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The Discipline Difference

Encounter: Slowly read through Luke 6:43-49 highlighting or underlining the words or phrases that make an impression on you. Ask Holy Spirit to teach you through these words of Jesus and to connect it with your life in relationship with God and others.

In the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, he shares the story of a turnaround in British Cycling that had been in a desperate condition for years. Since 1908, British riders had won just a single Olympic gold medal. Their performance was so bad that a top manufacturer in Europe refused to sell bikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales if other professionals saw the Brits using their gear.

Then the organization hired Dave Brailsford. What made Brailsford different was his relentless commitment to searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything they did. He said, “You break down everything that goes into riding a bike. Then you improve it by one percent and you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

Brailsford and his team made small adjustments in hundreds of different areas. They redesigned the bike seats for more comfort. They rubbed alcohol on the tires for a better grip. The coach had the riders switch to lighter and more aerodynamic indoor racing suits.

As these one percent improvements accumulated, the results came faster than anyone could have imagined. In just five years the British Cycling team dominated the cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. They won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, at the London Olympic Games, the team set nine Olympic records and seven world records.

When we put “Skin in the Game” and begin to invest our lives into the success of God’s purpose in our lives, in His Church at Eden and in this world, God may ask us to make radical changes. But much of the time, God may also ask us to make small but consistent adjustments—one percent changes. These changes transform us from the inside out causing us to live life from a heart that has been made to see, think, feel and act like Jesus.

Like team players set on winning the world series or athletes going for a medal, ordering our lives to become more like Jesus takes practice and disciplines to put into play the vision – more than just praying His kingdom comes, being part of the team that brings it. This is not simply will-power, the spiritual disciplines are practices that enable us to do through training what we cannot do just by trying. Creating spaces and places for God to form you from the inside out.

The playing field is your heart. The question today is, “What am I doing to be formed into Christ’s image? For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words.

Making the adjustments with you,

Pastor Tammy

Reflect: Where is God asking you to make a one percent adjustment? These changes are simple but they are also decisive and long-term with the goal of transforming you into the likeness of Christ and having the heart of God making a difference in the world around you.

Encourage: As you continue to obey the Lord and ask him to change you, these one percent changes can make a huge difference and can actually serve to encourage and motivate you to immerse yourself more in the “disciplines” of the faith. The transformation that occurs in your heart will actually encourage others to join you and put their “skin in the game.”

Gather: In your Life Group or Sunday Study Group share about the vision for Kingdom living you want for your life, the intentionality to which you want or are pursuing that vision and what means you need or are using to live that vision.

Tim Morey in his book, Embodying Our Faith writes, “THE CHURCH SERVES AS THE WORLD’S FIRST TASTE OF THIS KINGDOM AND AS GOD’S INSTRUMENT IN ADVANCING HIS REIGN THROUGHOUT THE EARTH.” Do you know what position God is asking you to take in His Church to see this come to pass?”

Seek out spiritual encouragement from a mentor, pastor or spiritual director to explore where God is working in your life and discover the means to get there.

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