These are good days to be an Arkansas football fan. After enduring a seventeen game conference losing streak, the past two weeks have been very enjoyable. In my down time in the evenings, I often read about my beloved Razorbacks on various websites, and there has been plenty of blame given to why the team has struggled to win. Through all the difficulty, Coach Brett Bielema has continued to speak of “the plan” that he has to build a successful football program that will win yearly.
The “armchair quarterbacks” have questioned every part of the plan. Rather than play what most called “hard-nosed football,” they think he should run a different offense. They think that the coaching staff needs to change their strategies and start recruiting completely different kinds of athletes. These “experts” would have you to believe that Arkansas will never win another football game. Then, progress was seen in the plan.
As Coach Bielema had a second year to develop his plan, the team became more competitive and had some very close games, leading up to the victories the last two weeks. All because the coach, staff, and players stuck with the plan and believed in what they were doing.
Most of us have difficulty sticking with the plan. Just think how many Januarys you have started a diet and plan to have a new body by the end of the year, only to give up the plan when the results do not come as you expect. Or what about the time you and your spouse agreed to live by a budget in order to be good stewards and develop an emergency fund, only to forget about that plan when your favorite sporting-goods store had a sale. Then there was the bad performance review at work that gave you the opportunity to make adjustments before being fired, and you began to work hard and increase your performance, only to forget the plan when someone questioned a decision you made.
I have seen many pastors begin to lead a church according to the vision that God gave them, only to reverse course when they faced some opposition. I have also watched many church leaders start out in full support of their new pastor and his vision but refuse to stick with the plan when it affected a preference they held in the church.
Spiritually, the Holy Spirit convicts us of a sin we need to confess and repent, and we plan to be obedient; then, we learn the difficulty to dying to the flesh and we give up on the plan. This probably happens most Mondays after we hear a powerful message on Sunday. Or maybe it is the opposite and the Holy Spirit leads you to start something, rather than stop something, in your life. You plan to be obedient, then later are convicted that you never started because you forgot the plan.
You will always find people who will support you giving up on the plan. Many may even encourage you to do so, just as many have challenged Brett Bielema to do. If it is a spiritual matter, I can assure you that Satan will give you every resource you need to walk away from the plan.
If you find yourself struggling today with the plan God has given you in an area of your life, stick with the plan. Remain obedient. If you have stopped following the plan, go back to where you quit and start there. The rewards are greater than winning a ballgame, for they are eternal. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).