I came into the living room where Shawn was sitting and plopped down on the couch in just enough time to see the last few exciting minutes of a women’s college basketball game during March Madness this year.
The University of Connecticut had just won the game, continuing their streak to well over 100 consecutive wins, and afterward a reporter was on hand to ask Coach Geno Auriemma the typical questions. This was one of them:
“What did your team do differently in preparing for this game in the finals?”
His answer is one I won’t forget.
“You practice every day like it’s the most important practice, and you play every game – no matter who you are playing, no matter where, no matter what time – like it’s the most important game. When the most important game comes up, you don’t have to change anything. You show up and you play the way you have the other 35 games.”
A great philosophy for basketball and a great philosophy for life.
It reminded me of Daniel.
In Daniel chapter 1, it starts off with the Israelites going through a time of correction, where God allowed them to be captured by other nations to let them realize how desperately they need Him. King Nebuchadnezzar snatched up Daniel and his friends first and sent them to his kingdom in Babylon.
There they would undergo some serious preparation – including getting their names changed, starting a new diet, learning a new language and literature, and going through three years of overall training.
The diet was something Daniel was not on board with. The food and wine they would be given went against the Jewish customs and laws given by God. And in verse 8, we see what he did.
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”
Daniel resolved. Daniel “decided firmly.” Long before he ever had to face a pit of lions, or help run a kingdom, or interpret dreams and relay visions, Daniel resolved to honor God. He resolved to be obedient.
If I resolve to believe in God, then it will be easier to dismiss those times of doubt when things get prickly and I am momentarily questioning everything, because I have already decided Whom I have believed in.
If I resolve now that I will be consistent with my moments with God, through prayer and reading my Bible, I will no longer use excuses about not finding the time.
If I resolve to be obedient to God no matter what – regardless of fear or the opinions of others – I don’t have to question whether I am going to follow through with what I feel Him calling me to do.
If I resolve early on how I live and what lines I will not cross, I won’t feel pressure when the pressure is on. This can be in relationships, friendships, how I treat my body, the things I will and will not watch or look at, etc.
If I resolve to treat others with love and compassion and kindness, no matter what, I won’t have to decide my reactions when the tension is high.
Pray about it. Ask God what He wants you to resolve to do today. It will be much better to do it now, than to wait until you’re facing a pit of lions tomorrow.