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Flash35-Accomplish something GREAT!

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Well, I’ve finally been motivated enough to pen my HOF speech so here goes. I’ll start by saying that if this strikes a nerve with you in anyway, go read the book “7 men” by Eric Metaxas.

 

I dipped for twenty years and quit when a good friend, whom had recently quit, simply dared me to quit for 24 hours. That was in April of 2011. I haven’t dipped since. It’s the only great thing I’ve ever done in my life and today I’d like to share what I think it means to be great and how, by striving to achieve greatness, we can beat this terrible addiction.

(1) Some of the greatest men in history have accomplished some of the greatest things by first recognizing that there is a problem.

William Wilberforce for example, a member of the British Parliament recognized that the slave trade and idea of slavery itself was a problem. This was not the popular opinion in the 1800’s by any means and in fact, he stood alone on the matter for most of his life.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a “pure” German, recognized that the Nazi regime was growing in power and understood that his beloved Germany was headed in a very dangerous direction. He too often stood alone on the matter but nevertheless did what he could to prevent his country from the inevitable fate that few saw coming.

 

What will it take for us to recognize a problem and how far will things go before we do? We may have to stand alone and take a difficult position against our friends, family, even our inner addict in order to accomplish something great!

(2) We have to overcome resistance!

 

Wilberforce was a member of the Parliament. He was wealthy, belonged to several exclusive clubs, and was one of the most popular men in Great Britain. His life was spent eating, drinking, and being merry! In his time, it is noted that the Parliament would often vote on matters while heavily intoxicated after long nights of drinking, gambling, and partying. Imagine the demons he fought to overcome this lifestyle. His body told him not to quit drinking and smoking. That little monster in all of us told him to keep womanizing, partying, and gambling. He had to first overcome the resistance in himself to take action!

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a stout Christian and was somewhat sheltered from the Nazi’s for the most part. However, seeing the evil that was being done, he could not sit by and do nothing. Despite the risks, he protected Jews. Despite the threats, he continued to mentor and train Christians. Despite pending death, he sought ways to assassinate Hitler. As a German, Bonhoeffer could have done nothing at all and been fine. Imagine how scared he was, imagine how difficult it was to overcome the desire to feel and be safe, or just go with the flow.

 

What is your resistance? Addiction, stress, laziness, enabling, work, the boss, wife, kids, bad news, good news, alcohol, the desire to be safe, happy, warm, enjoy the party! Resistance has many forms and stops us all from doing many things. We have to overcome resistance in order to accomplish something great!

(3) We must commit ourselves to the point of no return!

 

Wilberforce eventually realized that he had reached this point. He was no longer like the other members of Parliament, he was an odd duck. He couldn’t go back to his old life at this point. He had committed his life to Christ and knew that it would be hypocritical and not God-honoring to turn back. He had to stay the course, he had to fight the resistance, and he had to win. He wrote, I’m paraphrasing, that he could not win this battle, it was simply too big! However, since it was God’s battle to win he believed wholeheartedly that it would indeed be won. After 18 years of commitment the slave trade was abolished by Parliament in 1807, however, it wasn’t until 1833 that slavery was now outlawed in Great Britain. He died 3 days later.

 

Bonhoeffer, a scholar, fled Germany to protect himself and others by going to America to teach. He was out! Safe, employed, and would have most likely lived a long happy life here in the States. Feeling that the cause was greater than himself he returned to Germany 26 days after stepping foot on American soil. He returned to Germany and was ultimately hung for his role in spreading Christianity and assisting in plots to kill Hitler. He was burned amidst the bodies of Jews, the people he tried so hard to save! His commitment cost him his life.

 

At some point, as an addict, we have to commit ourselves to winning the fight! What fight? Well, that’s for us all to decide. For me it is my wife and kids. Not voluntarily killing myself is the greater cause that I choose to fight for. My role in their lives is worthy of the effort, it is worthy of my life. I can’t say exactly when but at some point it just made more sense to remain committed to the cause than to give up on it, regardless of what it cost me. For the record, quitting dip didn’t cost me a damn thing!

 

So there it is, perhaps by striving to be great we can accomplish something even greater than we ever thought! Perhaps, like Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, and hundreds of quit brothers and sisters we can recognize the problem, overcome resistance, and commit to seeing it through at any cost!

God Bless us all.

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