Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Superstars

When I was in little league baseball as a child, there were certain kids who were far and away the best players in the league. Usually, they were bigger, stronger and faster than the vast majority of the rest of us. It was easy to look up to these players, and to envy their prowess. But something funny happened. By the time I was Captain of the Varsity team in High School, playing American Legion ball (a step up from Varsity) and being recruited by colleges, none of those guys were around anymore. Many of them didn’t play, and those that did were simply ordinary.

What happened was that, while they had physically developed a little faster and gained an edge, the rest of us caught up. They didn’t have to work hard to succeed as kids, it came naturally because of their advantage. The rest of us had to work hard to find ways to compete with them. By the time we caught up physically, we now had more tools in our repertoire to go along with the physical abilities. They didn’t develop those tricks and tactics, so they no longer held any advantage.

I read a book called Seal Team Six a while back that talked about this issue. The guy who wrote the book mentions the fact that many of the All American football players who enter training drop out the fastest. They’re not used to having a situation where their superior physical talent can’t get them through. But the guys who are used to having to scrap and fight to keep up have what it really takes: a never say die attitude.

I like to run adventure races like the Tough Mudder. The only way you finish a race like that is to have the attitude of “Screw this race, I’m gonna finish if it kills me.” I know they’re going to throw really tough obstacles at me over and over and over again. My approach is to get by each one when I come to it, no matter what.

I do these races to find my limits, and then push beyond them. To become something greater than I am.

When you see people who are your same age that seem to have it all together while you’re struggling not to fall apart, don’t get down on yourself. Realize that you’re getting stronger. You’re learning how to handle adversity. You’re gaining wisdom and perspective that will help you in future situations.

There’s no need to be angry at people who seem to have it easy. God knows what is coming toward each of us in this life, and he knows when and how to prepare each of us.

The goal God has given us isn’t to look better than everybody else, to look like we have it all together. The goal is to fight the good fight, to run the good race. To keep the faith, and receive the reward that he will give us when all has been said and done.

Don’t try to be a Spiritual Superstar. Be a Spiritual Tough Mudder.

Salvation: An Ongoing Process

Recently, I read the portion of scripture below: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:9-11 emphasis mine)

We tend to focus on the death of Jesus. He died for our sins. Then we celebrate Easter and shortly after that, he goes directly to heaven. Are we forgetting that Jesus didn’t just die for us, but that he also lived for us?

His sacrifice wiped the slate clean, restored us to zero when we had been at negative one zillion. But the goal isn’t to stay at zero. It’s to start counting up. To build on the second chance, to seize the opportunity.

Accepting Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t the finish line we often treat it as being: “Accept Jesus and you’ll end up in heaven”. It’s a beginning.

When God found you, you were laying in a roadside ditch - crippled and unable to help yourself. He picked you up and healed your legs. The worst thing you can do now is sit back down and wait for the end of your life. It’s time to start using the legs he healed. To go on the journey that he’s been calling you toward all along.

That journey is about restoring this world, not escaping it. To be part of his movement to make all things new. To bring light to the darkness, hope to the despairing, freedom to captives.

If you’ve accepted Jesus death as payment for your sins, then I want to say ‘Congratulations, welcome to the family. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so roll up your sleeves and let’s get busy.’