Think back to your childhood. Remember some of the activities you were involved in, like athletics, band, music or voice lessons, a play, gymnastics, dance, 4-H, or horseback riding. Maybe for you it was an academic team, cheerleading, scouts, or a church youth group or activity.
I remember how much I looked forward to my sports practices and games. As scenarios played out in my head, I would try to forecast what I would do, or what the opponents would do, and imagine the possible outcomes. I would circle dates and times, and as I imagined these events they would fill my mind and push everything else out. I had to be on my deathbed to miss a practice, let alone a game. In fact, I even missed some summer vacations to play more ball.
Part of my full commitment to athletic activities came from my love of sports, but also I showed up because my coach expected me to. He could tell within 3 minutes if I had kept my commitment to practice since last time. In a way, he held me accountable for what I committed to do and was responsible for. But the main reason I showed up was that my teacher gave me the impression that I had the ability to play with greater skill than I believed I could, and he would get me to that level. This is an incredibly powerful tool and it was always quite motivating to me.
What if you could have a daily or hourly appointment with someone who loves you … someone who accepts you just as you are, while seeing in you far more than you see in yourself? What if this ultimate teacher, coach, or parent could relieve your stress, forgive all your transgressions, and eliminate your guilt, insecurity, and especially your world-weariness? In addition, HE could equip you to lead a fulfilled, successful, and abundant life. Wouldn’t you be wildly excited to get to those appointments, practices and games? What could ever hold you back?
If such a place and person did exist, and I hope you know He does, you could be confident that your greatest enemy would not want you going to these appointments, and that he would try to talk you out of it, or hide it from you. Well, God is waiting … for you to come to Him. And your enemy is always trying to get in your way, getting in your head, steering you away from the perfect teacher, or trying to steer you to an impostor coach (or activity) that will lead you astray.
Today, identify one activity that is keeping you from life-giving practice sessions with God. Why do you let them interfere? How are you de-valuing God’s impact in these coaching sessions? Why do you place so much value on the impostor’s coaching? Instead
, allow His love and acceptance, as well as His expectation of who He is helping you to become, to motivate you. Don’t let anything interfere with your sessions, because nothing will give you more than that session with Him. Identify one activity you can shorten to go to a Place and to Someone for all you desire. Find practical ways to begin laying a path to Him. Make dates with Him and then keep those dates. Your decision, choose well.
Dear Perfect Coach and God, I know deep in my heart that spending time with You is the most important and rewarding investment of time I can make … yet, it is also the most difficult part of my daily behavior to master. I pray, Father, that You quiet the evil spirits who work so tirelessly to deceive me with intrusive thoughts and distractions. Help me submit to the Holy Spirit to master my flesh’s impulses and knee-jerk desires. I pray in the name of Your Son and my ultimate teacher, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.