This morning, an OSU wrestler spoke about how every other week a specialist comes in to train the team. The coach identified a weakness that they share and realized that he needs to call in support to make the right improvements. The problem is that of mental toughness – that it’s all too easy for wrestlers to be distracted or intimidated out of the laser-like focus required to endure and win.
Who needs the extra training? The entire team. But, two of the members are going to the Olympics in Rio. That means they are among the best in the world at their sport. Surely, such don’t have problems with mental toughness. Right? Well, guess what? They show up for the training, like everyone else. In fact, they may be all the more eager for it – because their desire for excellence is so great that it bough them a ticket to Brazil this summer.
Most people think that when they make it big that they can take their foot off of the petal. Wrong. The more you earn, the more people want to get it from you. Getting a big title, place, or business just makes you a bigger target. The closer you are to #1, the harder you have to work to defend yourself against those who also want that spot. If they want it more than you do, chances are they’re going to get it.
The most dangerous men on earth aren’t those with big guns, positions, or titles like “president” or “prime minister”. They are men who know who they are in truth and live accordingly. Satan’s greatest fight isn’t against pastors and missionaries, although he dislikes them equally. The fight that he dreads losing is against the man who will accept the role as head of his household and steward of the job that he is given to do under Christ Jesus as his lord. When the “common man” takes his rightful place in the scheme of the universe, Satan, who is already overcome by Jesus, will die of boredom.
As it stands, Satan is dancing gleefully whilst the men of the world are defeated, dejected, and powerless. He is an expert at what he does and has thousands of years of training. He and his large organization are causing a ruckus, causing people the world over to lap up his lies like the proverbial fly to fecal matter. It’s on the news, in the books we read, the movies that we watch, and the conversations that we have every day. “Normal” is the best illusion in his arsenal.
Men, you’ve been trained since birth to think, believe, and act in ways that are foreign to God’s kingdom. Anyone who thinks that he is exempt from deception and temptation is already putty in the palm of the enemy. You need help. A lot of it.
Fortunately, Jesus is constantly providing it. He stands ready at every turn to give strength to the heart that is ready and willing to receive. But our restoration doesn’t happen overnight. There is a lot for us to overcome, including getting walked on by the world, our own pride and ego rearing its head, and that we’re just plain forgetful.
There’s no such thing as arriving in this life. You will never be expert enough to be immune to the tactics of the devil that he was bold enough to use on Jesus. If he thought that there was a chance to tempt him, what are the odds against you?
That’s why we also need training in mental toughness. Because as difficult as it is to become a wrestler for a university like OSU, it is even more difficult to be a kingdom man. To love and lead your family. To bring the will of God to your workplace. To develop the discipline to say “NO” to yourself so that others might receive the gift that God wants to give through you.
Life isn’t about sleeping, eating, working, eating, sleeping, working, and going to church now and then. It’s significance resides in you displaying the image of God in all that you do, all the time. The arena is all of your waking hours, not just the ones that you display at social gatherings.
And to get there, you will have to “gird your loins”. You need to prepare for life like a wrestler for the Olympics.