Like most sports fans, I am fascinated when athletes unexpectedly win at the highest level – especially because of their “old age.”

The sport of tennis experienced this over the weekend with Roger Federer and Serena Williams (both 35) winning the men’s and women’s Australian Open. As champions and legends in their sport, they have each had long and decorated careers. 

Federer had a crazy win when you consider he missed six months of tennis (from July to January) and hadn’t won a Grand Slam singles title since 2012.

But the thing about former champions, and the very elite in any sport, is their ability to dig deep and recapture that winning formula. As long as they are still out there, there is a chance they’ll win again – even though it doesn’t make sense or they’ve been written off because of their age. 

The true greats can win late in their careers because they have the heart of a champion. Even without all of the physical abilities they used to have, they maintain a special athletic power within them…and an intangible winning spirit they tap into. 

Stars like Michael Phelps, Peyton Manning, and John Elway have all relied on their inner champion one more time. Tom Brady has the opportunity right now…and I don’t count out Tiger Woods from making a surprise run in a big tournament for this very reason.   

The heart of a champion can make athletes stand out, overcome challenges, and always expect victory…even when seemingly unlikely. 

As followers of Jesus, we have a special heart and unique power that live inside of us. We can live in victory because of the spirit we’ve received through Christ. 

The Bible says in Romans 8:9-11 (NLT), “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.)

“And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” 

One of the most exciting truths we can claim as followers of Jesus is found in verse 11. We are told the same Spirit that raised Jesus lives in us. 

That same power that changed the course of history, and altered our eternal destiny, continues to work inside of us. We truly have a heart of a champion because we’ve already won. 

Today, let’s allow that winning spirit to lead us, guide us, and empower us to overcome every challenge that comes our way…even when it seems unlikely. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to receive your Holy Spirit through Jesus’ work on the cross. I pray that I would live in a way that represents the victory I’ve experienced over sin and death because of Him. Please empower me to overcome the difficulties I will face today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.