Michael Jordan was scrapped from the High School Team and at 5’11″ was deemed too short to play at that level and was told to lack skills. But he never gave up.
I’ve missed over 9000 shots in my career, I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game’s winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over & over & over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.Michael Jordan
Living on the principle of “I can accept failure but I cannot accept not trying,” Jordan scripted one of the best failure to success stories as he went on to become the best player in the history of the sport.
Those who play sports know that you don’t just show up and play with no goal, preparation, or determination. The same goes for our faith. We need to have a goal, preparation and determination.
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.1 Peter 1:8,9
“Goal” is used as a descriptor of a score in many sports such as soccer, hockey, football and basketball. But today let us consider the greatest goal, “the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.
Notice Peter says, “You are receiving” (not “you have received” or “you will receive”) “the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls“. We believe this is a vital ongoing truth in the believer’s faith life. While living, these fellow believers were receiving this goal. At their deaths they received it fully. The process is true for us today, fellow believer. Hold tight, for the best is yet to come!
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”1 Peter 3:15,16
You may remember the story of the ant that spent the summer preparing for the winter by storing up food. The grasshopper, however, used the summertime to play his fiddle and dance the days away. The grasshopper came to an unhappy end, while the ant enjoyed the winter, happy and warm.
Some of us take the idea of preparedness very seriously, while others seem to get along fine with less preparation. We often find ourselves in situations for which we are totally unprepared, but our dependence on our God who will never leave us, in a sense, prepares us to live again.
We read from scripture the necessity of allowing the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit to prepare our lives for a different kind of living than the world embraces. We see our need to change the way we live, the need for forgiveness, and the need for a relationship with Jesus.
Are we keeping our spiritual life up-to-date with the continual teaching and preparation of the Holy Spirit? When we meet someone, who needs to hear our story and the “Jesus story,” are we prepared to tell it? Do we have a personal story?
Let us make sure we are prepared not only to meet Jesus one day face to face, but that we are ready to meet Jesus in the faces of those in our path each day.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”2 Timothy 4:7
Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God’s goals based on the truths of God’s Word, regardless of the resistance that may be encountered. It is the ability to set ourselves toward Godly pursuits, and not allow ourselves to be distracted or discouraged.
So what is God’s goals for my life? What is my purpose? You have a unique purpose. God created you with several parts. Like a pie with separate pieces, each part is critical to who you are; and all of these parts must be considered when you set goals. Our ultimate goal is to share the Gospel and make disciples!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:10-20
Because we are in Christ, Christians have a very real enemy in Satan. Just as Roman soldiers wear armor, so should Christians. But our armor is not something we “put on” once a day; it’s something we live out. All of the behaviors associated with following Jesus are the very things that protect us from the attacks of our enemy, the devil.
And notice how in Ephesians there is no armor for your back. It’s all for your front. We have to be on guard FACING our opponent to be protected. Pretending there is no battle and turning around just leaves us exposed.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”1 Peter 5:8-9
We are in a cosmic spiritual battle. We know Jesus already won the battle, but we must play it out. We must be ready, on guard and trusting in Jesus.
Don’t ignore the bad things coming at you. Stand firm with the full armor of God.