Sports loves to crown its champions. This is why we grind and compete for an entire season: to win and to become the greatest. Baseball pops the cork on its World Series winners, Super Bowl rings adorn the gnarled knuckles of the NFL’s best, and hockey hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup. But NASCAR is different, for it holds its most elite event, the Daytona 500, not at season’s end, but at its beginning. Afterward the matter is settled: regardless of what happens the rest of the year—win or lose—whoever captures the flag at NASCAR’s inaugural event remains its greatest champion. This is likewise true of all who are born of the Spirit of God by faith in the Son of God: though our season on earth here continues, we have already won. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us,”1 proclaimed Paul. It is fait accompli—a done deal, historic fact. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2

Still, the rest of the season awaits its champions: we have miles to go, some of them grueling and some of them not. We will at times face rejection, persecution or dangers for the sake of the Kingdom,3 yet in Christ we are champions, and absolutely nothing will be able “to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4 Then it is in this confidence—the complete certainty of God’s limitless love for us—that we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”5 We share the apostle’s assurance: “in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”6 God loves to crown His champions.

Many have gone on before us in seasons of the past, and many will follow in times yet to come. This, though, is our season. This is our time to persevere in Christ as winners in Christ. Our crown awaits. It won’t be long.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2.

Father, You have already made us winners in Christ Jesus. Send us Your Spirit to lead us, that we would live as Your champions. Find us faithful. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 8:37
2 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
3 Romans 8:35
4 Romans 8:39
5 Philippians 3:14 NASB
6 2 Timothy 4:8 NASB