1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Back in the 80s, two of our sons, Jamie and Andrew, were very interested in gymnastics. Both joined a gymnastics club in NE Ohio. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed their teams very much but there was a significant problem – in competition their respective teams didn’t do well because none of the individual gymnasts did well. From year to year, when they passed from one age grouping to another, they still all did poorly. The competing clubs whose gymnasts consistently did great, continued to excel as those gymnasts moved from age bracket to age bracket.
In talking to judges, one comment stood out: When in doubt, form wins out. Unfortunately, the boys’ coach was committed to them doing difficult moves in their routines but he didn’t emphasize form – therefore their scores were poor. Competitors doing simpler routines with great form were consistently beating them. We listened to the judges and changed clubs.
Their new coach emphasized form. When they did simple things well, they moved to greater difficulty, but the issue was always excellence. Both boys were very talented and motivated – but now their energies and efforts were properly focused and directed. The results were amazing!
They switched to the new club in the summer of 1989. That previous spring Andrew had finished 70th out of 73 in the state meet as an 8 year old. Jamie was middle of the pack as a 15 year old. The following spring in 1990, after one year at the new club, both boys were state champions! The issue wasn’t how hard they worked or how much they cared or wanted it. It was that they were now doing the things “required by” the results they sought after.
The same truth applies to our pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Wanting these things isn’t enough. We must do the things required by ‘these results’ in order to get them. God’s word tells us how we are to live – so that as we pursue these things, we experience excellence, not mediocrity.