for our veterans, we’re going to win with every single facet. We’re going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And you’re gonna say, ‘Please, please, its too much winning, we can’t take it anymore! Mr. President, it’s too much.’ And I’ll say, ‘No it isn’t. We have to keep winning, we’re gonna win more!’”

Tired of winning? Is he kidding?

Regardless of whether or not you voted for President Trump, if you are like the vast majority of people inside our borders, you want America to win. And so it is highly likely that you might ask yourself, “How could Americans get tired of winning? If winning means more and better jobs, fewer people on welfare and less government intervention on our lives, how could people get tired of it?”

God talks about winning

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized that there once was a nation that got tired of winning. That nation was ancient Israel. They had lived in the land of Egypt for 400 years. Much of that time they were slaves to the Egyptians. During the 400 years, other tribes had moved into the land. In order for the Israelites to return, they would have to conquer those tribes.  I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. (Exodus 23:27-30)

Winning with God

You can take God’s promises to the bank. If he says it will happen, it’s going to happen. The only one that can mess that up is us. And so it was that God told the Israelites, “You’re going to win. If you advance against your enemies, I will go ahead of you. They will turn their backs and run.” And that’s about how it came to pass. When Joshua led the tribes of Israel back into the promised land, they began to win. They won at Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27). Then they won at Ai, after a brief setback ((8:1-29). And then they won some more. And then they won some more. They just kept right on winning. And then something very odd happened, they got tired of winning.

Tired of winning

That’s right, they got tired of winning. Even though God guaranteed it, they reached a point where they felt like they had won enough and got satisfied with what had already been won. You can read the details of it in Judges 1:21-36. Their complacency placed them in a position of not achieving the will of God in their lives, and they paid for their laziness. Because they permitted enemy tribes to continue to dwell in the land, the Israelites were led astray by them. If only they had not gotten tired of winning, the course of history would have been very different for them.

Are you tired of winning?

The blessings of God are so great that when you look at it on paper, you have to say a person would be a fool not to serve God all the days of their lives. And while the blessings of God are exactly that, blessings of God, meaning that they are not something that we deserve or can create in our lives, they do come without effort on our part. I realize that some folks believe that once you are saved, you cannot be lost. I wish it was true, but it’s not. That’s why the greatest missionary to ever serve God once said, But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

(I Corinthians 9:27) 

The sinful nature within us is continually calling out to us to be satisfied with what we have done for God in the past, “Sleep a little longer, pray a little less. Don’t fast, you’ll get hungry.” Paul understood this and realized that if he ever got tired of winning he would be cast away. Those he won to God would be saved, but he himself would not make it. We too, cannot get tired of winning. We cannot be satisfied with what God has done for us in the past. We must hunger and thirst for more righteousness in our lives. We can never get tired of wining. We must continue to press in with God lest we too should finish lost.

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.