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Watch Your Mouth! 25 Markers of Spiritual Success

Watch Your Mouth! 25 Markers of Spiritual Success

By David Jeremiah

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With nine Olympic gold medals and three world records, Usain Bolt is widely regarded as the greatest sprinter in history. What was the secret to his success? Hard work. In his own words, “Easy is not an option…. No days off…. Never quit… Be fearless. Talent you have naturally… skill is only developed by hours and hours of work.”

Each of Bolt’s gold-medal races lasted less than 22 seconds, but hours upon hours of rigorous training fueled his victories. At the peak of his training, the champion spent 90 minutes in the gym each day, focusing on core strengthening, weight training, and speed training. It would be tempting to watch recordings of Bolt’s races and assume his speed came naturally—without understanding the hard work that honed his talent.

Sometimes we also look at notable Christians like Billy Graham or John Wycliffe and assume they were naturally good at following Jesus. But it’s not so. They ensured their spiritual success by maintaining discipline. What about you and me? How can we train for long-term success? Consider this list of 25 training techniques.

Sometimes we also look at notable Christians like Billy Graham or John Wycliffe and assume they were naturally good at following Jesus. But it’s not so. They ensured their spiritual success by maintaining discipline. What about you and me? How can we train for long-term success? Consider this list of 25 training techniques.

  1. Love sincerely: 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 John 4:20-21

  2. Hate evil: Isaiah 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

  3. Cling to goodness: Amos 5:14; Philippians 4:8

  4. Commit to kindness: John 13:35; 1 Peter 3:8

  5. Respect others: Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 2:17

  6. Exercise diligence: Colossians 3:23-24; 2 Timothy 2:15

  7. Renew your zeal: Psalm 51:10; Matthew 5:6

  8. Serve the Lord: 1 Samuel 12:20; Hebrews 12:28

  9. Delight in hope: Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:6-9

  10. Overcome adversity: John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

  11. Continue in prayer: Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16

  12. Provide for others: Luke 6:38; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

  13. Demonstrate hospitality: Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:9

  14. Love your enemies: Genesis 50:15, 19-21; Colossians 4:6

  15. Watch your mouth: James 1:26; James 3:10

  16. Sympathize with others: Proverbs 24:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:26; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

  17. Embrace unity: Romans 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:10

  18. Choose humility: Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:5

  19. Abandon pridefulness: Proverbs 3:5, 7; Proverbs 26:12

  20. Resist revenge: Matthew 5:38-39; 1 Thessalonians 5:15

  21. Act honorably: Matthew 12:35; 2 Corinthians 4:2

  22. Seek peace: Romans 14:19; Hebrews 12:14-15

  23. Give up grudges: Leviticus 19:18; Ephesians 4:26-27

  24. Extend grace: Proverbs 25:21-22; Luke 6:35

  25. Stand in the strength of the Lord: Ephesians 6:10-13; Philippians 4:13

TRUST YOUR TEAM

According to Usain Bolt’s website, “Team Bolt” consisted of six members, including agents, managers, a coach, and a masseur. These professionals managed administrative tasks, coordinated publicity, and fine-tuned Bolt’s training schedule for optimal performance. With these details handled, Bolt was able to devote his full attention to the race before him. 

Did you realize Christians have their own support system—beyond friends and family?

Did you realize Christians have their own support system—beyond friends and family? God’s children have a host of coaches and trainers in the heavenly realms—the angels. There is an enormous amount of activity taking place continuously, impacting the way we run our race, which occurs unobserved by human eyes.

Throughout the Bible, God’s holy angels comforted, guided, fed, surrounded, protected, led, and delivered His people through difficult times. And there’s no indication God’s angels ceased their activity at the end of the New Testament. In ways we don’t fully understand, God has assigned angels to minister to His children on earth.

A missionary named Janet Schneidermann labored for more than forty years in Nigeria. She spent many of those years alone as the only expatriate missionary within fifty miles. Much of her ministry was conducted against the backdrop of danger, and on one occasion she was advised to leave for a safer environment.

Meditating on Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them,” she remained. One night, four men came to kill Janet, but they were deterred by a tall man dressed in white with a sword in his hand, guarding the front door. They returned the next night with the same result. The following day, they casually dropped by to see Janet, feigning friendliness. In passing, they asked about her guard.

“I do not have a guard,” she replied. After hearing their description of him, Janet laughed and replied, “Oh him! He must be the angel of the Lord that God promised to send because I fear him.” The men hastily took their exit, and no one ever approached her house again.1

Angels have a great deal to do with the business of this world. All day and all night, they are watching over you—comforting, guiding, sustaining, surrounding, protecting, leading, and delivering you as you run your race.

FIGHT WELL AND FINISH STRONG

“There are better starters than me, but I’m a strong finisher.” –Usain Bolt

“There are better starters than me, but I’m a strong finisher.” –Usain Bolt

In 1896, an American track and field athlete named James Connolly ascended the victor’s podium at the first modern Olympic games. He was the first Olympic champion in 1400 years. Connolly embodied the Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” That’s a good slogan for the Christian life too. The apostle Paul embodied this attitude when he wrote,

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

What does it take to run toward the upward call of God?

Make up your mind to do it. When Connolly was determined to be an Olympian, it cost him a Harvard education, all his savings, and loads of stress and strain. His former dreams were swallowed up in a new one. As Paul wrote in Philippians 3, “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (verse 7).

When we decide to follow Christ, everything else becomes secondary. Some things we give up entirely—sinful lifestyles, unhealthy habits, unholy relationships. Other things we offer to the Lord for His service. As we press toward the goal, we pursue Christ with all our heart.

Stick with the training. The Bible emphasizes exercise in the form of godliness, self-control, righteousness, and leadership. To train our spiritual muscles, we need to study our Bibles on a regular basis, applying its truth to our life. We then make room for Christian disciplines and activities by saying “No” to other opportunities. We wake up early to attend church and make morning devotions a habit. We seek opportunities to serve the Lord, and we memorize Scripture so that we can offer words of encouragement to others from the Word of God.

Don’t give up. The secret to success is perseverance. It has propelled athletes like James Connolly and Usain Bolt to victory, and it will do the same for you.

Do you have something or someone that you are putting before God in your life? Do you struggle to maintain your daily Bible study? Are you feeling defeated in your faith? Don’t give up. With time and determination, you’ll work through to victory.

1Taken from a letter by Terence Hammack, dated August 15, 2010, recounted in Angels: True Stories by Robert J. Morgan.

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