Gregory Dickow - Champions Don't Settle. So... Don't Settle
No matter what your failures are, no matter what mistakes you've made, God has a plan. No matter how bad you've planned it, no matter how bad other people have planted against you, God has a plan. And no weapon formed against you, Isaiah 54:17 says no weapon formed against you is going to prosper. Why? Because God has a bigger plan than what's against you right now. He's got a bigger plan than your past. He's got a bigger plan than your present. He's got a bigger plan than your plans. He's got a bigger plan than my plans. His plan is to give you hope; to give you a future.
Welcome to another episode of, "Think Like a Champion," a podcast dedicated to helping you win in every way and enjoy every day. Now, one of the ways that we experience joy; one of the ways that we experience celebration and miracles in our lives is through the act of giving. Giving is all about love. Love gives. And the Bible says we're more blessed, we're happier, we have more joy. To enjoy every day we need to, like, step over to the giving side of life.
Now, I want to get into the content in just a moment. But I want to give you an opportunity to pay it forward, so to speak, and to give in a way that helps us get this message out to more people. But giving blesses each of our own lives. Like, my giving brings blessing back into my life. When I give, I believe that God is multiplying my impact to touch more people, reach more people, get more people to discover His true goodness and His love.
And every time we give, we're putting something into Jesus' hands that He can then take and multiply. Every time someone gave Jesus anything, whether they gave Him five loaves, whether they gave him a net to fish with, every time that they gave Jesus something, they always ended up changing lives and ending up with more than what they started with. This is how God does things. Whatever we put in His hands will always multiply. We put time in His hands, He'll give us more time. We put our money in His hands, He'll give us more blessing. We put our future in His hands, we'll have a better future. We put our relationships and family in His hands, we'll have a better family.
Whatever we put in His hands, His hands get involved in it, and it's always better. Let Jesus lay His hands upon your thoughts in your mind today. Let Jesus lay His hands upon your family today. Let Jesus lay His hands upon your money; your finances today, and watch what He will do when you put it in His hands. I want to pray for you and then I want to get into our content today. And you can see several opportunities or ways that you can give as well on, "Think Like a Champion," and in association with Life Changers International Church. Let me pray for you.
Father, thank You for Your beautiful hands; the hands of Jesus, that multiply whatever we put in Your hands that give us peace, give us comfort, encouragement, strength, increase, blessing. We thank You for what we can put in Your hands. We thank You for what we can receive from Your hands. Bless every viewer. Bless every partner. Bless every friend. Bless every family member. Bless every person connected here to this community of champions in Jesus' Name, amen.
Well, you are a champion and we are building a community of champions. So, let's get right into our content and let's think like a champion. Today, my podcast is all about how champions don't settle. Champions don't settle. I want to encourage you, Don't settle for a partial victory. Don't settle for partial growth. Don't settle for partial success. So many people, so many Christians are saved and they're changed on the inside, but their perspective remains the same. They still see the world the same. They still see others the same. They still see themselves the same. We've often settled in with our opinions. We've settled in with our past. We've sort of accepted that this is the way it'll always be. Whatever pain we have, we've accepted that this will be the way that it always will be. And it doesn't have to be that way. When we see things the way God sees them, we'll have true joy, we'll have real confidence. We'll have we'll have peace.
You see, we've been seated with Christ as believers. As a part of the family of God, we have a different seat than how we grew up. Maybe we grew up with less than enough. We grew up with abuse, or we grew up without love, or we grew up lonelier. We grew up discouraged, or we grew up in a family that didn't, you know, couldn't pay their bills. Or we grew up in a family that was always stressed out, or always angry, or always negative. We can change that. You can change that perspective. Because even though that's how you grew up, God wants you to go up. And He wants you to see where He put you. He put you at His table now. You're seated with Christ in heavenly places. And when we see things from this point of view, we're living from a place of victory. We're not living to try to obtain victory. We're living from a place of victory. And we've been talking about the soul of a champion.
