The Secret Secret to Success in the Christian Life

Floyd Patterson, nicknamed the Gentleman of Boxing, was the youngest man to ever win the American Heavyweight Boxing Championship. In a recent interview with boxing historian, Bert Sugar, Patterson was reminded by Mr. Sugar that he had been knocked down more than any other boxer in history. The great boxer humbly replied, “Yes, but I got up more times than anyone.”

He didn’t win the championship by not falling down; he won the championship by getting up.

And so it is for the Christian. The single secret to succeeding in the Christian walk is to keep getting up. Solomon understood this point, and articulated it with typical accuracy in Proverbs 24:16, “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

— an excerpt from David Asscherick’s sermon, The Secret Secret to Success in the Christian Life —-

Unrealized Potential.

Max DePree writes that unrealized potential is a sin—a very serious sin. It is the tragedy of the unopened gift, and the impoverished receiver. I bumped into a friend as I revised for a mid-term this week and we started talking about school work etc etc. The subject turned to notes, and she told me that some children learn better with certain colours.

Some stumble over reading words on white paper, but become wordsmiths when the paper is red, or blue or green. She then pulled out her notes for her classes. I was amazed! It looked similar to this picture >>>> but on red paper (red is her colour of choice.) She said that is the way she learns and retains information.

I think it is important that make time to explore how we think, how we learn, and how we process information. Many brilliant kids are suffering because they don’t see the world in black and white but vivid technicolour rainbows.

The problem is as adults we are trained to swat like a buzzing fly, the parts of us that don’t fit the prefabricated mould of societal expectation.

For sure that is not always a negative thing, but what about the iridescent frescos that flash through our minds on occasion. What do we do with them? What gifting and potential do we have that has been tied, gagged, and straight jacketed for the sake of endorsement?

I thank God every time my eyes are opened to area’s of my life where that is the case, and I make a point to live my life in technicolor not black and white. Concerning your latent and unrealised potential, I will give the final word to Albert Schweitzer

“The tragedy of man is not that man dies, but what dies within man while he is alive.”

Transmuted Anger

She sat crossed arm, pouting and petulant. Her face furrowed, and her rosy lips thinned as she huffed and puffed her frustration. The

object of her desire had been denied her and she was livid. She scooted her little form 180 degrees so that her back was facing her antagonist. She had just turned four years old that day, and in all the wisdom of her 48 months she knew that she was mad, and that mum was the cause! Like most four-year old girls she quickly moved past her anger, and a few moments later she was on her mother’s lap finishing their craft activity together.

Even as adults we all go through days like that don’t we? Unlike Hannah we don’t go back to our source of heavenly comfort as quickly. Instead we fuel our life with anger. Untamed anger can of course carbon vesuvian proportions of energy, but it is temporary, and usually very destructive.

Mahatma Gandhi during his stout-hearted struggle against the British for Indian Independence made the following statement:

“I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world.” (Young India journal, September 1920.)

His statement espouses principles we would all do well to emulate. Lets shine brightly with transforming influence rather than burning up with destructive anger. Lets move from heat to light.

Matt 5:16 (ESV)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Ill adjusted

…..And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Roms 12:2

This text in Romans many times is followed by a volley of do’s and don’ts. I read this text today( yes I understand the historical context and audience) and my mind was taken on a different tangent. Paul is writing a message of progression over stagnation. His audience is not pagans but Christians.

Luther comments on this passage and says that is a movement from good to betterIt is a call to never be satisfied with where we are as Christians.

I think one way that comes out in living relevant and deeply Christian lives is how we deal with ill. I don’t mean blowing your nose, but I mean ill thoughts, ideas, practices. How about this one for size – I am black and you are white, we can work together in the same office because society is desegregated but we will go to church in segregated conferences and churches. If we are well-adjusted to ill-fitting beliefs that permeate societal thinking we are in trouble. The problem is doubly compounded when it is within our own gates.

To quote Luther on Romans 12:2 again :

“As soon as you do not desire to become better, then you have ceased to be good.”  It does not help a tree to have green leaves and flowers if it does not bear fruit besides its flowers. For this reason many perish in their flowering.

I have been thinking and praying about the startlingly well-adjusted attitude that we have to this ill-fitting belief of separate but equal. Mine was not active promotion of the belief, I was convicted I was stagnating which according to Luther is tantamount to progression. I want to pick up my hammer and help bring down this wall, a shard, a chip or chunk at a time.

My friend puts it this way “we go to separate churches in the same town, and say – peace, ill see you in heaven”. Is my friend off his rocker? I don’t think so, in fact I whole heartily agree with his commentary on this ill.

How do we as a body deal with this difficult issue of racial segregation within our own walls? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I welcome your contributions!