The election of 2000 will not soon be forgotten in the United States – it lasted 36 days past Election Day. The loser actually got the most popular votes, and George W. Bush finally prevailed with the most votes in our Electoral College. Now it wasn’t the first time there was an interesting presidential election. Take the one in 1888. Like Al Gore, Grover Cleveland carried the popular vote but he failed to carry his own state. And like George Bush, Benjamin Harrison became President with a majority in the Electoral College. In those days, of course, it took a while to get the news. When the head of the Republican Party arrived at Benjamin Harrison’s home in Indianapolis, he proudly announced that they had emerged victorious. As the Party leader crowed over the victory, he found the President-elect in what was described as a prayerful mood. Benjamin Harrison’s response? He simply said, “Providence has given us the victory.”
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about “How To Handle Winning”.
That historical anecdote really impressed me in the days when no one knew who had won our Presidential election. I had felt led to pray this during that uncertain time – “Lord, whoever wins, may they win in such a way that they will know that You gave them the victory, that they owe their Presidency to You and You alone.”
Actually, that’s how we ought handle every victory in our lives. In Psalm 75:6-7, our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord makes very clear the source of our success. It says, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges; He brings down one, He exalts another.” So, victory is not a human achievement; it is a gift from God! Which means He gets all the glory – all the glory.
In many ways, it’s spiritually easier to handle losing than it is winning; to handle hard times than good times. In the times of struggle or defeat, we are driven to our knees...we’re desperately dependent on God just to make it through the day. But in times of success and smooth sailing, we tend to get off our knees and on our high horse...to forget being dependent and start being independent. Even though it is God who did all the exalting.
Time after time in scripture and life, success has led to pride...and pride has led to a fall. Maybe that’s a danger you need to be looking out for right now. When you receive praise for what you’re doing...when the resources are flowing freely. . . when you know you’ve performed well...when you’re being recognized, applauded, promoted – how do you handle it? Do you find yourself saying inside, “Aren’t I something!” Or do you find yourself saying, “Isn’t He something!” The first response is a recipe for God’s correction. The second response is a recipe for God’s blessing.
Frankly, few people are able to handle it when God trusts them with success, with prosperity, with influence, or recognition. “God opposes the proud” the Bible says (1 Peter 5:5). . . “He humbles those who exalt themselves.” (Matthew 23:12). But He exalts those who humble themselves – because they can be trusted with it.
If success has you more full of you – more self-reliant, more self-willed, more self-centered, then you’ve forgotten who gave you everything you have. Don’t make God take it away so you’ll remember. When you’re winning, go to your knees in gratitude – remember, it is always true that “Providence has given us the victory”. Be sure you know that...be sure everyone knows that!
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