So far this Bible Study and Blog Session has been a tremendous blessing to myself and others that I have had an opportunity to share with. I believe this was a perspective changer in many ways and it really causes us to take a look at how our goals and desires lines up with God's will for our lives. If you have not already, I would encourage you to check out the Good Success vs Success blog post and check out what we talked about last time out.
Today, I want to talk to you about Practice. Yea, we're talking about practice. Two things automatically come to mind; the famous Allen Iverson meme and the saying we heard all our life, that practice makes perfect. I agree that practice brings about a certain level of perfection but I would also like to add to our childhood quote that practice brings about success. The practice that I will be talking about however, is an acronym for 8 principles of Good Success from God's word. So lets get rolling team! Everyone on the baseline time to run. I hope you stretched.
P - Practice Praying and Practice Patience: As an athlete one of the most essential components to having success is great coaching. When we think about coaching we think about someone standing on the sidelines shouting instructions to the top of their lungs, running our legs tired. Maybe that's just me! In reality, no matter which sport or discipline you compete in the first thing you would have to do to reach the next level is submit yourself to someone else's authority, critique, criticism. One of my mentors once told me "the team who wins the game is usually the team that did the most of what the coach said." When it comes to practicing prayer and patience the same can be said. God is the ultimate coach and He has the winning plan and plays already drawn up. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that our coach's ways our above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts. One of the hardest things sometimes is trusting the coach because we can not really see the big picture of how the things they tell us will cause us to win or play out in a game situation. I have seen so many times in sports that good players would not reach their potential because they failed to listen, communicate and trust the coach. They thought they knew better because they had talent. If we are going to have Good Success we have to stay in communication with our coach so we can improve. Yes the saying goes that practice makes perfect, but James 1:4 tells us that patience makes perfect. God's plan for our Good Success is long term. Just because we do not see manifestation on our time does not mean that plan is failing. The truth is God's plan never fails us, sometimes our patience runs out. As contrary as it may sound it's easy to stray away from the game play especially when we are not winning, but I encourage you today to not let first quarter frustrations cause you fourth quarter victories. Additional Scriptures references: Matthew 7:24, Philippians 4:9
Sometimes the things we do in practice may not seem like they make sense but trust the coach.
R - Read Regularly: Another facet of practice that may not seem that significant at first glance is watching game film. This is where the coaching staff would sit down the team and go over games they played, watch film on upcoming opponents and analyze the data to implement in the future. This, of all the professional practice disciplines, is probably the easiest to fall asleep in. It seems like their is no action, its boring and some of the instruction can become repetitive. Reading the Bible can sometimes feel like that. The truth is that it was not necessarily meant to be a fun filled process but a result based system. That's why it takes discipline and fosters maturity. When we read, amazing things happens to us. We see our flaws and how we can improve. We see that we do not know it all and are in need of a coach. We see the enemy's schemes that he has set up for us to lose and fail. We are able to sharpen our very lives through observation. Joshua 1:8 points out that a major key in Good Success is meditation and observation. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us reading God's word is one of the most profitable things we can do to improve our lives. I look at it similar to working out. We may not see it as fun and take a liking to it at first but as we grow in it, we develop a desire for it.
A- Ask For Wisdom: I've learnt that one of the best things you can do is squeeze everything you can from the teacher. I think sometimes as believers we do not take advantage of everything God really has to offer us. The desire of a teacher is always to see the ultimate success of the student. Their entire being revolves around making others successful. There is no teacher in their right mind that takes joy in giving students failing grades. God is the same way. James 1:5 says "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." As much as we heard the story of Solomon and how he asked for wisdom and was blessed beyond his wildest dreams because of it, we still spend our time asking God for things and situations to work in our favor. The wisest man told us himself " Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:7 The teacher will always be glad to give an extra hand if you ask.
C- Continue in Faith: I wrote a blog post awhile back on continuing in faith. The point of this principle is to remember that when it comes to our walk with God, the only thing we will always have to fight for is our faith. In a game, the lost does not happen when the clock runs off at the cross of the finish line. The lost happens when in the heart of the athlete they believe they have lost. I am amazed of the boxer Floyd Mayweather and how over a 20 year career that he won 50 fights while never losing a fight. To add to the amazement of that he was never even knocked down despite facing some of the best in the sport. When asked about having a perfect record for 50 fights, his response was "he never thought about losing, he never even thought it was possible." This was a wow revelation for me! How many times as believers have we already defeated ourselves in our thoughts or with our mouth? This story reminds me of one scripture, Jude 1:24 "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished in His glorious presence, with great joy." Faith in our coach is so powerful, it can keep us undefeated! As a believer we do not fight FOR victory, we fight FROM victory. Isaiah 26:3 reminds us that if we keep our mind on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace. When faith is not activated, we are only practicing to lose so continue in faith.
