Philippians 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
For many decades professional and elite athletes having been guaranteeing wins. Despite being huge underdogs, quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed that his New York Jets would defeat the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 NFL Super Bowl. Namath delivered, propelling him to stardom. Muhammed Ali, the American Heavyweight boxing champion guaranteed a win over challenger Sunny Liston on May 25, 1965, but even more brash, he predicted it would happen in the first round. In what is still called the “phantom punch” Ali did just as guaranteed, he dropped Liston in the first round.
But for as many guaranteed wins that came to fruition there have been as many or more that never came to pass. Some infamous examples are Carlos Zambrano in 2007 guaranteeing he would win the Cy Young Award for top pitcher in Major League Baseball and that his Chicago Cubs would finally break their curse and win the World Series. Unfortunately his Cubs lost in the first round of the playoffs and Zambrano did not win the Cy Young Award (0-2 for his predictions). In 2009 horse jockey Calvin Borel predicted he would win the personal Triple Crown by winning the three most famous horse races in one year on three different horses. After winning the first two, Borel finished last in the final race, the Belmont Stakes, much to the delight of the other annoyed jockeys.
Elite athletes, and certainly those who are at the top of their sport, need to walk with a certain swagger, a certain confidence that separates them from the rest of the pack. While this may be true, everyone knows that there are a myriad of things that are out of the control of an athlete. Guaranteeing a win may make headlines and may heighten the entertainment value, but there really isn’t much wisdom in this tact.
There is, however, a guarantee that you can be confident in proclaiming as a Christian Athlete. You can guarantee a win. In his letter to the Philippian church, the Apostle Paul clearly understands that he cannot lose. Although the world may have looked on Paul and seen a man losing, consistently in prison, beaten, persecuted, he understood this was not reality from God’s perspective. If you read Philippians 1 you will see that God’s chains advanced the Gospel and whether he died or lived it was a win. If he continued living he would continue proclaiming the Gospel proclaiming true life, if he died he was going home to his eternal destiny with his father in heaven. “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
The Bible is also filled with promises (prophesies) guaranteeing our victory. We can be certain that they will all come true as the New Testament already fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophesies (Jesus birth, life and death alone fulfilled over 300 prophecies). Our enemy is Satan but we are told that in the end times he will be bound for 1,000 years (Revelations 20:1-3a) and ultimately be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). As a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ, you are on the winning team and can confidently predict your victory, whether in life or death.
1 Corinthians 15: 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.