Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 

The difference between a winner and a loser is often a matter of inches or moments. A slip on the ice for figure skater, a missed assignment in a ball game, a moment of distraction for anyone and victory can slip from your hands. Everyone loses. Champions are people who use losses as stepping stones to victory.

It’s no wonder then that the apostle Paul used this analogy when he wrote to the Philippians from a dark, cold and damp prison cell. In the most unlikely place and the most uncomfortable circumstances Paul gives us a glimpse of his life philosophy. He admits to failure. He is not proud or his past. But he puts that aside and looks forward to what God has for him in the future.

Each of us has things on our past that we are ashamed of. We’ve made decisions that have hurt the people we love the most. We have been hurt by trusted friends and lovers. We have been the victims of other’s abusive and vindictive attacks.

Like Paul we need to look ahead. God didn’t allow you to go through what you are going through to make you feel defeated. He has no intention of putting you on a shelf somewhere because you’ve made such a mess of your life. He put you here on earth because he can use you and wants to see you succeed. That success may not be as the world measures success: money, fame, power, etc. The success He has for you is on the inside.

Don’t let your past defeats keep you from being a champion. Your relationship with Jesus Christ it your best avenue to achieving all God has for you and He has promised you His very best.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. You know the weight of my past mistakes. You know my feelings of defeat and weakness. Help me to pick myself up from this despair and move forward. Help me to be the champion you made me to be. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live like a winner today. Amen.