Just like Paul,  who used the same resourcefulness, candor and charisma when persecuting Jews who believed in Jesus as he did later converting Jews into believers of Jesus, we all have one primary, optimal speed.

Okay, here goes…I have a confession to make. I wasn’t always saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. There, I said it. Phew. Feels good to get that out….

But I’ll bet all of you knew that already. What you probably didn’t know was that before I got saved I was a brawler. Though I prided myself on my ability to talk my way out of a fight, my mouth would nonetheless get me into trouble. Where I’m from I’d learned early that I needed to defend myself; to get them before they got me (Madea’s not the only one). If I wasn’t in a fight or recovering from one I was bracing myself for the next big blow.

As I got older, the fights became less physical and more verbal, more emotional and, consequently, more detrimental. The aftermath of emotional warfare can scar deeper and last longer than any physical duel.

But one day, I learned an invaluable lesson that would change my life. No matter what I did, no matter how valiant I fought (or how dirty), I could not win. Why? Because the battle wasn’t mine.

Now, this was interesting news to me because I’ve been known to take some wins here and there, besting an opponent and proving the unlikely victor. And yet, those victories were fleeting. There was no satisfaction in them. And soon after they ended, I’d find myself in the middle of something new wanting that to be over.

So I decided to give this new way of being a try. Instead of trying to win battles for my glory, I’d turn them over to the Lord. I’d pray and seek clarity so I could avoid the fight. And you know what I learned? I was pretty good at it.

In fact, I was better at not fighting than I’d ever been at fighting. My most satisfying moment came on the day I learned that what I was doing had similar effects, albeit far more positive, to what I’d been trying to accomplish by my own power.

You see…praying, professing and seeking wisdom served as the spiritual equivalent of “getting the word out.” When you’ve won a few fights, word gets out about you and one of two things will happen:
a) Every knucklehead from here to Timbuktu will want to test you and see if they can be the one to shut you down or…

b) People respect and fear you so they leave you the heck alone. No one wants to mess with you for fear that they’ll be the next notch in your victory belt.

Well, by praying I was getting the word out that I’m connected to a warrior who champions on my behalf…and never loses. He’s not my back-up, he’s my whole battalion, but just in case you feel froggy and want to jump, he’s got soldiers on deck with soldiers on deck. That’s right, my back-up has back-up. There’s no question about if you’ll be the next notch on the victory belt, you will be.

You see, natural or spiritual…I only have the one speed. I’m made for the fight, I just had to learn how to wield my weapons. And how much more fruitful they’ve been since I stopped trying to draw from my own power; when I learned that my real power comes from something greater than myself.

How much more satisfying it’s been to see bodies healed, minds transformed and hearts mended. How awesome it’s been to see love restored, relationships revitalized and passions realized. How humbling it has been to play the smallest of roles in people being called to live out their purpose. How much more fulfilling it is to really win.

Just like Paul,  who used the same resourcefulness, candor and charisma when persecuting Jews who believed in Jesus as he did later converting Jews into believers of Jesus, we all have one primary, optimal speed.

All too often we try to be something else when we become Light for the world. Rather than being honest about trying to be better, we try to be perfect. I’m not saying don’t strive for improvement, but be real. There’s nothing in you that God can’t use to make someone else a believer. There’s nothing in your past that he can’t redeem so you can teach another how to avoid those same pitfalls.

So what’s your speed? Are you a people person, a socialite, an entertainer? Did you and your friends exclude others and keep your clubs private? Are you bold, brazen and say what you feel? Were you always comfortable around those society would call “of ill repute”?

Perhaps you could help organize church fundraising events or host the welcome brunches. Maybe you’re just the person to lead small group prayer and discussion, creating a safe, intimate setting where people can share and learn to engage in a community of believers. Or perhaps you can offer your words (now coated in honey but still just as poignant) to the intervention and intercession ministry. Or maybe the prison and street outreach ministries are where you’re services would be best utilized.

The key is to find your speed. What are you always doing, even when you don’t mean to be? What word do people often use to describe you? Who are the people like you whom has God used in the past? Have you asked God to use you in similar ways today?

It doesn’t matter what you’ve told yourself about why God can’t possibly use you. The truth is, he can use it all if you let him. Even those things that aren’t good for you can be used to shape and mold you into the best you can be. When you know your speed, nothing is a waste.

Do you know your speed? Perhaps it’s time you found out.

As always, good luck and God bless.