A Winning Tradition by Mark Bintliff

A Winning Tradition
Mark Bintliff

Pastor Mark and his wife, Tasha, are Senior Pastors of New Creation Church in Glenwood Springs Colorado, where they served in various helps capacities for 10 years before assuming the pastorate in March of 1992. Mark is a 1982  Graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa Oklahoma, and is currently a Regional Director for Rhema Ministerial Association International. Pastor Mark and Tasha share a heart for the nations and travel ministering regularly at Conferences, Seminars, Churches, and Bible Schools.

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. —2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (The Message)

Winning TraditionOn most Sunday mornings I lead my congregation in a confession based on 2 Corinthians 2:14. It is good to remind ourselves of who we really are, who we are “IN CHRIST.” See, we are part of the greatest thing in the earth today. We are part of the greatest team that ever was or will be. We are part of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are His body on the earth today. We are part of a rich and long history of winning. We are part of a winning tradition.

The Power of a Winning Tradition

Have you ever noticed that there are those in life, athletics and even business, that seem to have a fragrance of victory about them? It is as if they walk in an atmosphere and with the mindset of a perpetual winner. There is an air, a confidence and an expectation of success that seems to surround all that they do. We, as Christians, should have this kind of confidence. When you are part of a team that has a tradition of winning, you expect to win.

In fact, for some, their expectation of the next success or win seems to propel them to a high level of diligence, practice, and study. Preparation time is not wasted because they know that practice makes perfect. The legacy that they have been left by those who have gone before stirs them to continue in this winning tradition and the goal of excellence. When they take the field of “life” they are intimidating to their opponent. On the home field the support of their fan base gives them an extra advantage. Even when they step onto the field of their opponent, there is a swagger that gives them the mental advantage to overcome the odds of being away from home.

If you have ever been to a sporting event you know exactly what I am talking about. You can feel it in the air. The adversary may prepare and strategize on how to gain a win, but he is confronted with the atmosphere of the winning tradition and it puts him at a disadvantage.

The Thrill of Victory

In the 70s and 80s there was a television program called “The Wide World of Sports.” They used to introduce the program with the phrase, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

There really is a thrill to victory that lifts and affects the spirit, soul, and body of an individual or team. It is not just the present win, but also the history of wins that you are a part of because you’re part of that team. Winning traditions are built by the whole team buying into the fact that my part is an important of the whole.

The spirit is lifted, strengthened and encouraged into believing “we can win,” because of the example of all that have gone before. The soul has an immediate release of joyous emotion, which in a short while turns into the determination to “DO” what needs to be done so the feeling can be experienced again and again. Then the body gets involved and seeks release in an expression of jumping, dancing, fist pumping, and other well-known expressions of victory.

This thrill… has such an impact on the whole man, spirit, soul and body, because we were created for victory. It is not a one time experience either, the thrill pushes us into a repeated experience time and again until it becomes our tradition.

The Agony of Defeat

The agony of defeat can take hold of the person or team in much the same, but opposite manner. Continual defeat will actually break the spirit. The desire to compete may still exist, but the hope of victory becomes diminished and will eventually affect a person’s will to try. Defeat affects the soul and can be seen in a sad countenance and loss of Joy. The body becomes fatigued, fighting to pick itself back up and work another day; wondering if the work is not in vain.

The Mindset of The Winner

In looking at the mindset of a winner, it is not that they never lose a contest, or have a bad season; rather it is what they learn from the loss that will bring them to their next victory.

Look at the examples we have been given in Hebrews Chapter 11. They all had loss, defeat, or sorrow at some point in their lives, but they kept moving forward toward the promise. They kept their focus on the promise and the faithfulness of God.

There are some rebuilding seasons for teams with a winning tradition. In the rebuilding process, the winning tradition is instilled in the new members of that team and coaching staff. Part of the team development is conveying the legacy of winning to the point that even those who may have come out of defeat are lifted into a winning mindset.

It’s a Game Changer

Let’s look for a moment at the differences between a tradition of defeat and a winning tradition as it relates to the momentum in the midst of the game.

Examine a team that is used to defeat, when they are behind in the 8th or 9th inning or the fourth quarter of a game, there is an attitude on the bench that is “business as usual.” Watch the body language and you’ll see them resigning or giving in to another defeat. But… if by chance they find themselves leading at this crucial point in the game, there is almost a giddy excitement coupled with disbelief, waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop.” There is almost an unconscious shift from pressing toward a win to just trying not to lose. In the effort to simply protect their position, they more often than not, will lose it.

In contrast… a winning team, when they find themselves ahead, will press on to victory with confidence. If they find themselves behind in the latter innings or the fourth quarter, there’s not a panic, but a confidence that “we can come back and win this.” Everyone around, friend or foe, also picks up on it. It is an attitude that is tangible. They never stop playing to win!

Our Winning Tradition

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1-2

We as believers have a winning tradition that is led by Jesus Himself. There is fragrance about us, a fragrance of victory because of His victory. There is an atmosphere of victory created by all that have gone before that are now cheering our every move toward Him. Our mindset can be that of a confident expectation for success because of what has been done for us in Christ.

If we are to continue the winning tradition, we cannot lose the divine momentum of God that is pressing us onward. He is the great encourager that is cheering us and has equipped us to win. We can overcome in our circumstance, temptation or difficulty (if GOD be for us, who can be against us). As believers, we don’t want to develop a defeated mentality. He has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. Don’t give in to self-defeating attitudes and behavior, but rather press in towards total victory by grace and faith.

His Win over the enemy should propel us into diligence in practice and in study of our “playbook,” our Bible. This is how we prepare to overcome the strategy of the enemy. Keep reaching for the promise that God sets before us and lay aside every weight that would slow us down and keep us from the prize. We know that our preparation time is not wasted time. Because we know those who have gone before us in faith and left us a legacy of victory.

When we wake up and put our feet on the field of life, we already have an intimidating presence to our opponent because we are walking in the reality of His total victory. The support of our fan base is overwhelming. Realizing that there are more than be for us than those who are against us.

The enemy may strategize against us but we have already been prepared to stand against him and win. It does not mean we will never fall short or have a struggle, it means that through the wisdom and direction given to us by his Word and Spirit we learn what we need to be victorious in our next encounter. Hebrews Chapter 11 show us that we come from a winning tradition, a long line of those who overcame by faith. Let us be motivated by those who have gone before, continuing the perpetual victory that is ours in Christ and leave a winning legacy to those who will follow.