The Major League Baseball playoffs began last night with the New York Yankees facing off against the Minnesota Twins in the first wild card game.  In case you missed the highlights, the Yankees won and - you guessed it - the Twins lost.

I've head the it said: "It doesn't matter if you win or lose.  It's how you play the game."  I doubt that the Twins agree.

Winning and losing is fundamental to sports.  Not everyone gets a trophy.  Competition builds drama, which is why sports capture the attention of so many.

As a guy whose current outlook for drama-filled competition is pick-up basketball with other 30-somethings and Monopoly Junior with my kids, I wonder: What does it look like to win or lose in everyday life?

On Sunday, Sean kicked off our study of Philippians by walking us through the first 26 verses.  He explained that this book of the Bible is actually a letter of joy written by the Apostle Paul to some of his dearest friends.  What's crazy, though, is that he wrote this joy letter while chained to a Roman guard while on house arrest - for 2 years.

Insert record scratch.

How was this possible?  Prison is a difficult place to live regardless of the time and place in human history, but Paul's prison was a far cry from our modern prisons complete with three meals a day and cable television.  How could he write with joy when his circumstances were so bad?

Paul had found a win-win life.  He wrote in verse 21, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Living - no matter the circumstances - was great for Paul because he got to represent Jesus to the world.  Dying, he claimed, was even greater because he would be reunited with the risen Christ forever.  Nothing could touch who he had become at the core of his being.  He couldn't lose.

How about us?  Are we living win-win lives?  Have we taken on the identity of Jesus so that we can be free from the fluctuating, unpredictable circumstances of our lives?

I invite you to reflect on following and listen for how God might lead you forward:

  • To what degree is my outlook on life dictated by my job, possessions, relationships, etc.?
  • What would it look like for me to live out Philippians 1:21?