Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Next Level

"If you want to take your game to the next level you..." Words I've heard a few times this past week. My girls have attended a couple different basketball camps and there seems to be a common thread. The focus has been on shooting and the message has been consistent. If athletes want to improve, they have to work.

This is pretty much common knowledge, so the piece that caught my attention takes things a bit further. If a basketball player truly wants their shooting percentage to improve they don't just need repetition, they must rep it right. If their form is off, it doesn't matter how much they practice improvement will be minimal. If growth is their goal, change must take place.

It didn't matter if the coach was addressing elementary players or those in college, the mentor knew improvement was possible for all. The experienced coach also knew it would require time, effort and humility. I heard the Iowa State Women's coach say, "We can tell you and show you, but unless you're willing to change and work, it won't make a difference."

All the athletes who attended these camps did so looking to get better and they left knowing what it will take to get to the next level. Knowing this precedes doing it, but it doesn't guarantee it.

So my friend, you may be wondering what this has to do with you. Chances are, like me, your playing days are over, but that's OK, there's still a message here for you and me. This "Next Level" idea has really been on my heart and God seemed to alter the lesson just a bit.

Think about this - "If you want to take your faith to the next level..." Do you ever feel that way? Do you long for more when it comes to walking with Christ? Are you content with where you're at?

I don't know about you, but I think it's a good thing to consider. My daughters have been challenged by attending these camps and encouraged to get better. That's good for an athlete, but even more important for us as believers.

Now, I know it's God who is at work in me. Philippians 2:13 says, "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." But I also believe, He expects me to act. Similar to how a coach can instruct an athlete, God does the same for us. He provides wisdom and direction fully expecting us to trust and obey.

One of the shooting instructors statements is, "I'm not here to change your shot, I'm here to improve it." Do you want to take your faith to the next level? What improvements can you make? Could you pray more? Study the Bible better? Read it more? Memorize Scripture?

This same instructor knows each individual athlete needs to make a unique adjustment to their form and friend the same is true for you and me. Our relationship with Christ is personal, so in order for us to get to the next level, the improvements will be different. I hope and pray you are encouraged to think about this. Don't be content with complacency. Just like I know every athlete can improve, I believe our spiritual lives can do the same!