Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - STRAIN

Every time a game ends the big “win” question is not truly about the scoreboard. The scoreboard will be turned off and then reset to zeros for the next game. The real “win” question is whether or not you gave your all? Were you the best you could be in effort? Were you the best teammate you could be? If you didn’t give your best it was not a “win.” (Note: I said “give your best” not “were your best”; some days the shots just aren’t falling; some days you physically just aren’t quite there; yet those things are not excuses for lack of effort!)

I often quote John Wooden’s ideas of success. This week is a reminder of that: “Success is peace of mind, which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the EFFORT to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

I talk often to players about not just “winning the day” but also “winning the play”; reminding them that every rep counts… maximum effort!

The reality is that being a true winner is hard work because the competition is truly oneself and maximizing potential. It involves being the best (as Wooden said) for one’s own peace and self-satisfaction. It also involves being one’s best for the bigger picture of the team.

Yesterday I had a couple great reminders about that via church and a devotion I read on the internet.

In church the pastor is in a series dealing with unfulfilled expectations. Yesterday he talked about when we don’t fulfill God’s expectations of us. He did a great job of reminding that Jesus and the cross are what paid for our “approval” from God. But “intimacy” with God requires confession (1 Jn 1:9) and striving to honor God with our lives. It is a daily… no hourly… no moment-by-moment battle to face our failures and overcome.

On the internet I was reading a weekly devotion I receive from a sports chaplain named Roger Lipe. He was talked of “straining” our muscles, our minds, and our emotions in competition. He talked of the value of that “strain” in becoming a champion. The cool thing to me was the verse he used to pull out that truth. It is a verse I have used and taught on many times. But he used it from a different version than I typically use and the concept jumped out even greater…

Philippians 3:13 "But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and STRAINING toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

I looked up the word in Greek (Epekteinomai) and it actually means to "stretch out to or towards" or "to stretch (one's self) forward to." The idea of STRETCH absolutely gives a picture of STRAINING toward something.

I loved the tag that Roger added at the end of his devotion: "STRAIN like a champion today."

When the day is done... when life is done... (like the Apostle Paul) I want to say that I have "fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

This week's devotion is in honor of Clennon Lewis who passed away this past week. I have written often about his son and his grandsons. He "fought the good fight" in service to his country, his family, and our Lord!

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