If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last month, you would understand that there is a buzz going around in this city. For years, it was the Broncos that dominated the Denver sports spotlight but not this year. While we have seen the Broncos overwhelmingly underperform the past couple seasons it’s opened the door for the Avalanche, Nuggets, and Rockies to get some attention. For the last several seasons, all three of these teams have achieved better results than their previous season. While it is a coincidence that all three of these teams are on the rise, it’s not a coincidence to how they have consistently been achieving better and better results year by year. These three teams don’t have huge piles of cash to go after superstar free agents year after year like the Yankees (Which my 10 year-old could manage) so they have to follow a structure of drafting and developing players in-house. There are several difficulties that come with this: it takes years to develop players to their potential and to compete for a championship, it is vital that a majority of the players are hitting their peak performance at the same time. Any budget restricted team, like these three, are not going to be real contenders for a championship every season because of this reason. However, their focus is on getting better and better season after season until they have reached their ultimate goal of winning a championship.
In his book, “From Good To Great”, Jim Collins describes this process perfectly in what he calls the“flywheel effect.”
“Picture a huge, heavy flywheel—a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds. Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and long as possible.
Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first. You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.
You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation. You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns ... four ... five ... six ... the flywheel builds up speed ... seven ... eight ... you keep pushing ... nine ... ten ... it builds momentum ... eleven ... twelve ... moving faster with each turn … twenty … thirty … fifty … a hundred.
Then, at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn ... whoosh! ... its own heavy weight working for you. You're pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum.
Now suppose someone came along and asked, "What was the one big push that caused this thing to go so fast?"
You wouldn't be able to answer; it’s just a nonsensical question. Was it the first push? The second? The fifth? The hundredth? No! It was all of them added together in an overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction. Some pushes may have been bigger than others, but any single heave—no matter how large—reflects a small fraction of the entire cumulative effect upon the flywheel.”
You may be asking, how does that apply to our faith? The flywheel effect is absolutely biblical!
The Bible puts it this way:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – John 9:23
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1
Our spiritual journey is more like a marathon than a sprint; a person doesn’t come to accept Jesus one day and become a teaching pastor the next. I think that we can get so fixated on where we wish we could be spiritually that it frustrates us to see where we are currently at and naturally we give-up. Maybe this looks like a sin-pattern for you that you can’t shake, or self-discipline with praying or reading his word, or you don’t know as much about Him as you feel you should. This could be anything, and chances are you have identified it already and are waiting for that breakthrough moment! Often times, we will get so caught up on when that breakthrough moment (singular) that we will experience that “breakthrough moment” but end up falling back to where we were before. John 9:23 tells us that we are to take up our cross DAILY. The development of our faith is founded upon the flywheel effect (an accululation of choosing to follow him daily). Instead of that ONE big breakthrough moment, what we really need is an accumulation breakthroughs. As they start to build up, breakthrough becomes easier and easier and we start to run with the perseverance that the Bible talks about in Hebrews 12:1. The best part about it though is that as humans we are imperfect and mess up. Understand that your Heavenly Father’s grace & mercy are much bigger than your mistake and even if you mess up on a breakthrough opportunity, you don’t have to start all the way back at square one, but you just need to get up and keep pushing.
Whether it’s learning a new sport, winning a championship, or growing spiritually, or defeating whatever is weighing you down, it will never be ONE breakthrough moment that takes you to your goal but an accumulation of breakthrough moments one after the other. It requires hard work and self-discipline but that’s what makes the victory that much sweeter. Know that God isn’t just a cheerleader on the sidelines but He lives inside of us and because of His power we can overcome ANY challenge that comes against us.
Lord, thank you for your love, grace, and mercy that surpasses all of our understanding! We are so imperfect it’s ridiculous but because of your unconditional love for us and your Son dying on the cross, we can live in freedom and peace. Your Word says that Your power is made perfect in our weakness and I pray for all of my brothers and sisters who are facing challenges and desperately seeking for breakthrough that you would grant them the strength and perseverance they need to overcome. And because of that, when there is victory I pray that you would be glorified beyond measure! It’s in your powerful name we pray, AMEN!