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Nothing to Lose

When I was growing up my Father taught me the benefit of the underdog. The underdog is a name given to a person or team not favored to win. The odds are stacked against them. It was my Dad who explained to me, that the underdog has nothing to lose, because they are already expected to lose. People are betting against a loss. Perhaps we have experienced this phenomenon first hand, or maybe by following the world of sports, but at times the underdog comes up from underneath all odds and beats the giant (David and Goliath, Egypt and the Israelites, Average Joes vs. The Purple Cobras, Scotland vs. Britain, Civil Rights Movement and The Tyrannical Powers of Control, and the list goes on).

The greatest underdog moment has to be Jesus on the cross. Most of his friends have abandoned him for fear of their own life. His own people put him on the cross to die a criminal’s death. The Romans can’t help but take the opportunity to mock him with a crown of thorns and a sign of the charge against him saying, “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” In the moments of his greatest agony Jesus knows there is nothing to lose, only to gain. He understood his life not his own, but given by the Father. It is with this great love and humility, that God saves the world. He saves it not by sending legions of angels to defeat the powers that crucify him, but rather by dying for the very ones who spit in his face.

On the cross as seems to be lost. The earth shakes as the sun recedes from its place in the sky giving way to utter darkness. All hope is lost. Man is in his darkest hour. There is no time when God’s presence was further from the face of the earth. And yet somehow, when all seems lost, when the odds are stacked against the kingdom of God, when the evil powers of the world celebrate in victory, Jesus rises again in all glory and power. The fat lady did not sing, the buzzer did not buzz, and there was still time on the clock. What a come from behind victory!

Paul says to the Philippians and to us now, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

There is nothing for us to lose because it is not ours to gain in the first place. The only thing I can claim is Christ! So I can go into everyday life, knowing deep down, that things may be taken from me, possessions, jobs, reputation, relationships, and yet there is still nothing to lose and nothing to fear. There is nothing to lose because my victory is in Christ. So why not follow Jesus when there is nothing to lose, only to gain a life with God himself. He is on our side, even when it seems he is not. Let us remember we are underdogs with Christ.

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We switched homes with grandpa Dan almost two years ago. When we moved in the pedestal sink in the bathroom did not drain. So we asked grandpa about it. He said, “Yea it doesn’t drain. Water splashes out of it anyway, so I didn’t bother with it. Instead I used the bath or the kitchen sink.” Since he is our landlord, obviously, what we wanted to know was whether or not he would have it fixed. From his statement we found out quickly, like he, he expected us to do as he had done, that is not use the sink. Instead of calling a plumber, we took a look at it ourselves and found the problem in the sewer line, something too great for the regular do it yourself kind of person. Rather than forking out the couple hundred dollars, we chose to live with it. That meant brushing our teeth in the kitchen, washing our hands in the tub, and using the sink to hold hair trimmings, curling iron, and blow drier.

Today I caught myself. After putting product into my hair, my hands were dirty and sticky. So I went over to the tub and turned on the faucet. A small voice spoke to me in that moment, especially after spending time an hour earlier reading about ingrained habits of sin. I did not have to consciously think about using the tub, I just did it, and it was second nature. But I had a revelation moment, “stop, why use the tub when you can use the sink, the plumber fixed it a few days ago!”

Perhaps this is how our habits take control over our lives, mostly without even an awareness of their presence. Yet we shall not be slaves to our habits, but slaves to God, to the Lord Jesus, and he will deliver us, he will bless us, he will grace us with righteousness. He will give us freedom. But first would be wise to listen.

Do I observe the world outside?

Do I give an ear to what is said?

Do I look out the window and see what there is to see?

Do I have an awareness of the words coming from my mouth?

Aye, these questions may lead you or me into some truth.

And yet to escape them, I must face the most challenging question of all.

It is the question of the condition of my heart.

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