If we are going to be with the Pillar of Fire, we must persist and move forward, but life is like a current that’s running against us. We need to press against resistances in order to stay with God. “Kaizen” is a Japanese word which means “quality” or “improvement.” The word, “kaizen” means that you have improvement or upgrades, not just as a goal in life, but as a part of your everyday living.

We all will have a million different ways that can translate what entropy is and how it works against us—laziness, a desire for no discipline, or excuses to be left alone. Once you give in you’ll be caught going down a raging river towards what Proverbs 24 says: I pass by the field of a sluggard and looked and I saw it was overgrown with thistles. Its fence was broken down. Its wall was caved in. I looked. I learned. I received instruction. What was it? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and your destruction will come upon you immediately.

I often talk about the ‘pioneer spirit’ and a ‘settler’ spirit. A settler builds a settlement and then he makes it better and better. Once he’s settled, he’s content, but he’s not pioneering new territory or new land. Once you become a settler you lose an ongoing current relationship with what the Holy Spirit is saying right now.

A pioneer pushes towards new frontiers, taking lessons from the past and pushing toward new frontiers. The Holy Spirit is a pioneer. If we’re going to stay in step with the Holy Spirit, we have to be pioneers too.

Quality, improvement and excellence need to be a part of our living. This is a mind set to keep us moving forward. Here are three points in the area of “Kaizen” or upgrading our potential:

1. How you respond to challenge is really important. There are many negative ways people respond to challenge: defensive, fearful, withdrawn, angry, and a sense of being unworthy. Do an honest assessment and ask yourself, “Is there room for improvement in my life? Will this help me be better for Christ? Is there any shred of truth from what this person is challenging me?

This happened to Peter when Jesus came out and challenged them to throw the nets on the other side of the boat and all of a sudden there was a net full of fish. Peter ran to Christ, fell down on his face and said, “Depart from me. I’m an unworthy man.” Sometimes when you’re challenged you’ll see something really good or something that someone speaks to you and you know it’s burning in your heart but you feel unworthy.

The best way to respond to challenge is by accepting the challenge. The way you respond to challenge will either increase the potential that lies within you or it will decrease the potential that lies within you. To increase your potential you must respond well to challenges.

2. Change.

When you think of growth, improvement, upgrade, increase, fruitfulness—it all presupposes that you’re going to somehow change. Static lives become settlers, bettering things just for themselves. Then it becomes a very myopic vortex that will start to quickly spiral southward.

The first thing that we usually need to change is our mind. That’s why the Bible says in 2 Cor. 10:5 that “we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” and in Col. 3:2, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

The second thing is not only do you change your mind but you change your perception of things. Perception is almost as important as the truth of reality itself. The way you perceive reality is sometimes, for you, as important as reality itself.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:20 – 22)

If you perceive something wrongly, it will affect you as if it were reality. The way you perceive things is extremely important. Matthew 6:22 – 23 states “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

3. You must champion the change. You have to go after it with all your might. If you are hesitant about changing, you will not change. Proverbs 19:20 says, Listen to counsel and accept discipline in order that you might be wise the rest of your days. Not only do we need to listen to counsel but the proverb says to accept the discipline necessary to follow through with that counsel. Sometimes we listen to advice but we never champion it. Wisdom will not come by only listening to counsel. You must listen to counsel, and accept discipline. If you don’t champion the change and the challenge, you will decrease your potential.

We are too precious as sons and daughters of God to miss this. Everything in our lives will have the fingerprints of God. Let’s pray as Moses did and ask God to show us His ways, and as we accept challenges, change our minds and champion the change, we will become more and more like Christ.

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