And as we talk about how champions don't settle; it all starts with perspective. Your perspective is the way you see something. We can choose how we look at something. We can look at it like life is happening to us, or we can look at it like life is happening for us. You see the subtle difference there; the nuance? Life is happening to me. That means I'm a victim of whatever life brings. Or life is happening for me. I'm expecting life to bring me the blessings. I'm expecting bad things to work out for my good. I'm expecting negative things to turn into positive things. It just one word changed, and my whole outlook on life can change. It's not what happens to me, but it's what happens in me. It's not that life is happening to me. It's that life is happening for me. Someone said we are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
So, we have to realize that how we look at something is really what determines the outcome of our life. And it's amazing how different people can see the same thing and have two completely different reactions. The story is told of two shoe salesman that were sent to Africa over 100 years ago. One sent a telegram home when he got there and he said, "Get me home, because nobody here wears shoes". The other salesman sent a telegram and he said, "Send me all the shoes you can. Nobody here wears shoes". Notice the facts were the same. They both acknowledged that nobody there wore shoes. But one of them saw it as a problem, and one of them saw it as an opportunity. Our perspective is the way we see something.
Now, God wants us to see things the way He sees them. What do you see right now in your life? What are you looking at? What are you focused on? You know, Elijah was a prophet. And the Bible says that he had a servant. And the servant came out of his tent one morning, and he saw that they were surrounded by an enemy army all around. But Elijah saw that the enemy army was surrounded by chariots of fire; angels and chariots of fire. It says when the enemy... We have to, you know, we have to realize that Elijah prayed that his servant's eyes would be opened. When his servant saw all the enemy against him, God didn't give them more armies. God didn't give them more chariots. Elijah simply prayed that the servant would see what Elijah saw. Elijah saw this army of chariots of fire on his side, but his servant only saw the army of the enemies around. God wants to open our eyes to see it from His point of view.
When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they thought, "He's so big we could never kill him". But when David saw Goliath, he thought, "He's so big, I can't possibly miss him". You see? The difference is all about our perspective and what we believe about a situation, not just how the situation looks. It may be bad. It looked bad to both the Israelites and David, but one saw it as an opportunity; one saw it as a problem. You can't miss. I'm here to tell you, you can't miss with God, when you see things God's way. When you realize that your life... God is with you in your life right now. God is with you at all times. He's with you in the good times. He's with you in the bad times. That perspective will bring you joy.
So, but we so often settle for how things look in our lives. And I want to take you to this scripture in the Bible where it says in Mark, chapter eight a miracle happened. And it was really a partial miracle. And in verse 22, it says that Jesus "came to Bethesda; and they brought a blind man to Him, (and asked him) begged Him to touch him". And "He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw (anything). And he looked up and (he) said, 'I see men as (like) trees, walking.'" Now I want you to see that Jesus laid His hands... Jesus spit in this man's eyes, and then laid His hands upon him, and then asked him how he looked or what he saw. And he said, "I see men like trees, walking". Now we could say, "Wow, Jesus, He failed. Jesus gave him half a miracle here. He was blind, but now he sees men like trees walking". But the very next verse says, and so, after Jesus put His hands upon him a second time and made him look up, he was restored and he saw everything clearly.
Now, there's so much here that will help you grow. But my point in this podcast today is that so often we settle for an incomplete life. We settle for a life that is only partially healed. We settle for being saved but not healed; being a part of the family of God, but not enjoying the love of God. Being a part of the church, but not enjoying the fruit of that church, and being able to serve in that church, and being able to experience the joy in that church. By being a part of a family, but never feeling that we belong. Like, that's not complete transformation. Don't settle for a partial transformation. Don't settle for, "This is all I'll ever be. This is all I'll ever have".
