Change is not a decision. Change is a million little choices.
For the past four seasons, I have served a high school football team as a team chaplain. This past season was a lot of fun as our team finished the year 9-2, and we hosted a state playoff game. We had several players receive regional and state recognition. It was wonderful to see our guys enjoy a high level of success.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
Why we went 1-9
The first season I was with the team, we went 1-9. In that season, almost every game ended with a running clock. A running clock is the mercy rule of football. It means that the referees have decided it is better to help you survive the game than to let you attempt to win it.
A critical point in that season came in the locker room following a drubbing by our rival. They beat us 42-7. We were in the locker room, licking our wounds when one of the assistant coaches spoke up.
In his speech, he called attention to the size of our opponent’s legs. Then he pointed to our legs and to their relative lack of size. He compared our arms to their arms. Then it was our small necks to their thick necks. He compared their broad shoulders to our narrow shoulders. In every single category, it was clear that we were comparatively weak and undersized.
It did not matter how badly we wanted to win a game. Physically, we were incapable.
The aim of our coach’s speech was not to point out how small our guys were but to explain why our opponents were so big. And this is where the lights seemed to come on. He said, “You guys are not getting beat on Friday night; you’re getting beat on Monday morning. You guys aren’t just having a losing season. You lost it in the off-season. If you guys want to win, you can’t make that decision on Friday night. You have to get into the weight room; into training.”
In not so many words, our coach told our team that winning is not a decision. Winning is a million little choices.
Train yourself for godliness
In 1 Tim. 4:7b Paul tells young Pastor Timothy, “Train yourself for godliness.”
The Christian life begins with a decision, but it is lived out with a million little choices.
The Christian faith begins with the decision to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But the Christian life is training for godliness.
If you find yourself frustrated at wanting to make some godly changes, but failing miserably, let me ask you, not about your big decision. I want to know about your daily choices.
Leadership guru John Maxwell said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily.”
So what choices will you make today that will help train you for godliness? Salvation is a decision, but godliness is a training choice.
Brian Branam is the lead pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Chatsworth (www.LibertyBaptistChurch.ws). He is the author of “#TheWalk,” “Lionheart,” and “Pulse.”