In 1986, back when they actually played basketball in the NBA and men’s shorts were actually, well, short, the NBA All-Star weekend included it’s first three-point contest. Eight competitors, all long-distance sharp-shooters, participated in this inaugural event.
With the other seven already in the locker room for a precontest meeting, Larry Bird walked into the room and silently surveyed his competition. After a few moments he threw down the five of the most famous words ever uttered in NBA trash talk history: “Man, who’s comin’ in second?”
With that statement, Larry Bird set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy that he would win the contest… and he did. Yes, he still had to go out onto the court and back-up his words. He still had to face the competition and make his shots. The other seven players did not just give up and walk away. But at the end of the contest, Bird’s attitude helped him win the day.
Real life is the same way. Our attitude will determine how we face adversity and whether we come out on the top or on the bottom. Many people face a bad situation, quake in their own shoes, fall apart, give up, and lose without ever even giving victory a chance.
That’s why it’s so important to fill our minds with God’s promises concerning adversity. Tough times are going to happen to all of us. It’s part of life on planet Earth. None of us are immune. Jesus told his followers, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). The psalmist reminds us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19). However, neither Jesus nor David stopped with what seems like a dire proclamation. Jesus completed his statement by saying, “but take heart, because I have overcome the world.” David concluded with this promise: “but the Lord delivers him from them all.”
Begin each day filling your mind with the promises God gives us in Scripture. Here’s one to get you started: “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17 NIV)
God’s promises firmly planted in our hearts will develop the attitude that when we face adversity we can look it squarely in the face and say, “Man, you’re comin’ in second!”