If I recall correctly, I was in the middle of jumping up and down, screaming “we’re going to win a football game” over and over, when my phone buzzed with a text message. I looked down to see a message from my (Alabama-loving) friend Barry, who simply said “congratulations.”

It’s a common courtesy among football fans that aren’t rivals, to send such well-wishes when their team gets over a hump, gets off a schneid, or otherwise accomplishes some notable feat.

For Arkansas lately, “surviving against Mississippi State” is such a feat.

But the more I think about it, the less sense it really makes. I mean, why am I being congratulated? Why do I send congratulations to fans of other teams when their favorite squad does well? What does it even mean? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t earn that win. I didn’t get out there and intercept a pass or make a fourth down stop or throw a touchdown. What did I actually do to deserve a congrats? Nothing. But I’ll take it all the same, because I am happy to live vicariously through the success of others. If you’re not a sports fan you might not understand that, but if you’re a Christian you do.

Because you’ve been living vicariously through Jesus’ victory for two-thousand years.

If you’re saved in Jesus, congratulations!  Just remember that you didn’t earn it. You don’t even deserve it. You were purely a spectator, and yet, because you’re on His team, you get to reap the rewards and enjoy the spoils of victory all the same.

And unlike the Razorbacks (who are certainly doomed to lose more than their fair share of games before this season is out), Jesus’ victory is total, final, and forevermore ensured. Enjoy it, Christians. You didn’t earn it, but He’s happy to share it with you all the same.

~ Matthew