“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed!” –Michael Jordan
This familiar quote offers encouragement to all of us that are facing adversity in our sport, encouraging us to use past failures to find success. Yet this quote also has a great message when dealing with adversity from an eternal perspective.
A few weeks ago I wrote on how adversity causes us to rely on Him (see link above), and I will remind us that all things work together for the good of conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.
Now I will look at adversity from a new angle: “Adversity” as it concerns God’s children has a different name… Discipline.
Look up Hebrews 12:1-11 in your Bible or online. The Word of God tells us to not just push aside the Lord’s discipline and lose heart. But rather, the Lord disciplines those He loves and calls His sons and daughters. In fact, our discipline proves His love for us and confirms our place as true heirs.
I will highlight verse 11:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
The process of sanctification, or being made holy, is a painful process that we go through from the time that we come believers until that day that we are made perfect and stand in His glory. This process that often includes adversity seems anything but pleasant and is often hard to understand. But God’s Word assures us it will produce peace and righteousness for those who are trained by it. The more we endure discipline with this perspective, the more we learn to trust in Him and be obedient to Him.
This quote from Will Wyatt points the need for suffering back to Jesus:
“Our society says that pain is bad and cannot come from a good God. [However] we only have to consider the tremendous pain Christ endured on the Cross to see that God can use pain for good.”
Now read Hebrews 5:7-9:
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and ears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”
Jesus learned obedience through suffering. If Jesus learned this way, how much more, then, do we as His sons and daughter learn obedience through discipline?
Michael Jordan himself acknowledges his failures that have led to his success. Likewise, our adversity when endured as discipline happens that we may share in His holiness. Living every day and playing every game more and more for His glory is what we consider success.