SUCCESS: the only thing that succeeds 20 MAR 2018

The topic of success is a popular one, although with some people they have given up. Life has some people so discouraged they think it is impossible to succeed, and some have come to see themselves as losers. But let us think for a moment…God has never been a loser, or in the long run made to be a loser, so if we are losing, then we must have somehow separated ourselves from God. One possibility is that we are feeling like a failure, but God is regarding the same thing as success. (As we pray, “Thy will be done.”) God’s purposes run deeper than ours, and He may accomplish His purposes at the expense of our more superficial ones. One of His primary purposes is to reproduce the character & life of His Son Christ in each of us.

FUNCTIONING. If we are in the center of God’s will moving along with the Spirit, we know that we are moving with God in His path of success…for God has never been a loser (even if in our limited understanding we may imagine He has not won.) But many of us will wonder, what is the trick to get into the center of God’s will?? Christ gave the key to success a number of times to His disciples. Listen to JN 14:21: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me, and he who loves Me [a] will be loved by My Father, [b] and I will love him, [c] and manifest Myself to him.” In verse 23, he repeats this and replaces “manifest Myself to him” with “make Our home with him”. So the key to have the Spirit internally guiding us is that we keep His commands, which is viewed by God as loving Him. This concept can also been seen in another thing Christ said: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”(A) Abiding in Him is the equivalent to abiding in the center of the stream of the Holy Spirit’s movements. One more verse along this line: “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”(B) If this is the case, then we should be able to detect this success in those who follow His Word.

EXAMPLES OF FUNCTIONING. Over the years, I have been associated with Amish & Mennonite communities, and have never ceased to be amazed at how functional and successful these groups of people are. There is no doubt in my mind that their success & functionality are derived from keeping the commands of God. For instance, on Monday I visited a Mennonite elementary school which is Bible based in how they operate; and the school’s 8th graders were successfully doing Jr.-Sr. public high school level work…for instance trigonometry in math, and reading material with deep concepts & difficult vocab words. The Word of God has provided a light to guide His people for thousands of years(C). For instance, the early Hebrew books of the Bible (Tanach) provide counsel on hygiene & diet that was scientifically sophisticated long before science figured out in modern times the specifics of this Biblical advice. In terms of diet, GEN 1:29 provides us advice on the role of carbs & fats suggesting the eating of fruit (providing soluble fiber) & herb bearing seeds (consisting of whole grain, low sodium, potassium rich nutrition). GEN 9:3 recommends the addition of important green veggies & meat. LEV 7:23-24 restricts saturated fats from animals, while DT 6:11, & 8:8, recommend the healthy monounsaturated fat of olive oil. Indeed we find that God is indeed “the LORD that healeth thee”(D). And it is without a doubt true that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.(E)

UNITY & PEACE. We are encouraged to be united with other believers. “Endeavouring to keep the unity of Spirit in the bond of peace….Till we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”(F) If we all enter into the center stream of what the Spirit is doing, we will all be going the same direction, and this will be a Spirit-based unity…in contrast with the man-made organizational unities that are imposed on people by religious hierarchies using worldly-based power.

FINAL THOUGHTS. If we draw close to God by loving Him from keeping His commandments, then He will draw close to us. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (G) Or to put it another way, God never loses, and if we want to never lose & always win, then we need to line ourselves up with what He is doing, by abiding in Him, so His Spirit will abide in us & guide us. Like Christ, we want to say, “Thy will be done” with the realization that our values & plans may be superseded by God’s deeper purposes. Have a blessed day my friend!

(A) JN 15:10 (B) 1 JN 2:5 (C) PS 19:8; 119:105, 130; PRV 6:23, 2 PTR 1:19 (D) EX 15:26 (E) PS 139:14 (F) EPH 4:3, 13 (G) ROM 8:31


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