Attitude. It’s a choice. Your choice. And it takes grit.
Did you know we’re commanded to have the same attitude Jesus Christ, The Lion of Judah, had (Philippians 2:5)?
In part 1, I identified where our crappy, sour, negative attitudes come from and the eternal consequences they can have. Then I stated, to have the same attitude as Christ, we need to repent of our selfishness and pride and “let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23).
As I was preparing for this series, one of Tyler’s wrestling coaches, Tim Hartung, sent out one of his motivational writings. As I read it, I was tickled by how his words perfectly aligned with my outline and with his permission, I get to share some of his thoughts with you. Coach may be talking in light of wrestling, but I believe—wrestling/sports, life, and following Jesus have a lot in common. They all require:
- Being willing to take a strategic risk (T.H.)
- Digging down deep and sucking it up despite the adversity you’re facing (T.H.)
- Being willing to go the distance to achieve victory. How bad do you want it? (T.H.)
- Being smart and strategic in your game plan (T.H.)
All of which falls under the umbrella of attitude.
For those of you unfamiliar with wrestling, when you compete in a match; it’s you, the other guy (or gal), and the mat. No one else is out there except the ref.
Yes, there are people on the sidelines cheering for you, or manically screaming in my case—I is what I are. Your coaches and teammates are also there. But your win or loss depends entirely on you; your nuts, guts, heart, and mind—your attitude. Your opponent might beat you in skill, but “no one that you face [should] beat you because they are tougher MEN-tally than you are.” (T.H.)
I’m a firm believer that you can lose the match and still win if you gave it your all, didn’t give up, and fought like crazy until the end. When you’re mentally tenacious and portray a positive, humble, Christ-like attitude, you win—always.
Because you earn the respect of those around you? Maybe. But in light of eternity that doesn’t matter much, does it?
It’s because when you stand before your Savior, win or lose; you can say: “I wrestled/did my job/studied/shared your Truth/(fill in the blank) my absolute best for You; for Your glory. I offer my efforts to You as a holy sacrifice.” That, my dear, is what makes you a winner; it’s what makes your Savior proud of you.
But if you know you left something out, didn’t give it your best, held something back—you must ask yourself, “why?” and determine if you were serving God, others, or yourself. Then lay that at God’s feet in repentance and dedicate yourself to doing better next time.
“Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
You should walk into every match believing you’re going to win. Trusting in your training and all you’ve learned. I don’t care how long you or your opponent has wrestled or who has more skill. Tenacity, confidence, and a strong mind can out-match a better skilled but a weaker-minded adversary any day.
Also, Be strong and courageous—never allow your opponent to intimidate you and make you shrink. Because once he’s done that, you’ve already lost the battle before it has the chance to begin. And chances are, you’d be the one to come out on top if your attitude and mind was right.
How does this correlate to our Spiritual life, our following Jesus, and going after what He’s given us to do?
It’s been well established—we’re here for a purpose. God appointed us to be here, in this time and place, for His glory and to accomplish His plan. Whether or not you choose to participate in His plan is up to you, but the truth remains—your life matters.
We are here to make a difference. To accomplish what God has called us to do here on earth. Jesus has given each of us who follow Him talents according to our abilities to use and invest in Kingdom work while He is gone (See the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30). And, it’s our responsibility to do it.
However, we have an adversary who will stop at nothing to be sure we don’t invest those talents and introduce others to Jesus. Instead, Satan wants to fill our hearts with fear. Tell us we can’t do it. Try to convince us we aren’t good enough. Strong enough. Talented enough. Enough. Period. He wants to beat us before we even step on the mat.
But our God says we are enough!
And to prove it, He gave us a Spirit of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). This is the same Spirit, with the same power, that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-21)!
Jesus also said, “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). If you’ve followed Jesus for more than a minute, you know where I’m going with this.
When we boldly step on the mat and get into our battle stance, Satan tries every cheap shot in the book to take us down. He throws adversity, illness, backed up septics, injury, anxiety, depression, trauma, tragedy, etc. our way to knock us off our feet, to get us on our back. But through Jesus, we have what it takes to defeat Him. And the adversity he throws our way only makes us stronger.
Beloved, following Jesus, and pursuing His calling on our lives requires a positive attitude; it requires nuts, guts, heart, and mind.
- Grit is unyielding courage in the face of danger (thank you, Webster)
- Being strong and courageous! NOT being dismayed or frightened. God is WITH you! (Joshua, 1:9; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Hebrews 13:5-6))
- Stepping out in faith to follow Jesus where He leads us (Matthew 16:24, John 8:12, Hebrews 11:1, 6)
- Relentless tenacity to accomplish what God gave you to do (Hebrews 12:1-3)
- IF God pursues us with His overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love; chases us down, fights ‘til we’re found; leaves the 99—what excuse do we have for not pursuing His purpose for us with the same persistence, drive, and tenacity? (Reckless Love, Bethel Music)
Heart and Mind
- Ah, roll in these passages. Let them saturate your soul.
- We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4
- Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
- If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5-8
Next time we will talk about being Warriors and examine David’s example of choosing a good attitude, of believing God in the face of adversity.
And at the end of this series, I will share Tyler’s story and how his life, learning how to wrestle, and love for Jesus have become intricately intertwined. And how an attitude adjustment changed him as a young man, as a wrestler, and as a follower of Jesus.
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