It is our tendency as humans to coast through life. We take the easy way out whenever possible and avoid anything that requires effort. Unfortunately, this can lead to us coasting and never improving. Jesus has a plan for us in our lives, and we don't want to miss it because we are coasting. God's plan is good, pleasing, and perfect; living His plan is the most fulfilling and satisfying life possible. Just taking it easy or coasting is not your best life. Not because of just being productive but because it is what you were created for.
Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that "we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (NLT) When we live according to God's plan, we will find true satisfaction and meaning in life. So let's avoid coasting through life and instead pursue God's masterpiece life for us!
1. Make learning a priority.
It is essential to make learning a priority in our lives. When we stop learning, we stop growing. And when we stop growing, we start to coast. Coasting is not an option when it comes to our lives. We need to learn and grow to fulfill our purpose in life constantly. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." (NLT)
When we read and study the Bible, we are equipping ourselves for His good works. We are preparing ourselves for all that God has planned for us. If we want to avoid coasting, we need to make learning a priority in our lives. In addition, we need to constantly expand our knowledge and grow in wisdom. That way, we will be prepared for all God has in store.
Pray for God to help you to be passionate and motivated to make learning and growing to be more like Jesus a priority. When we become lazy and complacent, we start to coast. We need to avoid this by staying motivated and excited about life. We need to pursue our goals with passion and determination. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." (NLT) We must remember that we can do everything with God's help. When we are passionate about our goals and pursuing them with God's help, we can avoid coasting.
Making learning a priority means being proactive about learning rather than reactive. John Maxwell talks about growth in this way: "We learn when we hurt enough, we have to or when we learn enough, we want to." Unfortunately, if you are coasting, you will only grow when you are hurting enough that you have to—what a miserable way to exist. Indeed not a way to live in the God-given potential that He has placed within you when He formed you in your mother's womb (Psalm 139).
2. Stay active and engaged.
It is also essential to stay active and engaged in life. We will lose our edge if we sit back and take things easy. We will lose our ability to contribute positively to society. But if we stay active and engaged, we will continue to grow and learn. We will be able to make a difference in the world. Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too" (NLT). We stay active and engaged in life when we focus on others instead of ourselves. As a result, we are constantly learning and growing as people.
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
We often find ourselves in a comfort zone where we are not challenged and not growing. This can be a dangerous place because when we stop growing, we start to coast. We must get out of our comfort zone to continue growing and learning. We need to be challenged to improve. The Hebrews writer tells us to: "think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24 NLT).
When we are around others who are better than us, it encourages us to do better. We become more active and engaged in life. We want to be around those who can help us grow and learn.
If you are living in your comfort zone and never being challenged, you are settling for mediocrity. Our God deserves our best. He is worthy of much more than a life lived in mediocrity and comfort. If you live in your comfort zone, you settle, and you stop growing and learning. You become content with where you are and quit striving to improve. Get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to be all that God created you to be. Challenge yourself to learn new things and grow in your knowledge and understanding. Don't coast through life; make the most of it! Pursue God with all you are. He will bless you beyond measure. Get very familiar with the words of Paul in Ephesians 3:20 - "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (NLT).
4. Practice, practice, practice.
It is important to practice if we want to improve. We need to be constantly practicing if we want to be the best that we can be. Psalm 119:99 says, "Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation" (NLT).
When we meditate on the Word of God, we gain understanding. We become better equipped to do good work. We also need to practice living according to God's plan. When we pursue God with all we are, we will find true fulfillment in life. We find hope and a future when we live according to God's plan. We don't have to coast through life when God has a plan for us that is so much better! We should pursue Him with everything that we have. And let's practice, practice, practice so that we can become all He has created us to be.
There is the adage that "practice makes perfect." That is just not true - "Perfect practice makes perfect." Have you ever heard a child learning to play an instrument repeatedly practice the same sour notes? They get perfect at playing the wrong notes. That's why it's essential to make sure that you live out the next step as you practice, practice, practice. That is to be coachable.
5. Be coachable.
The greatest and highest-paid athletes in the world have coaches. The most successful business leaders have coaches. Actors who are in high demand have coaches. Still, how many of us as Pastors and church leaders have coaches? If you are a Pastor who preaches or teaches, when was the last time you sat with someone you trusted as a coach and watched through or listened through one of your sermons? For that matter, when was the last time you watched or listened to one of your sermons on your own? You might be surprised to find areas you are coasting in your presentation. And they are costing you a great deal. More importantly, they may not be landing with your audience and cost the Kingdom of God a great deal.
Peter tells those of us who are speakers to "speak as though God himself were speaking through you" (1 Peter 4:11b NLT). That should give us great pause every time we go to provide a message or a sermon. Am I prepared to speak in such a way? Not just that. Do you know the content or have a great understanding? Are you ready to present the content and the message so that it is engaging enough to the crowd that they can hear and sense God speaking to them? Peter ends that verse with the results when we do this: "Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen" (1 Peter 4:11 NLT).
Whatever area of ministry or business you serve in, this principle applies. What does it look like for you to be coachable and to get coaching? As a leader, I continually have coaches in my life, and coaching is a budget item that I make sure we have each year for our staff. Encourage and empower your team to get coaching.
6. Surround yourself with People who are better than you.
One of the best things we can do is to surround ourselves with people who are better than us. These people can be mentors, coaches, or simply friends and family members who have a better perspective on life than we do. James 1:5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking" (NLT). When we surround ourselves with people who are wiser than we are, we can learn from them. We can gain wisdom and understanding that will help us in our lives. We can also learn how to be better people. Proverbs 13:20 tells us to, "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble" (NLT). As we walk with wise people, we will become wiser. However, as we walk with fools, we will only suffer harm. Therefore, we must choose our companions wisely and surround ourselves with those who will help us grow and become the best we can be. Don't hang around people who just want to coast through life.
While Jesus was available to minister to all people, He chose His inner circle. He had many conversations with the disciple that we have the privilege of reading now only because they wrote them down for us. The general public at the time did not. Why is that? It's because Jesus was getting them prepped to lead and continue the mission and ministry He brought to this Earth. We should be careful who we surround ourselves with in our inner circle of influence. Surround yourself with those who know and love you and want all God has for you in your ministry, business, or personal growth. These are people who will be brutally honest with you while at the same time assuring you are living your potential in Christ. Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to live at the very peak of your gifts and talents.
Most Important of all:
We cannot afford to coast. Whether we are in ministry, business, or leadership, if we do not continually work to improve ourselves and grow in our knowledge and understanding, we will eventually lose what ability we have. We must be willing to be coached and surround ourselves with those who are better than us if we want to reach our full potential. As Jesus said, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing" (NLT). Most important of all, let's stay connected to God so that we may reach our fullest potential in all areas of life.