The whole point of going to school is to realize that life is progressive. You go from first grade, to second grade, third grade, fourth grade. You don't stop in first grade. If everybody stopped in first grade, nobody would learn how to do anything in life. If everybody stopped in seventh grade, we would be stuck on feeling insecure and feeling inferior, (right?) and feeling rejected, and feeling like we'll always have acne, we'll always have pimples, we'll always have a poor complexion. You can't stop in seventh grade. You can't settle for seventh grade. We got to go on to eighth grade, and the ninth grade, and then high school, and then college. We can't settle.
You see, when you settle for less than what God has for you, you're not going to see things clearly. I find it really interesting that this man, when Jesus laid His hands on him the first time, he didn't see people the way God saw them. He saw men like trees walking. He saw men as things. He saw people as something to consume, something to chop down, something to cut, something to burn as fire, something to build something with. He saw people as objects; as things that he could use. And this is an incomplete view of people. When we only... But when we see people the way God sees them, that's when we truly have got a real transformation in the way we look at people. Boy, and even the way we look at ourselves.
So often, we see ourselves less than. We see ourselves as a piece of wood, rather than ourselves as the carver of the wood. We see ourselves as a piece of wood rather than ourselves as co-creators with God, joint heirs with Jesus, the crown of His creation. We can't settle for a partial transformation. We can't settle for less than the best. I know that so many times we think that God can only bless us financially through our job. And yet, God can bless us through our job. He can bless us through an idea. He can bless us through a business. He can bless us through our giving. He can bless us through witty inventions. He can bless us through having an idea and starting a business. He can bless us through an inheritance. He can bless us through family. There're so many ways that God can bless us. But if we just see that He can only bless us this one way, we'll always be bitter and will be enslaved to that one thing.
Rather than that one thing just being another blessing in our lives; one of many blessings. My job in life is one of many blessings in my life. But it's not the only thing in my life that God uses to bring blessing into my life. It's not the only thing that God uses. God doesn't just use me in church as a pastor. But if I'm on a plane, if I'm in an airport, if I'm at a store, God can use me there too. I'm not limiting God to just use me in a pulpit or in a podcast. God can use us in so many more ways than we think. But we're settling. We're settling for less than the Holy Spirit. We're settling for less than the power of God. We're settling for less than all that God has for us.
And I want to shake us, shake ourselves out of this idea that it's okay to plateau and settle. We shouldn't settle with where we're at in our health. We should keep moving forward. We shouldn't settle in where we're at financially. We should keep believing for more. We should. Because the more you have, the more you can do for others. Blessed to be a blessing, right? So, God has given, created humanity in such a way that we can always stretch, and we can always grow, and we can always expand, and we can always evolve. And I've found that there's so much joy in not having arrived yet. The joy is in the journey. The joy is in the process, the unfolding, the day-by-day knowing that I can make progress today; more progress than I made yesterday. That's what this story speaks to me about.
You see, when this man saw people like trees walking, it means he saw people as less than the way they really were. We see ourselves as less than who God made us to be. And you see, what was happening in this man when Jesus touched him the first time, is his eyes were healed, but his brain wasn't fully healed yet. You see, our eyes send us images. Our eyes take in images, but send these images in impulses to the brain. Then the brain must interpret the images that are sent to the brain by the eyes. You see, the blind man had lost his sight at some point, and because his eyes and his brain were damaged, both his eyes and his brain were damaged. This description, the description he gives us here of his partial healing, is a clinical description of visual agnosia.
And it's a condition in which the eyes work fine, but the brain cannot sort out the jumbled images that the eyes are taking in. It's kind of like a scrambled video transmission on a screen. And what this is telling us, is it's telling the one who's reading this story that would have known and understood the unknown science... They didn't understand the science at the time, but we understand it now, that the eyes and the brain need to be healed. Jesus could have healed both this man's eyes and his brain at the very same time. But He chose to do it over time. He chose to do it in multiple laying on of hands. He chose to do it that way because it shows us that we are all a work in progress. And we should not settle for the first touch of Jesus. But we should seek the second touch, and the third touch, and as many touches as it takes for us to see things clearly.
