Adam Piggott: The Art of Consistency and The Riot Act

Adam Piggott is not a christian, but here he nails the key to the christian life- consistency. Our growth generally does not come in big events (although we might get a high that helps to propel us forward), but in the daily plod of life, work, worship, quiet times, prayer, cell group. That might seem boring to many, but it’s being consistent day after day that grows in us the kingdom of God.

Adam Piggott writes:

The art of consistency and the riot act.

I am sure that my learned readers are familiar with Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. The hare is spectacularly advantaged over his opponent but it is the tortoise’s consistency which gets him over the line. To put it bluntly, the hare goofs off. To put it even more bluntly, the tortoise knew that the hare would good off which was why he challenged him to the race to begin with. Always know your opponent better than he does.

There are lots of lessons in that little fable but the one that I want to elaborate on today is the art of consistency. Consistency is to success in life what confidence is to success with women.

Right now I’m having the best results in the gym that I have ever had over the course of 30 years of lifting the weights. The program that I’m following is undoubtedly a big part of that, as is the fact that I am being so careful with my technique. But what has really nailed it for me is my consistency. The program states that I have to go three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and by God I’m going three days a week. Consistently.

The biggest gains that I’ve had, (moar gainz!), have been in the past four months, and it is no coincidence that this has coincided with my rigorous consistency. I followed this same program for almost a year in Australia but I was less consistent. Three days one week, then two days the next, then maybe back to three or it might have been just a single day. You get the idea. I didn’t see any of the gains that I’m getting now. Same program, same technique – less gains.

It’s the consistency, baby.

Back when I was teaching English in Italy, my greatest success story was a barber from a little mountain town with no real education to speak of. He decided to come along to a course and he didn’t have the imagination to second guess what I was teaching. He followed my directions to the literal letter. After six months I told him that he didn’t need my services any more. He wasn’t particularly intelligent but he was entirely consistent.

If I look back over my life, my greatest achievements have one common element to them – consistency. Whether it was learning the guitar, becoming a rafting guide, opening my own bar, learning Italian, publishing my first book, or any other goal or pursuit in which I excelled, being consistent was the difference between success and failure. Equally, if I consider where I failed then it was my lack of consistency that let me down.

This blog has become a success due to my consistency.

Last weekend I had occasion to discuss consistency with someone. This young guy has spent 2017 turning his life around. At the start of the year he was a dope smoking loser with a girlfriend that sponged off him and he was close to getting fired from his job due to his lack of commitment, an outcome that would not have been unfamiliar to him. Nine months later and he has jettisoned the girlfriend, completely abandoned the drugs, is killing it at the same job, and is tearing it up on the football field.

His consistency has been a big part of his success but yesterday I needed to remind him of that. Because there was talk of him maybe needing to go traveling, to lie in the sun somewhere; after all, he “deserved” it.

It’s all too easy to wander off track when you’re on the mundane journey known as adult life. After all, what could the harm be? The little voice in your head convinces you that you’re wasting your time anyway. Surely it would be better to be off somewhere having fun. The trouble is, this guy spent the past ten years doing exactly that. But now that he’s finally seeing some success for the first time in his adult life, he wants to slip back into the past behaviors. It’s all too easy to do.

But we had a good talk and I got him back on track. Sometimes that’s what you need; a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. The thing is, I wonder where I’d be now if I’d had an older guy to talk things over with and help me stay on track when I needed it. To read me the riot act when I needed to hear it.

Because that’s what we need sometimes; the riot act. No soft words or subtle anecdotes carefully interspersed so as to not cause offense. Cause offense, for God’s sake. Give them a verbal slap around the ears.

One of the things that young guys need to understand is consistency. You’re jealous of the guy with lots of money and nice toys? Most of the time it comes down to hard work, not taking no for an answer, and consistency. Twenty years of that and you’re looking at a solid base. A fortress of solitude. If I had my time over again I would be more consistent.

But who I am kidding? I’ve got loads of opportunity to be consistent right now. Learning Dutch, finishing my next book, finding the right house in the right part of Holland, setting up a new business; it’s all going to come down to consistent effort.

And another cup of coffee.

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Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+2.1-8

Scripture

God was pleased to trust us with his message. We didn’t speak to please people, but to please God who knows our motives.

Observation

Paul relates how he had come to Thessalonica without hidden motives. He wasn’t trying to trick or fool anyone or to please people.

As an apostle, he could have demanded that they support him. Instead he chose to be like a mother nursing her baby, prepared to give his life for them as he gave them God’s message.

Application

As social creatures we all have a need for the approval of other people. We want to be liked by other people and to fit in.

But for the child of God, this is not always an option. To be faithful to God means that we may need to suffer the enmity of people.

