Devotional

The Butler Way: One Day Better

Ready 

“But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” - James 1:22 (NLT)

Set 

The success of the Butler Bulldogs men's basketball program didn't happen overnight.

It started when Butler hired a young man named Brad Stevens. Coach Stevens is a man of deep convictions: his faith, his family and his future—all of which are placed in God’s hands. He runs his program the same way. Coach Stevens calls it “The Butler Way.” This is how he describes it: “It starts with being a values-based organization and sticking to a vision and a mission that you’re trying to achieve—the values that we deem necessary and important to have a successful team and be fulfilled as individuals. Certainly there are a lot of ways it’s been phrased, but the bottom line is it’s about doing things for others and really enjoying the journey while, at the same time, constantly striving to get a little bit better every day.”

Coach Stevens sets the example for his team. In his personal life, he strives to be better every day. That affects his coaching, his teaching and his leading. Ultimately, it is lived out through his faith in Christ. “I hope [my faith] affects everything I do. Just as I ask our team to try constantly to improve every day, I’m trying to improve every day. And that being the most important aspect of my life, that’s the part where I think I’ve got the greatest room for improvement.” 

The Butler Way is all about improving each day as a player and a person on and off the floor. Coach Stevens and many of his players have chosen to apply these same principles to their spiritual lives as well.

Just as this great basketball program has a “way” in place to strive for great success, we too should have a plan for our own spiritual journey. If Coach Stevens’ young men only listened to his instructions but chose to do what they wanted, would they be in the Final Four once again? I doubt it. But like James 1:22 teaches us, we cannot just listen to God’s Word, we need to do what it says.

Our spiritual growth starts with listening to God’s Word and applying it to our everyday lives. That is where growth takes place. The Butler Way works because these young men are applying the coach’s plan. Our Eternal Coach has the ultimate and best way for us to live, as well: accept that you are a sinner and need a Savior, believe in Jesus as His resurrected Son, submit to Him as the Lord of your life, and start living for Him. Commit to doing more than just listening to His Word, and, instead, follow His instructions with all your heart. 

The Butler Way is an excellent plan, but the Way of the Master is even greater. In fact, it’s the greatest plan of all. As a Christian, even Coach Stevens would heartily agree.

Go 

Why do you think Butler’s team has been so successful over the past several years?
How can a coach’s faith create a great team atmosphere?
What is your daily plan for growing in Christ?
Today, what do you need to change in order to follow the way of the Master (Jesus Christ) instead of your own selfish ways?

Workout 

John 3:16; 14:6
Romans 3:10, 23
Romans 5:8
Romans 6:23
Romans 10:9, 13

Bible Reference: 
James 1
Sport 
Ministry