Now, if I could give you in the last few, in the next few moments how to look at things, how your eyes can be healed; your brain can be healed. Our eyes, most of us, our eyes see things clearly, but our brain doesn't interpret them correctly. So, for example, I will give you like, three or four ways that you can literally look at things differently today. Because the key to life and to growth is having the right perspective. So, the right perspective sees problems as possibilities. You see, our eyes see our problems, but our brain can interpret the problem as, "Oh, I'm cursed," or "This is a possibility. This is an opportunity".
This is a real problem or this is a real opportunity. We see the same thing but how our brain interprets it is what determines our emotions, and whether we're happy, and whether we're sad, and whether we're hopeful, or whether we're negative and pessimistic. We all are seeing, for the most part in this world today, we all see the same things. We just don't see them the same way. And if I can get you over to where you start seeing things as possibilities, seeing your problems as possibilities rather than your problems as your destiny.... If I could help you to see your past as a stepping stone, rather than your past as a millstone tied around your neck, anchoring you to your past the rest of your life... It's just making an adjustment in how we are looking at something, not making an adjustment in what we're looking at.
You know, during World War 2, there was a General, Creighton Abrams was his name, and his men were surrounded by the enemy. And General Abrams looked at his men and declared with total confidence, "Gentlemen," he said, "We are now in a position to attack the enemy in any direction". In other words, General Abrams and his soldiers were surrounded on every side by their enemy. But the way that General Abrams looked at it was, "Gentlemen, we now have an opportunity to attack our enemy from any direction".
You see, it's all a matter of how you look at something. Some of you have heard me share this story that a reward was set on coyotes in Arizona several years ago. So, two teenage boys figured that they might be able to get some coyotes the next day and get some quick cash. So, they set out in the woods camp that night to hunt some coyotes. During the night, they were awakened by a strange sense that they were being watched. As they both slowly sat up, they realized they were surrounded by a huge pack of hungry looking coyotes. The first boys simply whimpered, "Oh no, we're dead". But his buddy had a different perspective and he yelled out optimistically, "Oh no, we're rich". They both saw the same coyotes. But one saw his imminent death, and one saw his imminent wealth. They both saw the same things. It was how they looked at it.
Let's grab the right perspective today. The right perspective sees problems as possibilities. Secondly, the right perspective sees people, not as problems to solve, but as people to enjoy. Boy, if we could get ahold of this one... That we start seeing people, stop seeing people as a problem that we have to solve. Stop seeing your family as a problem you have to solve. Stop seeing your husband or your wife as a problem you have to solve. Stop seeing somebody at work or your boss is a problem you have to solve. Instead, see people as people you can enjoy. We have to all realize we all have someone in our family who's dysfunctional, someone in our family who's nuts; crazy. Sometimes it's you, sometimes it's me. But we all have someone in our family that maybe is a little strange. And we feel awkward. And we feel like we got to fix them.
And I think if we just stop trying to fix everybody and started enjoying our relationships with people right where we're at, we would be way more lighthearted. We would take ourselves less seriously. And we would really enjoy our lives so much better. We all can tell stories about, "I have this. When I grew up, I have this kind of family member. I have this kind of relative, I have this kind of cousin; this kind of uncle, this kind of mother or father". But if we would stop seeing that they're so messed up and we got it all together. But instead, if we would just see people as opportunities to enjoy people, and bless people, and be kind to people, and truly enjoy their awkwardness. Enjoy their quirkiness. I'm not saying if they hurt somebody or mistreat somebody, that's different.
But you understand what I'm saying. How we see people changes everything. Jesus saw Peter through the eyes of his potential. He didn't see Peter through the eyes of Peter's mistakes; Peter's denials, Peter's shortcomings, Peter's failures. Jesus saw Peters through the eyes of his potential. How we look at people... We have to see people no longer as problems to solve, but people to enjoy. That's the right perspective. Thirdly, the right perspective sees the present condition through the eyes of faith. We have to look at our present condition as something that we have an opportunity to believe for. Second Corinthians 4:18 says while we look, not "at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen". "For we walk by faith, and not by sight".