This is the way it was for Paul who was imprisoned, beaten, stoned and otherwise mistreated on many occasions. It is the way for millions of christians around the world today.

As western society runs at break-neck speed away from the christian values that have underpinned it for centuries, we have to expect opposition even from our friends and family members.

We must be God pleasers, not people pleasers. We must be determined to stand up for Jesus even at the risk of losing friends or being publicly mocked.

Paul responded to opposition by doubling down on love. He was like a mother to his new converts and was prepared to die for their sake.

In a society increasingly hostile to the gospel, let us respond with the love of God.

Prayer

Help me Lord to please you in all my endeavours. May I always be a God pleaser not a people pleaser. Amen.

Reflection on Deuteronomy 34:1-12

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy+34.1-12

Scripture

There has never been a prophet in Israel like Moses. The Lord spoke face to face with him and sent him to perform powerful miracles in the presence of the king of Egypt and his entire nation.

Observation

Moses goes up to Mount Nebo from where the Lord shows him the land and territories which would soon belong to Israel.

Moses dies there and the Lord buries him. He was a great prophet who performed powerful miracles, far greater than anything any other person did.

Application

Moses was a man who knew true intimacy with God and consequently was able to do truly amazing things. Later on Jesus would say that John the Baptist was even greater, but the least in the kingdom of God was even greater still (Matthew 11:1).

The level of intimacy with God and therefore the level of power in the Holy Spirit is potentially greater for the christian than was possible even for Moses.

Moses parted the Red Sea, bur Jesus promises that if we have even a mustard seed of faith, we will tell a mountain to move and it will do so.

Every born-again christian has the Holy Spirit within them. Wherever I go the Holy Spirit goes with me. Therefore, as I listen to the Holy Spirit and act in faithful obedience, great things will happen.

The Lord spoke face to face with Moses. This is a relationship hat developed over many years. To see the great deeds of God we need to nurture our relationship with Him, seeking His face every day.

Prayer

Blessed Father there is nothing that you cannot do through me as I walk in humble obedience to you. Please help me to know you more and more and to trust you more every day. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 22:34-46

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22.34-46

Scripture

No one was able to give Jesus an answer, and from that day on, no one dared to ask him any questions.

Observation

The Pharisees get together to try to trick Jesus, One of them asks Jesus, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus replies that the whole of the Lawcan be summarised in “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind” and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself. ”

Jesus then turns the tables on the Pharisees by asking them some questoins. They are unable to answer Him, and from that time on they do not ask Him any more questions for fear of looking stupid.

Application

Right across New South Wales at the moment, thousands of students are sitting their Higher School Certificate examinations. Thousands of people are answering thousands of questions to determine their level of knowledge in various subject areas.

People challenged Jesus then, and now, not to determine His understanding but to trick Him into some political or theological error. He seemed quite accomplished in seeing through the questions to the true motive of the questioner.

It remains right to ask Jesus questions when our hearts are soft towards Him.

He will give helpful answers to everyone who comes to Him with questions that genuinely seek knowledge, but He will rebuff those who merely want to show how clever they are.

Those who seek Him will find Him.

Those who seek truth will find it in Him.

But those who come to God with arrogant hearts will be rejected. It is only when we recognise that we have no answers, no knowledge and no wisdom from our own thinking that we can begin to know Him.

Prayer

Lord, cleanse my heart from all vain thinking. Let me see you as you really are. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+1.1-10

Scripture

When we told you the good news, it was with power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words.

Observation

Paul writes with warm words to the church n Thessalonica. He tells them how he always thanks God for them in his prayers.

God loves these people, having chosen them. When Paul brought the gospel, it wasn’t just words, but came with conviction and the power of the Holy Spirit. When they accepted the gospel, they followed Paul’s example, and they themselves became an example for all the Lord’s followers,

Application

Whether we are preaching to thousands or sharing with an individual, the true gospel comes with the power and confidence of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit our words are just empty.

The power of the Holy Spirit comes in many forms– it may be a miracle or healing, a word of knowledge or a prophecy. When the power of the Holy Spirit is moving, hearts are opened to the reality of God and the salvation He offers in Christ.

Christianity is not a religion or philosophy that promotes a doctrine or way of living. Christianity is a living relationship with a living Saviour. The manifest power of the Holy Spirit shows the power of God to save everyone who puts their faith in Jesus.

The assurance or confidence of the Holy Spirit is a witness to the power of the gospel in our lives. How do we expect people to believe what we ourselves are not confident in? The confidence comes from the deep relationship we have with the Father through the Spirit.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness, giving us not just the words to speak but the confidence to express our love for our Lord.

Prayer

Lord, help me to share your gospel with the people I see today. Let my words be backed up by the power and the assurance of the Holy Spirit. Amen.