Fresh Hope – 1st October 2018

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me for a game of tennis.  We had played a couple of times before,  but he plays four times a week now. When we started playing, I noticed that his game had changed slightly. He had been working on his form with a coach, but he just didn’t seem comfortable. Anyway, I took advantage of this and won the first set.

During the break, I suggested to him that he should just go back to his old style of play, but what he said then was an eye opener – he said that in order for him to improve his game, he had to persist with the new style of play!  It may not look like he is improving, but he is adjusting to the new style.

That can be what it’s like in our life – people can get around us and see how we are starting to change and adjust in our new found way in Jesus. They want us to revert back to the old you, the you that they liked to hang around with, the old you that would follow their instruction rather than you following the plan of Jesus.

We find this in the book of Acts, chapter 4.

Peter and John, who were going to the temple, came across a lame man, healed him, but then were thrown into jail. We pick this story up in Acts 4:17-18…
But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

How many times in your life will people not want to hear good news, want you to stop talking and do as they say? But like my friend said at the end of the first set, he has to face challenges in order to get better. Jesus is with you, His word will make you strong and the promise on your life will overcome. It’s time to start looking at the people in your life that are wanting to hold you back and cut them out one by one. It will be a challenge, but it will free you to do God’s plan.

The second set then came along, my friend started to find his rhythm, he was now applying what he had learnt, starting to improve his game and was now beating me. He took that second set because he didn’t listen to me, he applied what he had learnt.

We often hear the phrase ‘practise makes perfect’, but that can be so demoralising as we cannot achieve perfection. Practising God’s word and promises will not make us perfect, only Jesus was perfect and then He took on our sins and died for us. What about if we changed that phrase to ‘practise improves performance’? Practising God’s word, reading the Bible, praying, loving on people that are unloved, helping people, encouraging people, increasing your faith. Improve the performance of your life. Don’t strive for perfection, but look and work on improvement.

Then we came to the third set; my friend was now unrecognisable in his game. His serves were wizzing past me and  he was returning everything I played to him, winning comprehensively.

If he had listened to me I would have won, I’d have ruined his confidence. The enemy will do that, he will tell you that you’re no good, he will tell you that you will never get out of bondage from friends and family that bring you down, that you will never beat your addiction, that your finances will never be right, that you will never succeed but as my friend did to me in that third set, he put what his coach had told him into practise, got through the rough times, improved his performance and then was serving aces. God has some ‘third set’ game changers for you.

Hebrews 10-36

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised

‘Persevere’ means ‘to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or no indication of success’.

Proverbs 3 5-6

Trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future

There are promises of God on your life.

Your life will look like this tennis match. 1st set will be where you are starting to change and adapt to a new way of life, where you will have to make some changes that won’t be easy but will set you up for the next set. The 2nd set is where you’ll start to practice to improve your performance in your life, you’ll start winning the small battles, your prayer life will be healthy, you’ll be reading the word of God, you’ll be loving and helping people, then the 3rd set is your game changer – these are your match winning serves, the promises of God on your life where your faith increases and you live a life with a God who is a miracle working God. Jesus is your coach and the promises of God are your racket to smash things away.

Game. Set. Match.

Lee Morgan
A daily devotion for a better way of living.