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What it Takes to Be a Champion

Why do people fail to reach their dreams?

A local marquee carried the words: “When we know better, we do better.”

I don’t think so! Knowing provides the opportunity to do better, but something more is required. Is it because they don’t know how that people fail to lose weight? It’s not because they can’t add and subtract that some are broke and overdrawn. It’s not because they can’t read that some never learn anything new after graduation. Marriages crumble, not because couples are clueless how to treat each other.

Our problem is not that we don’t know better; we just often don’t do better. Even the apostle Paul wrote, “what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19). Like all of us, Paul knew better than he did.

Peter addressed the same problem. If we want to enjoy “everything we need for life and godliness,” we certainly need knowledge. But we must also add “to knowledge, self-control” (2 Peter 1:6).

Self-control is the athlete of our ambitions. It’s self-control who runs the play. He takes the plan drawn up by the coach, ignores the pain and strain, and puts it into play. The knowledge - the plan - is essential, but so is the execution – the self-control.

Self-control is the ability to resist TV or Facebook to get important work done. Self-control is the strength to rise 10 minutes earlier in the morning to read and pray instead of sleeping longer in that warm, comfortable bed. Self-control ignores “I don’t like to read” to do it anyway.

We all know better than we do. We have the dreams. We know the ideal. What we need is self-control to reach the goal.

How do we get it? Just like the athlete who runs the coach’s play, we must practice. We must exercise self-control with small habits and work our way up. Jesus taught that he who is “faithful with a few things” will be put “in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:21)

The famous heavyweight boxer Mohammed Ali once said, “I hated every minute of the training.” But he trained for hours a day. He told himself, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

That’s self-control! Let’s add some of that to our lives so we can live as champions.


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