Bible verses about losing
Having a good sense of sportsmanship is a vital lesson to learn in life. We have to learn to win as well as lose.
This is not only important on the field but also for several aspects of life: getting a promotion at work, playing a board game amongst family members or playing a game at a theme park – even driving in traffic.
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi
“You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit.”
“I don’t try to focus on anything that doesn’t affect me personally and how I go out there every single day. I’m just going to continue to work hard and focus on what I can control.” – Tim Tebow
“When you want to give up, remember why you started.”
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
What does the Bible say about sportsmanship?
Sports were very common in the ancient world. While the Bible doesn’t emphasize a lot of sports, we can learn a lot about some sportsmanship qualities we can see in the Bible. The Bible frequently talks about how similar the Christian walk is to a race and how we are to learn to finish well.
1) Proverbs 24:17-18 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”
2) Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
3) Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. 10 If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?”
Be a good example
The Bible also frequently teaches us to set a good example for everyone around us. The unregenerate world are watching us and they can see that we are very different from them.
Even our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith are watching us so that they can learn and be encouraged.
4) Proverb 25:27 “It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”
5) Proverbs 27:2 “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
6) Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
7) Titus 2:7 “Above all, set yourself apart as a model of a life nobly lived. With dignity, demonstrate integrity in all that you teach.”
8) Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
9) 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self- control.”
10) 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Give glory to God
Above all, we are told to do all things for the Glory of God. Whether we are competing in sports or tending to our chores as a housewife – everything can be done for the glory of God.
11) Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!”
12) Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
13) Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.”
Sometimes losing is winning
Life is full of ups and downs. Many times we can be faced with situations that are seemingly hopeless. But God is His divine providence allows even difficult situations to come our way for His own glory.
God can allow wicked rulers to command a nation as a way of bestowing judgement, but even in that negative situation we can take heart knowing that God is working for the good of His people.
The Crucifixion looked like a major loss for the disciples. They didn’t fully understand that Christ would be raised from the dead three days later. Sometimes losing is actually winning. We just have to trust that God is working our sanctification for our good and His glory.
14) Romans 6:6 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be bought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
15) Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
16) Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
17) Colossians 3:1-3 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
18) John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
19) Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
20) Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
21) 1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Encourage your teammates
While our journey of sanctification is a personal one, we are all the Church body. It is our job to encourage our fellow teammates who are also on their race. A simple encouragement can bolster their faith and help them to push on.
22) Romans 15:2 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
23) 2 Corinthians 1:12 “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.”
24) Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
25) 1 Corinthians 10:24 “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
26) Ephesians 4:29 “And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.”
God is more interested in your spiritual growth
God does not measure us according to how many wins we earn in life. How many goals we make, how many touchdowns we earn, how many promotions we receive at work. God is much more interested in our spiritual growth.
Often times, in order for us to grow spiritually we need to be faced with how completely incompetent we are a human, we have no good in us apart from Christ. Sometimes, it takes facing several severe losses before we are able to repent and grow spiritually.
27) 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”
28) Romans 12:8-10 “The one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
29) 1 Timothy 4:8 “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Encouragement for a tough loss
The Bible is full of encouragement when we face times of difficulty. Christ has conquered death and the grave – whatever battle we are facing is not unknown by Him. He will not abandon us to face them alone.
30) Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”
31) Romans 15:13 “I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
32) 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
33) Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
34) Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
35) 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
36) Proverbs 11:12 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
37) Ecclesiastes 9:11 “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”
What can Christians learn from sports?
We can learn how to handle ourselves with dignity and how to respect others. We can learn how to have endurance and how to push ourselves to finish well.
38) Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
39) 1 Corinthians 9:25 “Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.”
40) 2 Timothy 2:5 “Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”
41) 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 “For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, 27 but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.”
42) 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Your true identity in Christ
But more than sports, the Bible talks about who we are in Christ. We were dead in our sins before Christ, but when He saved us we are completely regenerated: we are given a new heart with new desires. And as a new living creature we have a new identity.
43) Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
44) Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
45) Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
46) Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
47) Ephesians 4:24 “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
48) Romans 8:1 “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
49) Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
50) Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
Let us press on boldly, striving ahead to finish this race of life well. Nothing else in this life matters except bringing glory to Christ alone.