Dr. Ed Young - Are You Coachable?
God desires to coach you and coach me. When I was 11 years old, my English teacher took me out of line in church, took me over to one side, asked me about Jesus, said, "Do you believe this"? and I said, "Yes". I became a Christian. I publicly professed my faith. I was baptized. And at that moment, I was reconciled with God. I didn't know what the word "reconciled" meant. I couldn't spell reconciled. But let me show you the scripture that backed up what happened when I signed up to be on the team of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things passed away; behold, new things have come". Verse 18, "Now all these things are from God who," there's our word, "reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us then the ministry of reconciliation". What does it mean to be reconciled? It means to change, to make things right. When our check stubs do not match what the bank says we have, there must be some reconciliation, right? When there's conflict, there has to be reconciliation, sometimes a mediator. So, that is the first step. We sign up and we say, "I understand Jesus Christ on that cross has made atonement for my sins and your sins, and we are right with God, and God is right with us". That is salvation, that is reconciliation.
First step, we sign up, right? We say, "Christ, I receive you". We sign up. All right, look at the next step. I'm 18 years old, University of Alabama, a freshman. A little after 2 a.m. in the morning, I'm walking, I end up on a big old stump, a big old tree that just died, and they had a giant stump out there on an athletic field. And so, I sat down on that stump a little after 2 a.m., and I looked in the heavens, and God came close, and I fell on my knees. And I said, "Lord, I give you all that I am and all that I'll ever be". That began a process of formation in my life. In other words, I signed up, Jesus came, he is my coach, now he is coaching me.
That's sanctification, that's formation. Where is the Scripture for that? I didn't know it then, here it is. Romans chapter number 12. My Bible almost always opens to Romans, I don't know why. "Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship". Here it is, "And be not conformed to the world". In other words, prior to signing up to Jesus Christ, you and I were conformed to the world.
Now, we're to be formed to Christ, we're to be formed to his kingdom. He is reshaping us. That's growth and that's maturity. We are being formed. And we have all the ways in which we're being formed, the different modes in which we're being formed. That is the academic mode. We read and study the Bible. We understand this Scripture, we memorize this verse, we study the background of this Word. We see the context of it. And therefore, that is an academic growth, isn't it? Understanding, studying the Bible, some people specialize in that. Others, there is a spiritual mode, that is prayer, that is fasting, that is giving, that is sacrifice. There is a spiritual mode in which we grow. Also, there is a social area in which we grow. We help others, we feed, we clothe, we reach out, we visit, we encourage, a cup of cold water, we give our coat.
So, there is a social area in which we grow. And then there is a character area in which we grow in being formed, do you see it? Our character: love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, patience, goodness, long-suffering, faithfulness, discipline. All these things, this is the character part of our growth. This is all being formed in the image of Christ. And look at the end result. What is our goal? And we'll talk a bit about this more when we score. It says, "Do not be conformed, but be formed to Christ, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that is good and acceptable and perfect".
There is the third word, it's transformation, transformation. We're reconciled, then we're being formed. The coach is forming the life that he has for you and me in us, and then there is this dramatic ending. There is a transformation. What's the transformation? We're developing the mind of Christ. I do that because it's natural, it's built-in. I don't do that because the mind is speaking to me. See, that's our goal, that we will develop the mind of Christ. And in developing that, we end up in the perfect will and plan of God. That's our goal. He didn't just put you together accidentally. "Hey, I've got something just unique for you and your life". And so, that is the process of being transformed, transformed. What's it going to take to get you and me ready to be coached by Christ? What's it going to take?
You see, we can't grow and mature in him, and experience the freedom and the privilege and the joy of life that he wants for all of his sons and daughters, because some of us are, look at it, we are not coachable. "I don't want to be coached. I want to run my own life. I'm just like this and I can't change. My daddy was like this, my goodness," you say. We're not coachable. Be honest about it. Some of us are selectively coachable, we're just selectively, "Well, I'll do this. Lord, you can come in my den and run everything in the den, but there's a closet I don't want you to get into. And there's something under the bed, don't look under the mattress, Lord. That's sort of..."
