Note: Although this post is addressed to the reader, it is as much as post for me as for the reader.
At this point, I’ve written over 50 posts with useful tips for improving your debate speaking. But in all this, I haven’t written about the ultimate reason we (NCFCA/Stoa debaters) do what we do.
Christmas has come and gone quickly, and it can be easy to forget the importance of what we celebrate during Christmas time. So let’s take a step back and remember that we do everything for the glory of God. That includes debate.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
Putting effort into debate is a great thing, and I admire people who actively work to improve their skills instead of simply letting it happen to them. However, we need to avoid getting so caught up in our debate improvement that we forget some important principles.
1. The strong don’t always win the race
“…The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:11
The best debater does not always end up winning the tournament or getting first place speaker. Good debaters tend to do better, but it doesn’t always go their way.
I’ve seen debaters get very frustrated at their lack of results, losing sight of the fact that God is ultimately in control of the debate results, and he may be trying to send them a message.
2. God wants you to work hard
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” ~ Colossians 3:23
Even though debate may not seem directly connected to glorifying God, you can glorify Him by offering your best effort in everything you do.
However, if you’re just putting in effort in order to secure a trophy, then you’re doing it wrong.
3. Credit your results to God
Any ability you have comes from God creating you that way. If you learn something new, you learn because God gave you the ability to learn. And it glorifies God to use the tools he gave you in a positive way.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17
If the tips that I’ve provided help you improve to the point of success, don’t forget that it wasn’t just your effort that got you there. God allowed it to happen and gave you the ability you are showcasing.
4. Use your ability to spread his Word
The skills you are learning in debate are impressive, they are rare, they are valuable. You are privileged to be doing an activity like this at a young age!
The communication skills and critical thinking that you learn from debate shouldn’t just be filed away when you’re done competing. You have the ability to explain things better than other people, to change minds and influence the world.
Use that influence carefully, use it to glorify God and spread his Word.
I have had dark times in my life where I used these abilities for evil. Just think about that: God gives me a gift, and I use it against Him? In hindsight, it’s incredibly twisted.
Create positive change around you with your new-found abilities, don’t drag people down or smear the name of God.
5. Your effort will pay off, one way or another
You might not get a trophy or award, but putting the work in to improve is rewarding in and of itself.
“The one working with a slack hand will be of little means, but the hand of the diligent one is what will make one rich.” ~ Proverbs 10:4
This verse obviously does not guarantee that you will be “rich” in the sense that we think of. Plenty of Christians who work hard are of little means. But the hard work is rewarding, and glorifying God is rewarding.
Would you rather be a first place speaker and deserve tenth, or tenth place but deserving of first?
I wrote this post because the world of self-improvement, tips, and tutorials can easily distract from the purpose of our lives: to glorify God. I pray that people will use the information on this website for good.
I don’t want this website to be a tool that is used against God, but rather one where people learn how to glorify God through excellence.