The Crisis Moment
A younger me sat in the back of the golf cart dejected after a rough round and week. I was at a major shooting tournament of the year where I had anything but a successful time. For the first time ever, I had failed to place in the High Over All which gives awards to individual competitors based on the scores over the entire week’s events taken together. The week was filled with bad round, after bad round. Finally, in one of the last two championship events, I broke a solid score on the opening fifty targets and felt like I could close it out strong. It didn’t happen, and my frustrations were beginning to get the better of me . . . which led to a valuable experience that impacted my life.
At that time, my parents decided to wheel me off to the background and use this as a chance to teach me, hence why I was in the golf cart. I was not boilingly mad filled with outrageous outbursts, but my attitude was not quite where it should be either. They told me to take control of my attitude, lighten up, and focus on my heart. No participation trophies, no blaming external circumstances, and no dismissing excuses for an attitude that needed to be adjusted. Let’s be honest, a lot of parents would have simply sluffed off a bad performance and a bad attitude from a kid in his teenage years blaming it on who knows what all. I was blessed with a family who looked me in the eye being concerned not about my performance but my heart. The responsibility all lay at my feet where it should have, both in terms of the poor shooting and everything else. Were there events with bad weather? Yes! Did the staff set some of the targets at a sub-par level? They did! However, other shooters were able to adjust without issues which showed the sum total of the problem was one person . . . me.
That moment in the back of the golf cart led to me taking two actions. First of all, by God’s grace, I learned as a very young man the futility of frustration. I was never a hothead, or an angry person, but even though I had not let my frustration boil at others I had allowed it to impact the space between my ears! Almost ironically, my family earlier this year (2022) was commenting on the fact I am a very calm and composed individual. Historically, I am not someone who gets rattled very often, but this period taught me the importance of taking control of my attitude at all times instead of allowing it to control me. Such is purely God’s grace acting in a soul. However, there was another action I took and it was to come home and day-by-day rebuild myself as a shooter. Increasingly, I realized if I was going to shoot at the level I wanted to then I would need to correct all of the foundational errors in my game through a grinding process. It happened, and later that year I won a few major championships and even placed alongside my teammates in the world championships. The lesson of this post is not if you take personal responsibility everything will go smoothly from that point, it certainly did not with me. Rather, the take-home point is a biblical one and it is that we are called to not only spot a problem but get our skin in the game and work at it. Christ told the “dead church” at Thyatira:
“Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” -Revelation 3:2
Notice the church is not simply called upon to see the issues going on and talk about them. They are to be active and work to strengthen that which is left by the power of God. It is imperative for them to labor hard in this endeavor. If I would have simply seen the changes which needed to be made in my personal character and shooting, but never actually worked at it, then I would have been left in the same spot. My awareness of the issue would be present, but so would the problem. It strikes me that many of us today as conservative Christians are good at seeing issues. We know our government needs to be fixed. Our culture around us is crumbling and we see it. That area in our family life is a major issue and someone needs to deal with it. Perhaps we can even see glaring issues in our own character. However, I am afraid that many of us never take personal responsibility to step up to the plate and work at the process of strengthening.
Getting To Work
I am writing this post today as something of a challenge for both myself and those who read it. Certainly, it is right for us to see problems and be aware that they exist. No doubt, part of the command of Christ to Wake up is the ability to understand there are issues going on that need our immediate attention. However, what we need to learn as individuals is to move beyond that first step. Let me ask you this, dear reader, what needs to be worked on in your personal life? Maybe you need to take more responsibility to be a good steward and manage your time better. Perhaps it is a sin like anger, impatience, or lust which needs to be killed. Then again, it could be you have been omitting something like showing love to your family or giving as you should. Whatever the case, identify that point and go after actually changing it. Meditate upon what the truth of God’s Word says on that issue, pray about it, and then seek to change it by the power of the Spirit of God.
Allow me to ask another question, how can you be more involved in the life of your local church? Where can you step in as a volunteer to help? Are there ministries which you can talk to your pastor about initiating because no one else has stepped up to the plate? Which homebound members need someone to call them and pray for them this week? You get the idea, spot the area, read the Bible, pray about it, then get to work. Same thing for your family, your local community, and everything else. What if every single person took the simple steps of seeing what needs to be done and then took the personal responsibility to get to work at doing it? I accept the challenge. Each month, I am going to buy someone’s meal or get them coffee as a way to bless them in my local circles and have a good conversation. My goal is to continue constantly bringing myself in front of the Word to see what needs to be changed in my life. I am going to recommit my efforts to being involved in contacting local government civil officials to be a voice of biblical truth in their ears. It is time I renewed again the habit of taking some Gospel tracts with me and leaving them at places. I am going to keep on contacting people in the local church throughout the week. That is a good start, many of these things I am already doing, some of them I simply need to do better, and others I shall have to start anew in my life. Whatever the case, refocusing shall bear fruit. Do you accept the challenge of taking personal responsibility? Shoot me your goals in the comments so it can be an encouragement to everyone!