The second two characteristics.
Glenn Cunningham was a remarkable winner. His legs were severely burned in a schoolhouse explosion in which his brother was killed. Semi-conscious, Glenn heard the doctor tell his mother that he would surely die. But he made up his mind that he would survive.
Later, doctors recommended amputating Glenn’s legs. But he was so distressed by the thought that his parents refused the amputation. The doctors said he’d never walk normally. He had lost all the flesh on his knees and shins, and the toes on his left foot.
But with tremendous determination and countless hours of therapy, he gradually began to walk and later to run.
Cunningham competed in the 1932 and 1936 Summer Olympics. He was voted “Most Popular Athlete” by his fellow Olympians, finishing just ahead of Jesse Owens. He and Owens roomed together in the Olympics and developed a lifelong friendship.
In 1936, he set the world record in the 800 meter run. In 1938, he set the world record in the indoor mile run. Many consider Glenn Cunningham the greatest miler of all time.
Glenn drew strength and inspiration through his faith in Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful illustration of a Christian with the biblical attitude of a winner.
Philippians 4:13 says “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)
From that verse, I see four characteristics of the attitude of a winner.
In my first article on this topic, I covered the first two. Now let’s consider number three and four:
#3. An “I Can Do Everything Through Christ” Attitude
If anyone should have a winning attitude, it is followers of Jesus Christ.
We have so many reasons to be optimistic:
We have the promise that no matter what happens, “all things work together for good.”(Romans 8:28)
We have the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us! “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)
We have the knowledge that we have a fantastic future home in heaven forever! Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3 ESV)
All of this and so much more should bring believers a lightened load, a happy heart and a winning attitude.
We can have a sense of certainty, confidence and hope like King David who wrote: “Yes, though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me.” (Psalm 27:3 TLB)
We can approach each day as the psalmist who wrote: “But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!” (Psalm 42:11 TLB)
Like Glenn Cunningham, true believers throughout Scripture could endure terrible difficulties and overcome incredible odds with remarkable…
How? These come when we have an “I can do all things through Christ” winner attitude.
If you have Jesus, you can have a “God-sized attitude.” Do you have a “God-sized attitude?”
In fact, not only can we have an optimistic attitude, we can have a “God-sized dream.”
If you have Jesus, you can dream “God-sized dreams.” Do you have a “God-sized dream?”
The ministry I founded in the fall of 2016, Discipleship Journeys with Jesus, has a vision to “take ½ million people on discipleship journeys” in the Bible.
That might sound outlandish. However, God can do it! God is a Winner!
I want a “God-sized dream,” not a “Mark-sized dream.”
My prior ministry, Dynamic Church Planting International, has the vision to equip leaders to impact the planting of 5 million churches. Over 18 years we grew from training just a handful each year, to 25,000 in 2015, my final year there. God worked in big ways as we acted in faith!
Was it always easy? Absolutely not! It was sometimes incredibly challenging:
A coworker’s wife died from cancer soon after we started.
Things were very slow at first.
We had financial struggles from time to time.
Staff member gave up and left for various reasons.
Yet we kept on going and believed that, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
What is your “God-sized vision?” I challenge you to trust God for something that could only happen through Him.
James 4:2 says, “You have not because you ask not.” If you don’t have a “God-sized vision,” pray and ask God to give you one today!
#4 An “I Can Do Everything Through Christ, Who Gives Me Strength” Attitude
Where did Glenn Cunningham find strength to overcome immense obstacles? He found it in Christ, the One who gives strength.
His favorite Bible verse was Isaiah 40:31 which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (TLB)
Where do we find strength when…
We’re severely injured
We experience a financial setback
We have a difficult relational challenge
We must “wait upon the Lord” so He can renew our strength, as Isaiah 40:31 says.
How do we “wait upon the Lord?” We linger patiently in the presence of the Lord in prayer, study of His Word, listening and trusting.
That is what Jesus did, when he faced the cross. The night before he was crucified, He knew exactly what was ahead. So, what did He do? He prayed all night in the Garden of Gethsemane. In fact, He prayed so emotionally that He sweat great drops of blood.
He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42 NLT)
The next day He bore our sins on the cross.
You might be facing huge trials. Do what Jesus did. “Wait on the Lord”
There are many times when I feel weak, overwhelmed, incapable, confused. When that happens, I “wait on the Lord” and practice “biblical thought replacement.”
What is “biblical thought replacement?” It is simply replacing my thoughts with God’s thoughts from the Bible.
I meditate on Scriptures such as this: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV)
And Ephesians 3:20 which says that God “…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (NIV)
My all-time favorite “biblical thought replacement” is from the experience of the Apostle Paul who wrote:
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)
I love to remember that “when I am weak, then I am strong” through the power of Christ who strengthens me.
When I remember that, I always feel like a winner.
Biblical thought replacement can gradually change…
Our fears into reassurance
Our lack of confidence into confidence
Our sorrow into peace
Our shame into approval
How does this happen? It happens when you’re “…strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:16b ESV)
Why does it happen? Because “God has power to shower all kinds of blessings upon you, so that, having, under all circumstances and on all occasions, all that you can need, you may be able to shower all kinds of benefits upon others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 TCNT)
You CAN have the attitude of a winner! Practice these four characteristics and you’ll be amazed at the changes.