See, we selectively let him deal with parts of our lives. Then some of us are reluctantly coachable. "Well, I know he should coach me, and I believe all this is true, they're principles of Scripture, but, you know, I'm reluctant. I'm going to hang in there for a while, but I'll bail out if it gets too tough and I think I'm missing something". But some are completely coachable. That's where we've got to get and say, "Lord, here it is. I put it all on the altar. You take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. I surrender all. I want to be completely coachable". Those who reach that posture and follow through on that, all the things and people and situations that are bullying your life will no longer be able to stand. We have to become completely coachable.
Now, we see in the Scripture that, in Matthew chapter 11, how God is calling us, calling people to be on his team. Look at it with me, Matthew 11, very familiar verse, verse 28. First of all, he says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest". That's the invitation. This past Wednesday, last Wednesday was signing day for all high school athletes who would be scholarship athletes in college. They had to decide on where they'd go. How many of you knew that? Lift your hands. Yeah, they signed up. They could talk about going to this school or that school or whatever, but this past Wednesday, they had to sign up and say, "This is where I am going". And they signed up and made that selection of their team. This is what this invitation... Jesus is giving invitation. Everybody, he says, "Come, come unto me. Sign up with me".
Now, most of you who follows football know that Nick Saban, coach of the University of Alabama for many years, for many, many years, has signed up the cream of the crop, right? When they rank, they're one or second the school that has signed the greatest athletes. You know, how does he do that year in, year out? Same school, how does it happen? And there's a thing called the seven deep principles that Saban uses in the University of Alabama. They have people who look at every athlete, and they first of all look at these qualities, they give a character study. Does this young man or this young woman, in other sports would say, "Does this man, young man, have the character, the right stuff, honesty, that we need to be on our team"? They don't want anybody that doesn't have character. And then they study the life of this young man, unknown to him, many times, and see who influences him.
Is it his mother, his dad, his grandparents, a friend, a group, an organization? Who influences this young man? They see how important that is. Who's his influencers? And they check his intelligence. You know, is he smart enough to understand the complexity of a college education? Does he give himself enough when he gets on the line of scrimmage and they make those multiplicity of calls? Ladies and gentlemen, some of you know this, some do not. Being on a, even a high school team, let alone a college team, a professional team, just to know the plays and understand what to do is highly, highly complex. And when they call the plays in the pros, sometimes the names are five or six or seven or eight or nine names, which is telling people what all is going on. And then they all of a sudden, at the line of scrimmage, sometimes change the plays.
The coach is talking to the quarterback in his helmet. Then they have a certain amount of time, the quarterback can change. So, they want to make sure these young men, whatever their position, have intelligence. And they check their personality. This person a leader, or is this person on the team who is a cheerleader? You need both on your athletic teams. So, they look at his personality, introverted, extroverted, how he'll fit in. And they look if he's teachable, his teachability. Somebody say, "I'm going to do it right". Now in high school, a super athlete can pretty well get by on their athleticism. They don't have to listen to coaches, "I'm going to do it my way". But yet in college, it changes. Are they teachable? Do they listen? Do they follow through? Sportsmanship. Somebody's all in it for myself. "Look at me".
It always amazes me when a lineman sacks a quarterback when his team is behind 40 points in the fourth quarter, and he runs around like... I don't understand that. I can't buy into that. They want to know about sportsmanship. That's what Saban looks at. Then dependability. Can you depend on this young man? Would he show up, is he accurate, is he on time? If he says something, would he do it? I had the privilege of going into the A&M locker room a few months back. And when you walk in the door, there's this giant wall there that has the schedule for every athlete there for that week. It's right there in giant letters for them to see. But you see, you can see it, but you have to be dependable.
