Have you noticed that we rarely hesitate, pull back, skip, fail, or quit quietly? Instead we brashly offer or sheepishly mumble…excuses.
As leaders, we field a persistent drip of excuses from others. I am ashamed to confess that I am often tempted to use the same excuses. Have you every heard the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Below is a profound picture that recently arrested my attention and zapped my feeble excuses. Often the difficult “legs” at the bottom of this picture in our lives do not produce the determined joy in the “faces” of our daily existence. I hope and pray this precious snapshot will have the same sweet-to-challenging effect in your heart, mind, and body as it did mine.
Even more effective in shutting up our excuses is the picture of the cross-a cross upon which hung the Son of God whose “legs” experienced incomparable anguish, shame, and isolation.
Consider the “face” admonition of the writer of Hebrews:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction from sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
You and I must firmly grasp the following indisputable truth: divinely-inspired pictures alone can produce perseverance! Ultimately it is not about your body that does legitimately hurt and faint; its about your mind. Mental tenacity that is visually locked in upon Christ makes our weak sidesteps a thing of the past. As you consider the pictures referenced in this post, what WAS your excuse again? Feeble minds make excuses; focused minds produce quiet, steady tenacity. The bottom line for moments of frustration, fear, and weakness is that we must do more visualizing and less verbalizing to finish our course with Jesus-kind-of joy.
Billy Sunday, in his typical direct manner, once stated, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” The only way to eliminate excuses is frequent, silencing exposure to the authoritative word pictures found in God’s Word that allow the Lord to speak…even when that involves conviction and accountability. Without it, we cannot run/win our God-given race. The finish line of faithful stewardship is only for the steady and more-often-than-not silent.
1 Thessalonians 4:11b-12
…Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
What other “pictures” has God provided personally in your mind’s eye that help mute your excuses?