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What is the Secret?

“It’s personal.  You cannot guilt me into doing what you think is the Christian thing to do.  My relationship with Jesus is between God and me.”  Those are the statements that are often expressed by folks that are comfortable with their cultural Christianity. They have a faith that is not sound, not Biblical, and not based on the transforming power of Jesus. Rather, they have a faith that is best described as shallow, loosely tied to anything that is truly Christianity, and no desire to make any changes in their current walk (or lack thereof) with Christ Jesus. The call of Jesus was not and is not now to being comfortable, successful, and living with no commitments that are controversial.  In fact, Jesus upset the “religiously” comfortable and successful Jewish leaders of His day with harsh words like “white-washed sepulchers, hypocrites, and “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.  To His followers, He was likewise very frank.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).

No person that has been able to achieve great things in their journey of life has done so without a singular focus to be the “best” in their field.  Long hours of study, practice, and the applied discipline of personal investment of time…energy…money…and sweat equity were required to rise above the level of mediocrity.  We expect the person that is a “champion” in what they do to tell us in their seminars the secrets of success.  Invariably, it boils down to dedicating oneself wholly and completely to doing one thing so well that you outrun most all of the rest on your way to the top of your field.  May God help us to be that zealous for our Lord Jesus!

When skater Michelle Kwan was 13, the junior skater went behind her coach Frank Carroll’s back, submitted her application for senior competition for the next Olympics, and prepared herself for a spot on the team. Kwan then pleaded with her coach to allow her to compete with skaters older than her, with more savvy, and proper conditioning to peak at the right moment. 

At that time, Carroll was still an unknown coach, Kwan an obscure skater, and the coach was caught in an awkward dilemma of sending the precocious but eager teenager early to senior competition, where maturity is the standard of excellence, and girlishness, play, and braces are frowned upon.

Coach Carroll, worried about, horrified for and protective of his prized student at the same time, set the youngster aside, gazed seriously at his prized student, and told her: “If you want to be a senior, you have to learn what it takes. You have to give up your baby feelings, that I’m sick, or I’m tired.  You have to suffer. ¨

Kwan was delighted with her coach’s consent, took his advice to heart from then on, and spun, jumped and skated her way to unprecedented heights in her skating competitions. (Los Angeles Times 1/4/93).