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Be successful

Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out. 
(Robert Collier)

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (Ephesians 6:10-11)

Many of us go through the same routine day after day, without thought as to why or how we do whatever it is we do within those routines. Do you honestly think through the steps of brushing your teeth, combing your hair, or even putting on your clothing? Do you just head to the coffee pot not really thinking through the 'desire' for that first cup? If you are heading to work today, do you actually think about each twist and turn in the road, or do you kind of drive out of 'habit', already knowing the route you will take? There are routines we don't need to mess with because they accomplish the desired results - our teeth are clean, we are clothed and caffeinated for the day, and we make it to our destination without problems. There are some 'routines' we are called to build into our lives, but they DO require some consistent focus from us - the routines of putting on the full armor of Christ, taking up every weapon he gives for our defense, so we can stand strong against whatever the devil WILL throw our way today. It is the small efforts we repeat that move us toward consistency - what most of us refer to as 'success' in life!

Collier also reminds us: "In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time." We won't always do a great job of 'keeping up' these routines, wavering on occasion because some distraction comes our way, and we find ourselves totally side-tracked. We will encounter attacks from our enemy, unthinkingly respond to them, and fail miserably in our response. In that failure, we can take away a lesson for how to be best prepared for his attacks, or we can miss the lesson in the failure - it depends on our focus. In the winning of the battle, there are lessons, too. We sometimes don't realize those lessons as easily as we do the ones from our failures. Why is that? We relish the 'success' so much, we forget to ask God how it was we actually 'succeeded'. We 'got through' unscathed and we forget to understand the specific 'weapon' or 'armor' that kept us safe through that enemy's attack.

We always want to know how to win the battle the next time whenever there is a failure to win it now, but we don't always look to understand and appreciate how it is we withstood the attack so well today. I want us to consider the last time we faced some temptation to say something we shouldn't say actually didn't say it. Did that happen by accident, or was there some preparation of our hearts and minds to recognize when the words would be best left unsaid? I daresay there was a whole lot of prep work ahead of that victory, my friends, for our words are one of the hardest things for us to control! What prep work occurred? Perhaps God had been exposing you to thoughts from his Word in your study time that recounted the reminders to not engage in gossip, speak only what is helpful, and refrain from critical judgments. You were being 'readied' for the battle - although you may not have recognized it at the time. The 'success' we experience today may be the result of positively recognizing what goes into our past success - not just our past failures. Just sayin!

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