Medieval armor on display in the White Tower of the Tower of London, London, England

Grammar that can change your perspective on winning

I don’t really follow popular culture very much, not in comparison to others. There are niche genres in pop culture that I enjoy, but as a rule I don’t spend much time immersed in it. I just don’t see much use for so-called reality television, talk shows, or sitcom rehashes. But every now and then, something from that world crosses over to the news world and can’t be ignored no matter how hard you try. And that happened with Charlie Sheen some time back.

Honestly, I didn’t follow any of it. I couldn’t even tell you what happened. I just know he made somebody mad and they fired him and he spent an inordinate amount of time saying some pretty mean things. Apparently. But one phrase he continually used really took pop culture by storm and before anybody really thought about it, there were t-shirts and flair and bumper stickers with his face and the phrase in capital letters, “Winning.”

From what I understand, it was a phrase he started using to emphasize that even thought studio executives and his own family were trying to keep him down, he kept succeeding, which meant he could misbehave more. Or something to that extent. I don’t know. All I really know is that he’s not in the media anymore, and I’m glad about it.

But what does it really mean to win? To triumph? To have victory? There are a lot of things in my life I want victory over. There are a lot of contests and races I want to win, but I’m pretty sure I’m not looking for Charlie Sheen’s definition of the word.

Medieval armor on display in the White Tower of the Tower of London, London, England

Medieval armor on display in the White Tower of the Tower of London, London, England

Today’s verses are Romans 8:35-37.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Overwhelming victory sounds good to me. And it sounds like it’s only possible through Christ.

I love the New Living Translation. It’s my go-to translation, but see I learned this verse differently. And while overwhelming victory sounds good too, that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. The way I learned verse 37 is as follows:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

More than conquerors. We aren’t just winners, we’re more than winners. It’s decisive. It’s certain. And it goes beyond victory to that place where there shouldn’t even be any doubt that we’ll win.

But for grins this morning, I looked up the Greek. Now, I don’t know Greek, but this is the age of Google. And cross referencing with Google is pretty easy and pretty cool if you already have a basic grasp of language. But Google Translate stuttered a bit and threw me this word: ὑπερνικάω.

Okay. Google wanted to separate it because it didn’t know what it was. So I just Googled that word, and I discovered something I didn’t know, which isn’t all that unusual. It’s just that it makes this verse even cooler than it was before.

Without going into tremendous etymological detail, let me sum this all up. Click on the link if you care, but the word ὑπερνικάω is a verb. It shows action. And it’s a combination of two other Greek words that mean beyond and conquer. It means a super-conqueror who is surpassingly and overwhelmingly victorious. And this is the only place in the Bible where this word appears.

Yeah. And I thought this verse rocked before.

In the other two translations, this phrase is translated as an adjective. A predicate adjective, of course, but not a verb. Word usage in a sentence means everything. It changes the power of the sentence. An adjective describes; a verb shows action. Yes, through Christ, I am more than a conqueror. But this goes beyond that. According to this, through Christ, I can more than conquer anything that anybody throws at me.

That’s the difference. I am verses I can.

I apologize for the grammar lesson, but this rocked my world this morning. It’s one thing to see yourself as more than a conqueror. It’s one thing to describe yourself as more than a conqueror. It’s something else entirely to live like it. Living like it takes action. Living like it takes doing, taking chances, taking risks–but if you believe this there is no chance, no risk, no danger because overwhelming victory is already yours through Christ. So what are you afraid of?


I fear failure. I fear what people think of me. I fear not living up to my own expectations, as well as the expectations of others. And on the other hand I fear success. I fear not knowing what to do with it. I fear so many things that I can’t control. But why am I afraid? Well, I’m trusting myself to do these things. I’m trusting my own abilities and my own knowledge and my own personality and quick wit to win the victory. But none of those things are what makes it possible for me to have surpassing, overwhelming victory over my fears. The only weapon that can do that is Christ.

So whatever you’re facing today, don’t face it with your own abilities. Don’t try to win with your charm or your intelligence. Don’t try to gain victory with your money or your influence. If you want to win, if you want victory, turn to Christ. He’s your secret weapon. Through Him, you can do anything. Through Him, you can more than conquer. You can live.

Now that’s winning for real.

What do Steven Curtis Chapmen, dc Talk and Fireflight all have in common?

Another chilly morning but not too cold. It’s up to 41 in my office at the moment and I have my heater on; my fingers are still pretty numb though. I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I did some business-related things which will hopefully be debuting soon. I get to come home again tonight, which I’m very much looking forward to. Dad and a friend from his work are also coming out this afternoon to look at my poor dryer in hopes that they can fix whatever this random electrical issue is. I can make do without a dryer but it’s kind of a hassle . . . . and since we’ve already paid to have it fixed? It would be nice for it to work.

I got a funny look from a coworker yesterday when I told him I didn’t have a smart phone. Lol. I’m probably the only person in Marketing that doesn’t have one. Everybody else has Droids but I just don’t know if I’m sold on the idea. I don’t know if I would actually use all the apps, so why spend the extra money to get one? I don’t know. I can get a new phone in February. I guess I’ll see what happens . . . .

Oh, and also I finally got around to looking at my best buddy Katie Morford’s web page yesterday. It’s pretty cool. She has her own domain name and everything! (

And I also figured out how to link this silly blog to my Facebook. I have no idea what that means. As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go look at my Facebook and see what happened.

The daily verse is one of my favorites: Micah 6:8

8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.

 It always makes me think of that old Steven Curtis Chapman song, “The Walk.” I remember when that was called rock music. Lol.

To me this verse communicates action. God has told us what to do–so we should go out and do it. I love verbs and this verse is full of them.

Do is a big one, in spite of the fact that it’s only two letters. Doing something–doing anything–is a lot harder to put in practice than it is to talk about it. (Why else do people say, “Easier said than done”?) It’s easy to talk about doing something but when it comes down to actually doing it, people usually have to sacrifice or step out of their comfort zone; and that’s never easy.

Love is a verb (even though, in that sentence, it’s acting as a noun). What is it with songs this morning? Because that’s a dc Talk song. Oh, well. It’s true. Love is action. It can’t be passive or it’s not love. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and try to tell me that Love can sit idly by and just be. And in this case we’re to love mercy–to love being kind to other people, especially those who don’t deserve it. Talk about easier said than done . . .

Walk is also a verb; but we’re not just to walk, we’re to walk humbly. I’m not sure which is more difficult–loving mercy or walking humbly. Walking humbly means that while we walk, we give credit to God for everything in our lives (including our ability to walk). I mean, do we honestly believe that we would have anything good in our lives if God hadn’t given it to us? In that same vein, we should realize that anything bad that comes into our lives is there because God has allowed it for some reason. Seriously, God gave us life in all its ups and downs and we need to give Him credit for everything.

Living the “Christian Life” isn’t about following a rule book. It’s a conscious choice that is reflected in our actions. I think it’s James that says to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Yet another song comes to mind, one by Fireflight called “Action.” There’s a lot happening in this broken world of ours, and while we’re not the ones who can fix it, we work for the One who can.