Are You a Blocker?
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise.” -Ephesians 5:15 (HCSB)
Coach Scott was a great offensive line football coach. As a 10-year-old aspiring right guard, I learned from him the basics to being a great blocker: elbows up and out with hands tucked in. It was the “old school” way to block, which didn’t involve the use of hands—just stick your elbows way out so the defensive player couldn’t get by. For me, a good game required making sure no one ever got around me and never got a tackle. Not exactly a simple job. It took an incredible amount of work and effort to keep others from advancing toward the ball.
Today, I see blockers everywhere—not on the football field, but in life! Their elbows are up and out, and they are trying their hardest to prevent others from getting around them. That may sound like a crazy analogy, but it’s true. I call them blockers, but you may refer to them as plain old selfish, controlling people. And, in reality, we all have some of the blocker mindset in us. Personally, I’m constantly looking deep into my heart and asking myself if I have a blocker’s mentality, because it comes so naturally for us to look after our own interests.
Blockers are everywhere. There are blockers on our sports teams, in our classes, at our jobs, in our homes and at our churches. It’s hard for us to be around them and serve under them because they don’t have our best interests in mind. Being on the same sports team as blockers is practically unbearable. They might say they care, but the proof is in how they put a lid over us and prevent us from moving forward.
When it comes to blockers, I believe there are “Ten Blocker Commandments.” They outline the way blockers lead and how they treat others. As you read them, your tendency might be to think of other people. But, as leaders, we need to look inside and examine our own hearts as well. As you read, think of how you are wired and see if the Lord is revealing ways you are a blocker in the lives of others.
The Ten Blocker Commandments:
- Blockers keep others from reaching their potential.
- Blockers cannot celebrate the success of others.
- Blockers look at life through the “me” lens, not the “we” lens.
- Blockers criticize easily and have a hard time blessing others with praise and encouragement.
- Blockers use the power given to them to advance themselves, not others.
- Blockers fear that others will get credit for their accomplishments.
- Blockers are threatened by people who are more gifted than themselves.
- Blockers are insecure in who they are and in their giftedness.
- Blockers do not recognize themselves as preventers, only as protectors who think they know what is best for others.
- Blockers lead out of fear and control.
Instead of being blockers, we need to be builders. We need to build others up and help them reach their potential. Christ wants us to serve those we are leading, and we need to do whatever we can to see their gifts fully used in the Kingdom. Imagine someone who is not utilizing their gifts, skills or talents for God because you are blocking them. Is that the effect you want to have on someone’s life? Instead, as builders (not blockers), we have a chance to be part of God’s plan to help others unleash their potential. When we do that, we immediately become a part of God’s work. As spiritual leaders and builders, we need to focus on helping athletes and coaches reach greatness. But we can only do that if we lead and serve out of a humble heart. Builders know who they are in Christ and find their identity in Him. Blockers lead out of insecurity and find their identity in their position and performance.
If you are a blocker, I want to encourage you that there is hope. There is something you can do that will break the blocker mentality: serve. When we empty ourselves and love others as Christ would, we replace the blocker mindset with the builder mindset. If you find a way to serve, you will find yourself naturally, through the power of the Holy Spirit, transforming from a blocker into a builder.
Yes, it is difficult to see people advance if it means that you won’t. But the Lord can supernaturally change you so that you not only celebrate their success, but cheer for them as they fly past you! That is a Kingdom mentality.
Today, I challenge you to tackle the blocker mentality and become a builder. Be alert and walk wisely. Let’s do His work, His way.
- Are you more of a builder or a blocker? Why? Give specific examples.
- Do you have blockers in your life? Builders? How do you feel being around each of them?
- Which of the “Ten Blocker Commandments” do you struggle with the most?
- If you could write a “Ten Builder Commandments” of your own, what would you write? Think of two or three key commandments.
- How can the Lord help you develop a builder mindset?
- List several people you need to stop blocking and start building.
"Jesus, it is so easy for me to be a blocker, but I desire to be a builder. It doesn’t honor You when I put myself above others. Help me to break out of my blocker attitude. May I be a builder who serves others and loves them as only You can. Teach me to celebrate the victories of others. Show me how to help them reach greatness. I desire a more excellent way, Jesus. In Your name I pray. Amen."