Everyone who has ever stepped into a boxing gym has at least made some sort of attempt at the speedbag. It's supposed to help with hand/eye coordination, but I think it's just to make boxers look cool. As you can imagine, a speedbag makes me think of Jesus.
Here's a video comparison between what we expect to do on it vs what we actually can do.
We experience the same sort of thing in our Christian walk:
-We start out in something expecting it to go over really well, then we find out it's not so easy.
-We compare ourselves to others around us who appear to have it together.
-We lose our focus because we're looking everywhere but where we need to.
Eventually, we get discouraged and walk away. Even if we continue boxing, that speedbag suddenly becomes more of a suggestion on the drill list rather than something for our training. I've seen quite a number of skilled fighters tell me they have no use at all for the speedbag, even Golden Gloves champions have told me that! How many of you have walked away from your calling because it didn't go the way you expected? How many of you were overtaken by discouragement to the point of giving up? Probably quite a few of you. Better yet, how many of you actually achieved success to your initial expectations on the first, second or third try? Not many if any I suspect.
My turning point with the speedbag was when I finally asked the coach to show me how to do it. I had a hard time asking him because I was embarrassed, I figured he was going to bust me for not knowing by then. I mean, I had been going there for quite some time and showed interest in stepping into the ring. The result of my plea for help was very interesting. He walked me over there and told me to start out with just three hits at a time for each hand before switching, that's it! He said that's where I need to start and eventually move up to doing two hits before switching hands. Wow, what a change!
Here's what I looked like just a couple of weeks later.
Ok, so I'm no pro at it, but the overall improvement was night and day. All it took was a frame of reference from someone with wisdom and experience. What can we learn for our Christian walk from this?
-Start out ministry with reasonable expectations. If you start evangelizing, don't expect to upstage Billy Graham.
-Understand that wisdom, skill and experience all come from going through the challenges.
-Don't be embarrassed to seek help no matter where you believe you are in the faith.
-Stay focused! Focus on your ministry's mission, focus on whatever tasks are at hand, and most importantly: Focus on Christ! The second you take your eyes off Christ, you'll stumble.
Lastly, keep working until it's time to finish. As you saw in the 2nd speedbag video, I kept going until the last bell. Likewise we must press on until we're called to be finished. In my gym there's no countdown timer, just the bell. That means everyone has to work not knowing how much longer. Even if it hurts, keep going!
As always, this is Willie Needham reminding you to fight until the bell rings!