Second Corinthians 4:18, and Second Corinthians five, verse seven. We have to stop looking at things as what they are, as only is what they are. We can look at them as they are, but we can't continue to look at them as they are. We have to look at them as they are, but then see what they can be. You have to look at your health and say, "Yeah, I might be bad off, but I have an opportunity to make myself better, to make my health better, to believe God, to take steps to change some of my habits". We have to see life through the eyes of faith. We have to see our present condition as something that nothing's impossible with God. All things are possible for those who believe.
Boy, if we would really get ahold of these perspectives. That, number one, the right perspective sees problems as possibilities. Number two, the right perspective sees people, not as problems to solve, but people to enjoy. Number three, the right perspective sees your present condition, our present condition through the eyes of faith. What can God do? Let's look at what God can do. Let's look at what God can accomplish. Let's look at the possibilities of God. All things are possible to him who believes. All things are possible with God. Boy, that verse in Mark 9:23 I believe, where He says, "All things are possible to those who believe".
Let's live in the place of faith; not fear. Faith, not cynicism and negativity. And finally, the right perspective sees God's plan. The right perspective sees God's plan, even when we feel imprisoned by our past or present situation. The right perspective sees God's plan in the face of our past. In the face of our present condition, we see God's plan. That God's plan is at work. Even though our present situation or our past situation hasn't been good, God has a plan. I love what Jeremiah 29:11 says. One translation says, "'... For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and (to give you) a future.'"
Boy, this is a verse that sometimes we as believers, we forget. We think this verse is just a basic verse for new believers. This verse is a verse for me, it's for you, it's for every human being on the face of this earth. God has a plan. I want you to hear this. No matter what your past is, no matter what your present is, God has a plan. No matter what your failures are, no matter what mistakes you've made, God has a plan. No matter how bad you've planned it, no matter how bad other people have planned it against you, God has a plan. And no weapon formed against you, Isaiah 54:17 says no weapon formed against you is going to prosper. Why? Because God has a bigger plan than what's against you right now. He's got a bigger plan than your past. He's got a bigger plan than your present. He's got a bigger plan than your plans. He's got a bigger plan than my plans. His plan is to give you hope; to give you a future.
You say, "Nothing is ever going to really change in my life". Then you're not hearing that God has a plan, a plan that's going to give you a future. And a plan that's going to give you hope. And a plan that He says is going to cause you to prosper. I love this verse where he says, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you". Man, life's plan is to harm you. The devil's plan is to harm you. Maybe even other people's plan is to harm you. But God's plan is to prosper you. And you see, the right perspective sees God's plan as bigger than our past; bigger than our present. God's plan for you is to prosper you, to give you hope, and to give you a future. When everything is taken away from you, what you do not have when everything is taken away from you, you don't have hope. You don't have a future. This is precisely what God will give you, a hope, and a future. If you've lost everything, the one thing that you have is, God has hope and a future for you. He wants to give you hope, and He wants you to know the future is brighter than you possibly could imagine. Get your sunglasses out. The future's so bright.
As silly as that might sound, and as silly as that might seem, I'm forever an optimist that things are going to get better. I'm forever a person of faith, that things are going to get better. I'm forever a person of faith, that people are not my problems. My problems aren't even my problems. The way I'm looking at my problems is my problem. My problems are not my problems. Because my problems are possibilities. My problems are opportunities. My problems are simply stepping stones to something better. So, I have to see that my problems aren't even really my problems. How I'm looking at my problem is my problem. And how I'm looking at my problem can be my solution just by changing how I look at it. That little change will change your entire life, for now, and forever. Well, we're out of time on today's podcast.