Coach John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success"

Competitive Greatness

For Norm Evans, this highest building block took shape when he played college football at Texas Christian Uni
versity under a coach who had much the same outlook as John Wooden has.

One day after practice, Norm and his coach, Abe Martin, walked off the ?eld together.The coach put his arm around Norm, looked his player in the eye and tenderly said,“Laddie, you didn’t give me your best today.” The coach patted Norm and walked off.

Norm cried and then changed his approach to practice. From that day forward, whetherin practice or in a game, he gave it his all. For 14 seasons, Norm was an undersized lineman in the NFL. To survive at that level for so long took competitive greatness. In1972, he was a vital cog on the offensive line of the undefeated Miami Dolphins. His competitive spirit had rubbed off on his teammates.

Like Norm, David was undersized. And like Norm, David came to a day that would determine whether he had competitive greatness. The story is told in 1 Samuel 16:1 -17:58.

When David was a youth, his brothers thought he was a punk. Nonetheless, he had been selected by God and anointed by Samuel to be the next king. While he waited to be crowned, he had a part-time gig playing lead guitar for Saul. David had experienced God's protection and had learned something about his competitive spirit when he killed a lion and a bear in order to defend his sheep during his gig as a shepherd. A turning point came when he was delivering food to his older brothers who were on the front line of a battle.

At nine feet in height, the Philistine champion, Goliath, towered over everyone. His armor alone weighed 125 pounds. This was one big dude. He had taunted the Israelites and blasphemed God. Saul and his army were terri?ed and deeply shaken.When David heard about Goliath’s behavior, he was ticked; his competitive juices started ?owing.

Before facing Goliath, David turned down Saul’s offer to wear armor - it would slow himdown, he reasoned. He’d been taught to be quick, not not hurry. For weapons, David took a sling and a stone. He rocked Goliath’s world, hitting him right between the eyes.

David had demonstrated poise when he rejected Saul’s armor. In battle, he wanted to be himself. David demonstrated con?dence knowing that God had delivered him in the past and - since God had anointed him to be king - that He would protect him from harm. It took competitive greatness to stand up for God at a time when no one else would. Moreover, David made his teammates better. After he killed Goliath, the offensive line of the Israelite army defeated the Philistines.

We are in a battle and the enemy is trash-talking God. If that doesn’t tick you off, it should. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit has anointed you with power. You can take on giants. Think about what God has done for you in the past. It will give you confidence that He will also act in the future.

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