What is wrong with the Carolina Panthers? How can a team only lose one game during the regular season last year, and now only have one win in the first five games this season? Last night’s game wasn’t much better as they fell to the Bucs at home in Charlotte.

On the surface, it’s easy to diagnose their problem as a lack of talent or playing too many young players in their secondary. Some of the issues may be injury related or maybe the coaches are calling the wrong plays. Displaying

However, as I watch the 1-4 2016 Panthers compared to the 15-1 2015 Panthers, I find the problem is much deeper. It’s clear to me that they no longer have their winning spirit. Last year was special with the team’s chemistry, energy, enthusiasm, and fun…and their excitement was contagious.

Some may argue the winning led to those characteristics, but I would argue those traits led to winning. You couldn’t help but notice that the spirit and passion the Panthers played with last year, propelled them to win after win.

This year, on the other hand, the team looks flat, disinterested, uninspired, and confused. They have lost their energy and fun-loving spirit from a year ago. They seem out of sync and are not playing with the same attitude or mindset that they did last season. It’s really tough to watch!

Although it’s still early in the season, and there is a chance they can turn things around, they are going to have to get rejuvenated and quickly bring back that winning spirit.

I find in our own lives, we can go through seasons or have weeks where our lives look similar to how the Panthers are right now. We become disinterested, uninspired, and hard to be around. We exude a spirit of negativity, and lack energy and passion. Sometimes it’s hard to know why, but as soon as we recognize it, we have to quickly turn back to God.

When we become followers of Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit, we are given a new way to live. Unfortunately, we don’t always walk in the Spirit and get caught up in our own way of doing things. This leads to a lack of energy and passion for our faith. We can’t live with a “winning spirit” in our own strength, so we must submit to Jesus and depend on the Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us to live a fruitful life.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:22-24 (NLT), But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”

Today, let’s surrender to Jesus and submit to the Holy spirit, so that we can live a fruitful, inspired, and contagious life. Let’s bring that “winning spirit” everywhere we go and to everyone we meet. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to walk in Your Spirit each day. I pray that I would get out of the way and submit to You, so that I can live a life that’s passionate, inspiring, and fruitful. I pray that others would see the “winning spirit” inside of me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.