You are a Champion because I Am The Champion
There is a movie that I used to watch over and over when I was a young teenager called A Knight’s Tale. It was one of the breakout roles for Heath Ledger where his character, William Thatcher, fakes it as a nobleman and enters into medieval jousting tournaments with the help of a few friends. The story tracks, perhaps poorly, medieval jousting competitions where young men would compete in a series of games to determine the champion. These tournaments would draw people out to watch and celebrate the best of the best. If you have not yet seen this masterpiece of cinema, a quick spoiler alert, it ends with Mr. Thatcher being crowned as a champion even though he lacked even the most basic credentials to enter the tournament.
We love stories like A Knight’s Tale, where we see someone overcoming all odds and being crowned champion. Tales, movies, shows, and books like this stir us and grab our attention. Isn’t it true that you can barely flip through the channels without seeing a new competition show? We love stories like Michael Jordan digging deep to lift his team to the top or shows like Shark Tank where anyone with a great idea and ambition can make it big. You see, we as people want to achieve and be recognized for our success. We don’t just want to be given the title; we want to earn it. You remember those shallow victories when you were little where a friend, sibling, or parent let you win something? Those wins were hard for us to accept, we wanted to win based on our skills, talent, work, or determination. It is embedded and idolized from a young age that with hard work, we can become the best, the greatest, the (insert your goal here).
But in the upside-down spiritual world, this is not how the kingdom of God works. In Romans, we see Paul describing the concept of grace. He terms it the “stumbling stone” of grace. It’s the stumbling stone because it is hard to accept a free gift. Deep down, don’t we want to earn grace? Don’t you want to say to God, I have been good, I have donated my finances, I have donated time -- see I am worthy before You! Right? Yet, Romans makes it abundantly clear that nothing we do can earn favor before God. In Isaiah, even our good works are called dirty rags. You see, like Mr. Thatcher, we lack the credentials, the pedigree, and the position to be crowned champion in the Kingdom of God. But Jesus entered into the tournament for us, acted as our representative and rose as the champion. How beautiful is it that we didn’t have the position, the pedigree, or the credentials and yet Jesus says you have my authority, you have my position, you are a champion because I am The Champion.
Today, consider how you have tripped over the stumbling stone of grace. Are you trying to earn your championship? Are you hoping that your skills, your talents, and your determination are enough before God? Rest. In. Grace. The tournament has already been won. You don’t even have to participate because you have been crowned as champion.