In Him, We All Win

September 25, 2023

“We won! We won!” These words come so easily when a home team wins, in any sport. With fervor and joy, they roll off the tongue in celebration of a team victory. This past NFL football season, Philadelphia fans of all ages watched and cheered on the Eagles as they fought their way to securing a spot in Super Bowl LVII. I was one.

My brother, who I love dearly, takes issue with the use of the word “we” when a fan celebrates a team accomplishment. His pushback is that we weren’t on the field, we did nothing tangible to secure the win, and thus, we did not win the game. I see his point–sort of. I certainly would be knocked flat and unable to move again if I was out there on the field against Brandon Graham. Fortunately, he’s on our team. And there it is. We the fans, with the players, coaches, stadium workers, and the city of Philadelphia itself win when the team wins. 

In a world rife with things that separate and tear apart, a home team’s win can unite and build up a whole city, even for just a day. Regular lives are left behind for a few hours as we transport ourselves into a stadium of high energy physical action, strategic calls from the coaches, hilarious fans who paint their faces with team colors and wear all kinds of ridiculous garb, and a chant that is sung all over the city when the Eagles score.

What does this have to do with our lives as Christians in community? Everything. One of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture is Romans 12. It outlines what we need to live each day of our lives honoring Christ. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (v.15). Rejoice with, weep with. 

Before our sermon series on Philippians, my Bible reading plan landed me in that book, one of the many letters of Paul to churches who needed encouragement, instruction, and accountability. In Philippians 4:13, there is that oft-quoted verse, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” But do you know what the next verse says, that I had never noticed before? “Yet it was kind of you to share in my trouble” (4:14). Paul knew without question that he could do all things through Christ’s strength, but he also recognized that the way God often does this is through other people. The Philippians shared in his trouble. They prayed for him, sent people to him, inquired about his needs, and welcomed any chance to hear back. When he “won,” they all won; when he struggled, they all struggled.

This, I believe, is key. We were not meant to do life alone–Christ is our Emmanuel, God with us. He speaks to us alone, sure. Through his Word, always. But let us not ignore the people all around us who share in our trouble. They are God’s many means of grace, Christ’s hands and feet, living manifestations of his strength through which, in whom, we can do all things.

In Him, we win.

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