Last night in the NBA something interesting happened. The Chicago Bulls had a 35 point lead on the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter. Obviously this is a game that they should have won. However, when the final buzzer rang the score was 102 to 98 in favor of the Kings. The Bulls had blown a 35 point lead. This was the largest come from behind win in 13 years. However, it is not uncommon to see teams lose 20, 15, or 10 point leads. There seems to be a tendency for some teams when they take a large lead to start to take it easy. They do not work as hard as they did in the beginning. As a sports fan I find it very frustrating to watch my favorite team jump out to a large lead and then allow the other team to come back and win. On the other hand I love to see my team fight back from a large deficit to take the lead. I did not watch that game but I know that somewhere there were Bulls fans in utter disbelief and complete frustration. I also know there were Kings fans who were celebrating and jubilantly saying that is one of the best games they have ever watched. As we turn to a more spiritual discussion we see a great similarity.
So often we see those who have become Christians (and in doing so gained a great victory) turn their backs on God. They had victory within their grasps but then gave it up for worldly pleasures that last only a short while. They lose in the game of life though victory was so close. John warned of this very thing happening when he wrote "Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward" (II John 8).
On a more positive note we also see those who have seemed to be complete failures in life turn around and become great men and women of God. When we see the druggies, foul mouthed, and sexually perverted who turn their lives around to serve God we then witness a great victory. James declared that this very thing was possible when he wrote "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).
Everyday great leads crumble and everyday great victories take place. Do not allow yourself to be apart of that first group. Continually strive to live pleasing to God and everyday strive for victory, it is within our grasp.