Monday, October 22, 2018
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Connie was in the campus outreach club I ran near her high school. In some ways, she was a typical teenager. In other ways, her life was very different from her peers. Every morning about 5:00 A.M.-while her peers were still sound asleep-Connie was at the local ice skating rink, practicing. And when her friends were all enjoying their summer off, well, she was in Colorado in a rigorous training program for ice skaters. A few years later, my wife and I were in Holland teaching a European youth workers conference. As I was in our bungalow, preparing for the next meeting, I had the TV on in the background, with a telecast of the Winter Olympics going. I wasn't paying much attention because the commentary was in Dutch, and my Dutch isn't what it used to be. But suddenly I heard a name I recognized-Connie's name. I looked up in time to see her on the screen, proudly representing her country in the quest for Olympic glory. You know what? I knew how she got there.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Secret of a Champion."
Most people saw Connie at her pinnacle, as the champion she had become. But I knew the secret that made her a champion. It was a thousand invisible mornings, when no one was watching. A thousand invisible mornings when she paid the daily price of what it takes to become a champion.
You can probably think of some people you've met who you consider to be a spiritual champion. There seems to be this power in their life, this radiance that they give off wherever they go. They live and they speak with this authority. What you're seeing is the result of a thousand invisible mornings when they showed up again to meet with the source of all spiritual power, the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be a champion, too, if you'll pay that daily price of what it takes to become a spiritual champion.
As God's great leader, Joshua, stood at the threshold of the greatest challenges of his life, God told him the simple secret of going for the gold spiritually. It's in Joshua 1:7-8, and it's our word for today from the Word of God. God says, "Be strong and very courageous...Do not let this Book of the Law (that's God's Word, the Bible) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
How can you be guaranteed of winning? By having the Word of God in your mouth all the time. By having the Word of God in your heart all the time. By having the Word of God in your life all the time. Not just verses you know, but truth that you live out every day.
So, if you want to be a spiritual champion, you'll need to make your personal time with Jesus in His Book the singular non-negotiable of your personal schedule. Not something you do if there's time or when you feel like it. No, you show up for training time with Jesus each new day. The purpose of reading His Word is to chew on it (that's meditate) until you're ready to "do everything written" there it says.
My suggestion, which has been tested over many years: start a spiritual journal. Ask God, as the psalmist said, open your eyes "that I may see wonderful things" in Your Book. Then read a few verses, maybe two or three times. Then write two things in your Jesus-journal, "What is God saying here?" Put it in your words, not Bible words, and then "What am I going to do differently today because of what He said?" Connect what God said to something specific in your life that day. And let that light from heaven dominate your heart and your mind all day.
You start doing it for days, which become months of time with God, which in turn become years of sitting at Jesus' feet, being changed and directed by your Lord. And ultimately, you are living a life with that same glow, that same power and authority that you've admired in others. You don't become a champion for God in the spotlight, but in quiet times with Jesus that no one sees but Him. You become a champion for God only one way-by one-on-one time with the one who changes everyday people into spiritual powerhouses. You'll win great victories for your Lord, not because of your talent, not because of your ambition, but because of those thousand invisible mornings spent in His awesome presence.