Stephen Curry, habits and your Christian growth

The Science of Habit

Have you ever wondered what makes Stephen Curry the NBA’s best shooter?

“Habits make Stephen Curry the NBA’s best shooter, Mike Trout baseball’s best hitter, and Jordan Spieth the world’s most promising young golfer. Habits keep a NASCAR driver from losing control and going airborne when he’s nudged going into Turn 3 at Daytona. And organizational habits make Fortune 500 companies excel beyond their competitors.”
“At the heart of habit is the brilliance of our Creator. Making decisions takes time and energy, and habits keep us from having to make the same decisions over and over again.”
“The brain loves to create habits to allow it to ramp down, “and when our minds ramp down related to our routine actions, they stand ready to engage with something new or more important. With a habit, the decision is already made, and the bandwidth of our mind, so to speak, is free to us to focus our energy and attention elsewhere.” -David Mathis [1]

For Christians, the “extra bandwidth” that is created from mastering the habits of grace (Bible intake, prayer, and fellowship) is used to help us focus our attention fully on Christ. He is the end of the spiritual disciplines. And that’s where growth comes from.

Paul put it this way: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV).

Success is not an accident

Stephen Curry in High School (first from the left).
“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” -D. A. Carson.

In this video, Alan Stein from StrongerTeam.Com recounts his experience working with the young Stephen Curry at the first ever Kobe Bryant Nike Skill Academy where Nike invited the top 20 high school shooting guards and the top 10 college shooting guards in the country to a training camp with Kobe.

Stein identifies 3 reasons for Stephen Curry’s impressive success:

“Thirty minutes before every single workout, most players were still in their flip flops and had on their headphones and Stephen Curry had already started doing some form shooting. By the time the workout officially started, he had probably already made 100 to 150 shots and was in a full sweat.
During the workout he was meticulous with everything that he did, he made sure he had perfect form, he made sure he had perfect shooting form. If he did anything and it wasn’t perfect he did it over again and he did not need a coach to tell him, he just did it.
And probably the most impressive thing that he did was as soon as every workout was over he would not leave the court until he swished 5 free throws in a row. Do you know how hard that is? That’s the level of excellence that he holds himself to.
And the moral of that story is that success is not an accident. Success is actually a choice and Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet today because he made the choice to create great habits.”
My question to you is are the habits that you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow?
Whatever you do on a regular basis today will determine where you will be tomorrow.”[2]

An imperishable reward

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What about YOU? Have you mastered these life-giving habits God has so graciously provided us with? Are the habits of Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship part of your daily routine?

Paul tells us that “every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV).

As Christians, are we exercising the same discipline that the Stephen Curry, Mike Trout, and Jordan Spieth’s of this world are applying to their craft? The reward they are aiming at is temporary (except Curry’s). Ours is eternal.

The minimalist’s guide to the habits of grace

I am undisciplined when it comes to applying the habits of grace and that’s why I’ve started reading this book: “Habits of grace: Enjoying Jesus through the spiritual disciplines” by David Mathis, Executive Editor for DesiringGod.org.

The book’s Foreword was written by John Piper. Mathis’ work is also praised by the likes of Louie Giglio, D. A. Carson, Jerry Bridges and Donald S. Whitney to name a few.

It is an excellent introduction to the spiritual disciplines for the brand new Christian as well as those with hoary heads.

I would like to invite you to join me: Click HERE to get the book.

If you want to read this book in a community environment, I’d love to start a Facebook Group that will host our “Habits of Grace Book Reading Club”. Leave a comment below. If I get enough interest, I’ll start it. Follow me for updates.

To master the habit of prayer, I would highly recommend this app: The 7 Minute Prayer Challenge launching this month.

Soli Deo Gloria!

References

[1] Mathis, David. “How Your Habits Show and Shape Your Heart.” The Gospel Coalition. 15 Mar. 2016. <https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-your-habits-show-and-shape-your-heart>.

[2] Stanton, Colin. “Stephen Curry — Success Is Not an Accident (Original).” YouTube. 2 June 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxsdiusm1NQ>.

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