The Importance Of A Faithful Example

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Having the Heart of a Champion can be difficult sometimes. But as Paul shows us in 2 Corinthians, there are some key things that we can incorporate into our lives in order to succeed in this.

The Importance Of A Faithful Example

One of those characteristics that we can develop to help build the Heart of a Champion is the ability to stand strong as a faithful example. Look at how Paul states this in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10:

Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

What Paul is saying here is that people are watching us. They are looking to see how we respond to the circumstances, often difficult, that we experience in life. And their response towards God is influenced by our actions. And so it is critical that we remain steadfast as a faithful example.

I don’t know who said it, but I have a quote in my files that states, “The most valuable gift you can give another is a good example.”

Live A Life That Pleases God

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Our physical lives last just a short time in the broad span of eternity, and keeping that in mind helps us to keep our priorities straight. And striving to do that is another way to have the Heart of a Champion.

Live A Life That Pleases God

Developing a heart like Paul’s is a worthy endeavor, whether you are in a leadership position or not. While these characteristics are especially true for those who lead, the simple fact of the matter is that they are equally applicable for all who seek to serve and follow Christ closely.

In 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, we can how Paul reveals another characteristic of such a person. One who has the heart of a champion seeks to please God, knowing full well that one day he will stand before Him. Take a look:

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Let’s look at his passage in two different ways. First of all, Paul says that our ambition should be to be pleasing to God. The Greek terms he uses here are ones that describe one who loves honor and seeks to achieve some level of civic recognition. It is used widely outside of the New Testament in Koine Greek. Within the New Testament however, this terminology is only used two more times, and it takes a higher, more pure view of aspiration and ambition.

Stay Focused On The Eternal

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Paul had the heart of a champion, and he displayed it clearly. He understood his calling. He knew that life had ups and downs. He depended upon prayer. He let go of his grudges. He saw things with God’s perspective. And he knew where he lived.

Stay Focused On The Eternal

Paul had a very clear understanding of where he lived. He knew that this world was his home, for a time. But he also knew that this world was not his permanent destination, and he understood clearly that there was much more than just his day to day life.

He maintained a clear vision of the eternal, even though he lived daily in the temporal.

Read what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul did not lose heart. Even though this world had thrown a lot of things at him, many of which would have destroyed someone who wasn’t secure in his relationship with God, Paul remained steadfast in his unwavering commitment.

Seeing With God’s Perspective

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

One of the prayers that I pray for my own spiritual life and growth is centered on seeing as God sees: seeing people as he sees them, seeing my circumstances as he does, and striving to see the big picture of his plan for my life, at least as much as I am able.

Seeing With God's Perspective

Seeing as God sees is an important part of having a heart like Paul did, the heart of a champion. Seeing things from God’s perspective helps us stay centered on the things that are important and helps us feel a connection with God that we might otherwise miss.

When we feel connected to God and his church, we have a greater sense of the Kingdom. We are able to understand just how God desires to build that kingdom by building people. And we sense the urgency that comes with the knowledge that he could return at any time.

Developing and deepening that closeness and connection with God is one of the ways that Paul displayed his strength of character. Look at what he says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:1:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart…

When we stay connected to God and develop the closeness he desires, at least four things happen.

Let Go Of The Grudges

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Sometimes I wonder if the easiest thing that we can do is hold a grudge. In our culture of the easily offended, this seems to be the strongest trait of a lot of people.

Let Go Of The Grudges

Holding a grudge is not something we should be proud of, nor is it something we should do at all. It’s a killer to our character, and if you want to have the heart of a champion, you have to let go of the grudges.

The apostle Paul had the heart of a champion. And in his letter of 2 Corinthians, he describes what this looks like. As we have looked at what the heart of a champion looks like, we have identified three things so far: Be clear about your calling, understand the ups and downs of life, and depend on the prayers of others. Letting go of your grudges is the fourth thing we can see in Paul’s letter, and it may be the hardest one yet.

Take a look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (NASB):

But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul reveals here that the actions of one individual have caused a lot of pain, grief, and difficult circumstances for Paul and his ministry to the Corinthian church. And yet Paul speaks in almost hypothetical language here, and refuses to put a name to the individual. What this indicates is that Paul has forgiven the person, and publicly shaming him would be of no gain whatsoever.

Depend Upon The Prayers Of Others

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Developing the heart of a champion is not something that you can do on your own. It requires a lot of people. And it requires a lot of prayers.

Depend Upon The Prayers Of Others

Undoubtedly, Paul had the heart of a champion. But he didn’t develop this on his own, all by himself. He knew where the source of his strength came from: It came directly from God. And it came directly as a result of the prayers of others for Paul and his ministry.

Paul depended upon the prayers of others to sustain him. He knew, that without these prayers, his work would be ineffective. To be sure, he prayed on his own, and did so frequently and fervently. But he also recruited partners in prayer to help lift him and his efforts before the throne of grace continuously.

Tale a look at his own words from 2 Corinthians 1, in the latter half of verse 10 and verse 11 (NASB):

And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

Understand The Ups And Downs Of Life

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

The Apostle Paul was one man who displayed the heart of a champion through his life and ministry. And one of the ways this is evident can be seen in the way he understood the ebb and flow of daily life.

Understand The Ups And Downs Of Life

Life is like a roller coaster. There are ups and downs all the time, and this is a very natural part of life Paul definitely experienced this ebb and flow of life, and he adjusted his perspective and attitude, as well as his ministry efforts, accordingly. This is very evident in 2 Corinthians 1:4-7:

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

Paul is very clear in this passage that life gives us ups and downs, and when the downs come, God provides a source of comfort as needed. He then adds that because we have experienced God’s comfort, usually coming from other believers, we can be a source of God’s comfort to others when they experience those hard times. Paul understood that life takes swings frequently. And he also understood that he needed to stand strong in those tough times. But he also knew that the only way he could was because of God’s assistance and comfort.