By Bill McCartney -
Former Head Coach of the University of Colorado Football team
In my experience as an athlete and a coach, I underwent two-a-day practices for forty years: eight as a player, thirty-two as a coach. What they taught me is to put in long, hard, tough days while maintaining full concentration and focus. For a player, two-a-days are a physically intense, character-building crucible of adversity. Athletes prepare months in advance just to be ready for two-a-days.
For a coach, two-a-days are exercises in mental discipline, planning, and precision. It takes emotional endurance to preside over morning, afternoon, and evening meetings, with film sessions and two rugged practices thrown in between. The repetitive grind of two-a-days prepares a player to compete at his full potential, to fight through fatigue, and to maintain sharpness and clarity under withering pressure. Two-a-days demand that a coach structure his day to the minute, foresee every conceivable problem, eliminate all distractions, and maintain vigor and enthusiasm when he's ready to wilt at the end of a series of marathon days. The day I stepped away from coaching, I stepped away from forty years of two-a-days.
I confess I haven't missed them. Still, I'm grateful for having had the experience. It helped prepare me for full-time ministry. The grueling routine trained and groomed me for another type of two-a-day regimen, one that has yielded far sweeter returns than the gridiron version. In its rigorous commitment and disciplined execution, I propose it's the kind of regimen every Christian should be willing to embrace.
Psalm 1:2-3 says: " But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night . He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Two-a-days on the gridiron steels an athlete for battle in the trenches. But Psalm 1 gives the Christian the spiritual equivalent of two-a-days-the means by which to prepare ourselves for godliness : Meditate on the Word of God day and night . It is God's answer to our predicaments; it is the antidote to lethargy, to lukewarm mediocrity. It is God's gift to us - our divine weapon - to demolish strongholds and every argument and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4). It is the demanding regimen which cannot fail us in times of testing; meditating on God's Word day and night will make us strong, courageous, and victorious in His service.
On the eve of leading Israel into a promise land occupied by fierce, hostile opposition, Joshua received a Coach's pep talk from the Captain of Hosts. God's instruction: "Do not let the Book of the law depart from your mouth; meditated on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:8)
With these words, God galvanized Joshua and gave his people the key to victory in the face of fierce opposition: Meditate on God's word day and night. The Coach told the player how to win the game, how to claim the promised land. This is God's Word to His people - if they embrace His Word, meditate on it, and do it, then they will have courage to do the right thing, and to stand strong! Who can doubt that this is the level of commitment God requires of us today? Are we willing to accept it to reclaim our own church and possibly a nation? Are we willing to find our identity and delight in God, to be wholehearted and sold out to His Word? God has given us the key - give our hearts, minds and bodies over totally to Christ. In so doing, He will grant us favor among the lost; He will transform us; He will cause us, well past old age, to flourish in his service.