So, Nick Saban looks at all of these things before he ever talks to the athlete or anybody. He doesn't try to snow them or persuade them. He just looks at all these qualities before he talks to them. And therefore, when Saban says, "I offer you a football scholarship to the University of Alabama," he's saying, "We're going to win the SCC and we're going to be in the national playoffs," year in, year out. And therefore, the kid himself is so honored, and to know that more people are in the National Football League who played for Alabama than any other school, they're ready to sign up. This is how he recruits. God does not recruit anything like that. Did you get that? Thank goodness. He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden".
If he recruited like that, I would never have gotten on his team. You wouldn't either. If you're weary with the old life, if you're heavy-laden with trying to keep rules and follow, if you're just burdened down with life, Jesus says, "Come unto me, sign up and let me be your coach. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I'll take the pressure off your life, and you'll have rest. Come, sign up". It's a part of being coachable. That's the first step, isn't it? Then he says, "Take my yoke upon you, take up my yoke upon you".
You sign and then you take. What does that mean? If you're going to pick up a yoke, a yoke, you know, is something they put around animals. And when that animal has a yoke around them, you can control them. And usually, they're yoked with another animal. They'll take an oxen who's an old, veteran oxen, and yoke that old oxen up with the young oxen, and they'll be trained together. Jesus is saying, in other words, "You sign up on my team and I'm going to be yoked together with you. We'll pull together. I'll be an example, I'll be that kind of coach, I'll come along your side. I'll carry my part of the load".
And I'll tell you, the word in Greek that says Jesus was a carpenter also is the word for a craftsman, a craftsman. And someone said over at his carpentry shop, it said, "My yokes fit well". In other words, there wasn't any rubbing in the neck, there wasn't too much weight, too little weight. They just fit. And we say, "Take my yoke upon you". If we pick up his yoke, if we take on his yoke, we've got to take off something first, don't we? We're yoked together to something. Everybody's yoked. Everybody has an audience, everybody has someone we want to please, everybody has somebody we're playing to, whoever or whatever it might be, a group, an individual. But now we take off that yoke and we put on this yoke. He said, "Take my yoke". In other words, we can't say, "Well, you know, somebody told me that I should live like this.
And I read an opinion in a magazine, I'll do this. And I have a friend". No, no, no, he says, "Take my yoke. Get under my tutelage. Let me be your mentor". And the wonderful thing about Jesus, he doesn't just say, "This is how it ought to be," like a lot of gurus in history. He says, "I'm demonstrating in my life how it ought to be. I'll be yoked together with you". And then we please only him. We're not trying to please anybody else. Somebody says, "Oh, you're trying to please everybody in that church," no. Somebody says, "Well, if you keep doing that, you're not going to be popular and imitate Jesus". I said, "You know, last time I checked, Jesus got crucified".
You see, take my yoke. A father and a son were going to the market, they were leading a donkey. They're walking along, and somebody came up and said, "Look at that father and son, how stupid they are. Why don't one of them ride on that donkey and not walk all the way to town"? So the father said, "Yeah, yeah". So, he got on the donkey, and the son was pulling it. Somebody else came along and said, "Would you look at that? Isn't that something? That guy is riding on that donkey and letting that little boy walk. What a terrible thing". The man got off the donkey, put his son on the donkey, son is riding along. Somebody else came along, he said, "Oh, won't you look at that? That boy's big enough to walk for himself. His daddy ought to be on there".
And so, the boy got off the donkey. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Well, if the father got on, criticize. Son got on, criticize. No one riding the donkey, criticize. So they said, "We'll both get on the donkey". And so, the father and son got on the donkey, and some animal lovers came by. And they said, "Would you look how they're weighing down that pitiful donkey? What a merciless thing to do". And so, both of them got off the donkey, they said, "What are we to do? Anything we do, we're criticized".
So finally, they got it. They took the donkey, put him on his back, tied his front legs together, his back legs together. They got a long, strong pole, and hung that donkey on that pole, the boy carrying one side, the man the other side. And they proceeded to go into the town. Everybody laughed at them. "What in the planet are they doing"? And they got to a bridge, and the donkey had kicked one leg out, and the boy had to drop his end of the pole. The donkey rolled out, his legs were tied together, he fell in the river, and drowned. Don't miss the moral. If you try to please everybody, you won't please anybody. Is that right? That's right.
