Paving the Pathway to Glory

Photo by runneralan2004 - CC BY 2.0

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst professional sports team over the past 20 years is now contending for 1st place in the Major League Baseball Central Division of the National League! The Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has done an amazing job with what seems to be an ever changing group of young athletes. Clint would certainly have my vote for Coach of the Year!

Have you ever wondered why every sports team has a coach? Probably not! It’s readily understood that every team needs coaches to instruct, motivate and organize its players. Having spent all of my life in the sports-rich area around Pittsburgh, I’ve come to clearly see the value of a skilled and effective coaching staff. The players realize the value as well. Many of them long for the constructive input they need to become champions in their sport.

But have you ever wondered why this type of input isn’t welcomed more in other arenas of life?

This summer we’re launching a new Bible study titled The Search for Wisdom. If all goes well, it may be in book form by this time next year. During this week’s study it became quite clear that insecurity can easily become an arch enemy of wisdom.

I define wisdom as the ability to see and live skillfully in such a way that I know and honor God, releasing His blessings for my life, my loved ones and my circumstances.

We all want the benefits of wisdom, but many of us are not teachable because even constructive criticism is often taken as an attack upon who we are. Why is this?

In part we’re conditioned by the massive amounts of cruel and uncaring criticism levied each and every day. From late night monologues to virtually any type of talk radio, our culture is consumed by our efforts to analyze and demean the weaknesses or shortcomings of others. But our problems reach further still!

Every person’s compulsion flows from the desire for personal glory apart from God. This glory is found by reaching for standards of perfection through what we do and how we look. Being less than perfect means that we are inglorious—something we simply cannot stomach. Hounded by the fear of the pain of imperfection, we jump ship from rational thought into the often irrational world of self-preservation. The fruit is not good!

Photo by ChickPhilA - CC BY 2.0

How do athletes tolerate constructive input? A wise athlete realizes that skillful instruction paves the path to glory.

I can’t help but wonder how much more glorious the Church would be if every local church environment embraced the ideal of wise input and discussion. How would our worship teams change? Would our church services captivate more hearts? Would we taste more of God’s glory?

Identity isn’t just another issue for us to navigate. In many ways it is the issue that has influenced human behavior since Adam & Eve ate from the tree.

Personally, I am really trying to swallow my pride so that I might see and live skillfully in such a way that I know and honor God, releasing His blessings for my life, my loved ones and my circumstances.

 How about you?

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