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Brilliant on the Basics: Two

Brilliant on the basic of reducing the competition

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Brilliant on the Basics: Two

Brilliant on the basic of reducing the competition

16 September 2010

The Master Teacher was asked, “What is the greatest commandment of all?” He answered like this, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).'” Based on that teaching, I believe we live life on three dimensions: Upward, our relationship with God; Inward, our relationship with ourselves, and Outward, our relationship with our fellow human beings. I want to focus here on the inward dimension for just a moment. Take a moment to continue reading and discover how to reduce your competition.

Being a chaplain for the athletic teams in a high school for 15 years gave me the opportunity to see how often in a season of competition the self and team esteem hit low periods and how that affected the outcome of the team’s play. When you play football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or any sport, you face different numbers of competitors. That is the way the sport is organized. But, the greater issue I discovered, was that often our players faced a different number of competitors than they imagined.  I asked the basketball team one night, before a game, “How many competitors do you have tonight?”

Their answer was “Five.” Then, I reminded them that they had more than they believed. They thought the answer should be 5. Yet that was not true. The answer was really 10. I told them, “You have to play the opponent’s 5 players and your own five selves as well.” That is because you have to win over your own hang-ups and hindrances to play like winners. It is true in sports and in the game of life.

A good motivator said: “Other people and things can stop you temporarily. You’re the only one who can do it permanently.” My challenge to the team that night was simple: “Let’s decide now to take care of the 5 competitors we face in our own locker room, and cut our opponents in half before we even walk out on the floor to play the game.”

Here’s the way we decided to do that:

– Think positively – Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8 HCSB). In sports and in life the game is many times won or lost between your ears. It is the way you think! Positive thinking produces positive words which lead to positive living. Negative words are a sign of doubt while positive words are a sign of faith. With your faith in God and your mind on positive things you are positioned to win! Positive thinking is based on a faith factor. The psalmist expressed it like this, In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation (Psalm 5:3 NIV). Faith produces expectation!

– Trash the negative – In order to eliminate negative speaking you must eliminate negative thinking. Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind… (Romans 12:2 GNT). Focus on the Lord of your situation and not the load of your situation. Negative words defeat you and others around you as well. Thus, Paul’s exhortation Do  not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph. 4:29 NIV). The secret of trashing the negative from your life is to come to Paul’s understanding, I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:11,13 NIV).

– Take your game to the next level – You will never get to the next level in your personal, spiritual, family, or business life until you decide to evaluate your self-worth based on God’s opinion of you. God was in your beginning (before your physical birth) You know me inside out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d lived one day (Psalm 139:15-16 The Message).

God was in your new beginning For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT). When you make these connections of God with your life, you will be ready to take your game (of life) to the next level.

What did the basketball team do? They did these three things, and they became a better basketball team by the end of the season! You and I can do the same thing in our own lives. We can learn how to cut our competitors in number by applying the teaching of Jesus to love God above all, and then love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In other words, have a healthy self-esteem. Love what God is doing in you! Do not think poorly of yourself. You are after all, the one God created, bought back to Himself from slavery to sin, recreated in Christ, and in whom the Spirit of God is working to cut off the rough edges and make you exactly like Jesus. So take heart, and take that new life of yours, in Christ, and lay it on the altar for God to use as He sees fit today. God will take your life to the next level.

That is positive thinking with a faith twist! If you do that you will reduce your competition!

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