No matter what it looks like, continue in faith. Its not over until the clock of life hits zero!
T - Think About Time: When it comes to time, in life there are very few commodities more precious. In the world we live in, often those who makes the most of their time, makes the most out their life. The major difference between rich and poor is really how one decides to spend their time. We can also say the same thing about the spiritually rich and spiritually poor. When it comes to Good Success just like everything else if we put time into practicing God's principles we are bound to not just live an eternal life but also have an abundant life that God has promised us. In Psalms 90:12, David writes "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Every game and competition has a time limit and true champions are those who make the most out of the clock.
I- Integrate Integrity: The dictionary defines integrity as being whole and undivided. When we talk about integrating integrity, that is referring to our lives as being one. That means we uphold the same standard on the field and off the field, on the stage and off the stage, when the cameras roll and when the cameras cut. Integrity is not a popular topic, indeed one of the most valuable principles in Good Success. How many times have we seen pastors, politicians, leaders, star athletes, and musicians who we would never would suspect to do certain things, fall from grace. Yes, I know that we are not perfect but without the integration of integrity we become comfortable in our unrighteous behavior. Integrity is one of the key ingredients to sustaining Good Success. Proverbs 11:3 says " The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." The question to ask your self here is what area of your life do you need to bring into alignment and wholeness? God is not just interested in talented players but also persons of character who He can model Himself through for others.
C- Call A Mentor: When you think about teams and coaches, although most persons would automatically think about a head coach, the coaches themselves are a team. This team is called the coaching staff. Depending on the sport they vary from shooting coaches, defensive coordinators, conditioning coaches, strength trainers, video coordinators and the list goes on. When it comes to that team or athletes success, its always a team effort on and off the floor. Even in sports where there are individual competitors such as some track and field events, boxing, golf, and swimming, these athletes are still surrounded by a team of coaches. I view mentors in the same light. Although God is our head coach and holds the overall directive of our life, He still encourages community and counsel for our Good Success. Proverbs 15:22 says " Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established." My life is where it is today and on the track its on because I submitted myself to five mentors in different areas of life. These men have poured into me, rebuked me for wrong thinking, prayed with my family and I, critiqued and encouraged my plans and the list goes on. I can not imagine where my life would be without the help I have gotten from calling mentors over the years. Assistant coaches are great to get into the detail of a player's game and helping them to perfect their weaknesses and pointing out where they can capitalize on their strengths. They often have specific roles and can teach more specialized functions because of it.
E- Evaluate Everyday: Last and certain not least we have to evaluate daily. One of my good buddies told me that the end of each day he would literally sit on his bed and think about how his day went and how he can improve. What was fascinating was when he said he often would realize that he wasted a lot of time and did a lot of dumb stuff. As he kept up this constant evaluation eventually he continued to improve in increments in areas in his every day life. Just like film, and having the coach point your mistakes and strengths out to you, evaluation gives you a chance to be brutally honest about yourself to yourself. Without evaluation you would not even know if you are actually practicing the principles of Good Success. It's easy to have a passion and desire for something and lose consistency but evaluation forces you to measure your goals.
2 Corinthians 13:5 -Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?
Galatians 6:4 - But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another
In conclusion the moral of the story here is that Good Success like we talked about at the opening of the series is a result of obedience to God's word. His word for your life specifically and His written word. Just like how everyone practices and pursues to obtain success we must also be faithful to gain Good Success.
Thank you, so much for taking the time to read this blog post. We are always looking forward to sharing awesome content with you. This month we will love your support for a movement. You can support by grabbing a Good Success tee and sharing the article online if this has been a blessing to you.
Shaquille " Young Rev" Hanna
An entrepreneur, youth leader, speaker, blogger, and music artist. Young Rev is a media enthusiast resourcing every medium to Change the Culture for the kingdom. Check out his Soundcloud, Instagram, and Facebook page to stay in touch with him.