"Take my yoke". He's your head coach. He's my head coach. He's been there, done that. He will use us. He will instruct us. So, first of all, he says, "Hey, come, come, sign up on my team. And then take my yoke". And then he says what? "Learn of me. Learn of me because I am humble and gentle of heart. And you'll have not only the rest you had when you signed up, but you'll have rest in your soul". Learn. He teaches us. We have to be coachable, have to have those characteristics. He teaches us. He takes us where you are and where I am, and he says, "Man, this is where you can go". And he has a wonderful way of teaching. He moves to the area of where you are, and where I am, and says, "There is where you begin to grow".
There was a teenage girl who was 18 years old. Her dad had long since bailed out on the family. Her mother died and she had four siblings she had to raise. She was 18. She cooked for them, she prepared for them, she got clothing for them on their meager income, she saw they were at school every day, that they had their lunch, that they got home. She saw that all four were dressed and Bible study and church every Sunday. And she worked and worked, and washed, and did everything in that little three or four room area they lived in.
And then there was some pious neighbor, a woman who came over, who was Mrs. Church. And she went over and said, "Dorothy, I notice that all of your brothers and sisters go to church, but you rarely go to church. What are you going to tell God when you come face to face with him"? And she said, "I guess I'll just show him my hands". You see the idea, "I'm a young mother, I have all these children. Oh, I used to have time to pray and to worship". This is a new season. You have time to pray and worship with your children, as you're developing your children.
You know, that's another season for growth, another season where he is training, where we are learning and maturing in Christ, in every season of life. How important that is. And we operate on the basis of our strengths, not on the basis of our weaknesses. Oprah Winfrey cannot read a profit loss sheet, she's not good at math. But what if she'd spent her life, "Well, I'm going to study hard and learn about math," and she could read a balance sheet, and she spent all of her time there on her weakness? She didn't do that.
She went with her strength, creativity and genius, and she's a billionaire. She could have spent her whole time trying to learn how to do all... no, no, no, she went with her strength. And that's what we have to do. A hundred and one corporations recently were given a test, all the employees. And they were asked one question, "Do you spend a lot of every day working in the area of your strength"? Did you get that? "Do you spend a lot or a part of everyday working in the area of your strength"? Eighty plus percent said they did not. Therefore, only 20% a part of every day were able to work where they were strong, where they were gifted, where they were passionate. So, you've got 80% inefficiency.
God would say, "Here's your strength. I want to develop your strength". Sometime, we have to work on our weaknesses, don't misunderstand me, but we need to major on our strengths and let our strength be... that's what a good coach does. He doesn't take a kid that weighs 150 pounds, runs a 4.2-40 and say, "I'm going to make a tackle out of you, son". He sees what his strengths is and he enhances those. That's what Christ does with us. You think he's not as good a coach as any athletic coach? Don't take somebody 5'8, make him a center. You might want to make him a guard. Or somebody 7'3 and say, "We're going to make you a point guard". I mean, you see, God looks at you and looks at me and says, "Hey, this is how you're going to learn".
You sign up, come, and then you take up that yoke and get yoked with him. He's training us. This is the formation part. And then finally, there is transformation as he begins to take your strengths and my strengths, and maximize them for him, and for you, and for your life. We are being coached up. And a little part of that Scripture I read, I'm sure you missed it. I missed it several times. It says, "We are transformed so we can be in the business of transforming others," paraphrase. Folks, why are we coached up? We are coached by Christ. We let the Holy Spirit grow as we're trying to develop, and he is developing in us the mind of Christ. Then we are to be in the coaching business. You're coached, I'm coached, we're to coach others. Somebody mentors me, somebody mentors you, we're to mentor others. A coach is always coaching in every walk of life when Jesus Christ is the head coach.