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What Does It Take To Win a Championship?




I had the pleasure a few weeks back to hear a speech that the legendry Lou Holtz gave to The University of Texas football team.  For those who may not know who Lou Holtz is, he was the head coach of The Univ. of Notre Dame (won the 1988 national championship), head coach of South Carolina and the head coach of the NFL NY Jets just to name a few of his football credentials.

As I was listing to Mr. Holtz layout his formula for winning the national championship I found myself thinking how easily it applied to other parts of life… work, school, family and most importantly our spiritual walk.  I’m sure if I asked a 100 people if they want to go to heaven I would get a 100 people saying YES I want to go to heaven… but how many of us are willing to put the work in to get the reward.  So here is my spin on Mr. Holtz speech…Not “What does it take to win a Championship” but “What does it take to go to Heaven?”  Here are a couple of questions to ponder:

  1. What price are you willing to pay?  It’s not easy to win a National Championship and sacrifices will have to be made if a team wants to obtain that goal.  This applies to our spiritual lives as well.  Luke 14: 25- 33 Luke paints a picture for us of a builder who wants to build a tower.  He must first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it.  Luke also speaks of a king who is going out to battle with another king… he must first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough to win the battle.  If the builder or the king doesn’t do their due diligence they will fail in their endeavor.   Have we or are we properly planning a successful strategy to make it to heaven?  What are we willing to sacrifice so we can reach our eternal reward?
  2. Who do I need to associate with?  In football it’s a team sport and you need all parts of the team to be on the same page from the coaches, trainers and your team mates.  In our spiritual walk we to need to surround ourselves with a cast that will help us achieve our goal.  Timothy had Paul as a mentor who encourage him to spread the Gospel- 1Tim. 4:12 “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”  Paul gave Timothy Godly advice and helped direct him as he matured in the word.  Heb. 10:24-25- the writer of Hebrews directs the flock to not forsake the assembling together but directs them to meet together for the purpose of simulating and encouraging one another.  Are we taking advantage of our local flock to encourage and to be encouraged?




  1. What problems do I have to overcome in the future?  A team is going to encounter trials during a football season and needs to be ready for them- injuries, bad calls in a game, etc…  We as Christians know that our walk will not go without its trails.  We need to be confident in our walk in good times and bad because God has promised us our reward 1Peter 1:6-7- “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
  2. What kind of choices am I going to make between now and then?  .  Life is a matter of choices- good ones and bad ones.  As with a football team, the choices we make during a football season, or in this case our life, will determine our success.  Are we going to commit our life to one of excellence or one of mediocrity?  1Peter 1: 13-16- “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

Just one last thought that Mr. Holtz made as he finished his speech to the team.  If you want to be happy for an hour eat a steak.  If you want to be happy for a day play a round of golf.  If you want to be happy for a week go on a cruise.  But, if you want to be happy for a lifetime win a championship… our championship as a Christian is heaven- Matt 25:23- “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”


Craig Hecht