The famous author and preacher, Chuck Swindoll, once made this statement, “The biggest trouble maker you’ll ever face is the person you see in the mirror.” If that didn’t resonate in your mind or heart, try this bold remark—who is your biggest trouble maker? YOU.
We’re quick to point the finger or pass the blame, aren’t we? If things are bad at work, it’s always because of our boss or co-workers. If things are stressful in the home, it’s always because of our children or spouse. If church isn’t exciting anymore, it’s because of a “dried-up” preacher who can’t earn our attention. If the bank account gets thin, it’s because of a hike in taxes or insurance premiums. The enlarged waistline is always due to the outlandish cost of healthy food no one can afford—never because we eat too much or exercise too little! We pass the buck hoping to escape responsibility, but we can’t outrun responsibility’s reach. Our biggest trouble maker is the one we know too well—us.
Paul attested to this in Romans 7 when he admitted Paul was his greatest challenge. He wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Vs. 15-16). He went onto to say in verse 19, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” We all understand because we’re all a walking civil war.
So what’s the answer? Unless we take our own life, the problem always exists. The solution is summed in one word—discipline. Our desire for personal pleasure must be overcome and outdone by our desire for God and His glory. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the daily decision to place one disciplined foot in front of the other until we walk more in the steps of Jesus; and what we can’t do on our own, the grace and power of God does for us.
The great Dallas Cowboy’s legend and leader, Tom Landry, once said, “My main job as a coach is to teach my men to do what they don’t enjoy doing so they can achieve what they’ve always dreamed of.” Landry was a master in that effort. Champions don’t become champions without paying the price in practice. Christians don’t either. As followers of Jesus, we must do what we don’t always enjoy doing so we can experience what we’ve always dreamed of. We can’t “earn it” or “achieve it”. We only receive it; but Heaven doesn’t become our inheritance without discipline. Without those painful, trying, moments when we choose the harder option for the better recipient—God, and His wonderful will.
So don’t miss what you’ve always dreamed of simply because you refused to do what you didn’t enjoy doing. As the writer of Hebrews so eloquently explained, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) Friend, don’t be a trouble maker. For when you are, you’re the biggest one there is.