I recently had a discussion with my pastor and he asked me a basic question: “How do you define success or victory in the Christian life? –or- “What does a mature Christian look like?”
That is a loaded question because there are so many things talked about in Scripture on what a victorious / mature believer looks like. Yet many of those things are subjective instead of objective (things that don’t necessarily show up on life’s scoreboard.) I think that is why often churches get caught up in the legalism of defining success as “not participating in the works of the flesh.” That is easier to gauge than things like the fruit of the Spirit, etc.
In sports we tend to look at won-loss records for a season or the scoreboard for a game; yet I have never defined success that way for the teams I coached. (Of course some might say it is because I didn't often see the positive side of the scoreboard or the win-loss column…)
In all honesty I can say there were times my teams won on the scoreboard yet I didn't feel victorious; and there were times we lost on the scoreboard but I was beaming with pride! And in all honesty I can say that there have been times in life where I appeared to be “winning” and didn't feel victorious; and times I appeared to be “losing” but felt incredible pride and contentment in knowing my Lord was pleased…
So over the next few weeks I thought I would share some of my “E”ssentials to true success - victorious living… (things like Execution of the game plan; Ethics; Effort; and Esprit de Corps…)
After all the goal of a minister is to present believers as complete or mature in their walks… (Colossians 1:28)
This week: Execution of the Game Plan
There were times we faced teams that simply put were much better than us. This will sound like a defeated attitude but some of the teams we faced would have beaten us on their worst day and our best day. Like what often happens in life, it seemed like “no win” situations… and honestly if I judged by a scoreboard that would be the case.
Yet in each of those instances I would present a game plan to the team that would try to limit the opponent’s effectiveness, maximize our effectiveness, and allow for us to at least make them earn their “W.” (In other words we would pick our poison… i.e. if it was an incredibly fast, big, and athletic team I knew they could and would enjoy dunking the ball a lot; yet I wanted to see if they could shoot the ball. Therefore we would pack the defense in and dare them to shoot.)
Sometimes this type of coaching would result in just losing by 15 or 20 instead of by 30 or 40. But again the goal wasn’t hat games scoreboard; it was execution that would help us grow as a team and get better for the next game. It helped us accomplish objectives on players becoming coachable in hard times. It helped the players develop skills to face adversity.
Life is very hard at times! As believers one mark of maturity that leads to true victory is studying/knowing God’s game plan for life as it is spelled out in the Scriptures and in turn executing it in life. A simple way I heard that put yesterday was this: “Always ask, What does the Bible say about this?’”
Read Psalm 119 today. There are 176 verses that each remind you of the importance of knowing and executing God’s game plan…