Making a Success of Life – Part 2

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In our first article in this series we noted that the Christian life is a “journey”, a “race”, a “fight.” What is common to these terms is that each has a well-defined objective associated with it. These words are not just metaphors for the Christian life, they are real descriptions. And according to Scripture:

  • A journey has an intended destination. Our destination, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, is Heaven. [1]
  • A race has a finish-line. Our race in life is not so much about being the first runner across the finish line, but about training, exercising, developing stamina and skill, then staying the course and finishing in spite of much competition – and standing out among the crowded field of runners. [2]
  • A fight has an opponent to be overcome. Our fight is against the enemy, Satan, and all the temptations, distractions, afflictions and other devices he tries to use to render us ineffective in pursuing the plan God has for our individual lives (our purpose, or “destiny”). [3]

Just reading these few paragraphs can make one feel exhausted. What a lot of hard work! Think of all the bumps and bruises, stress and strain that one automatically associates with the physical versions of these activities. But our focus in this and successive articles must be primarily on the spiritual equivalents – and that makes a huge difference. The Bible assures us that each of us is well able to be successful – two passages of Scripture that provide encouragement are:

Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived. The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome. Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:1-5 – The Message translation

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Or, as The Message translation words it: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Three key points that stand out in these quotes are that

  • You need to believe in Jesus as your Saviour (the Messiah, Who came to pay the price for your sins).

If you have not already accepted Jesus as your Saviour, or you need to know more about what this means, please follow this link. It is of the utmost importance that you understand what this means, and it is absolutely essential if you are to make a success of life.

  • You need to understand what it means to walk (live) by faith.

The Apostle Paul made the statement in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that “we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The problem with “walking by sight” is that it only shows us the surface of things; it does not show the reality to us. For example, our sight can show us our daily troubles in this world but it cannot show us the wonderful things that God has prepared for us in heaven and it cannot reveal what He has made available to us to be successful in our journey through life. We cannot rely on our sight alone and Paul says that God has provided something better to guide us: faith.

This is a topic we will elaborate on in a separate article as it cannot be adequately covered in just a paragraph or two. And it is fundamental to every aspect of the Christian life and therefore key to our theme of making a success of life.

For the purposes of this article, let’s just introduce the definition of FAITH as it’s described in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (confidence) of things not seen”. A few verses later, in Hebrews 11:6 we read “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. The Message translation renders this verse as “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him”.

This is not something mysterious – He has provided His Word, the Bible, to reveal His character, to provide principles for us to live by and wisdom to guide us, and has documented many promises that He has made and will keep (someone has counted more than 3,500!) – and faith is the key to unlocking all of this!

  • You need to understand what it means to obey God.

Someone summed up the definition of obeying God as: “Obedience is doing what God says, when He says it, how He says it, for whatever reason He says it, or with whom He says it.”

The Apostle Peter is quoted in Acts 5:29 as saying: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” According to the Greek dictionary, the word translated here as “obey” is more fully translated asto be persuaded by a ruler, that is, (generally) to submit to authority; by analogy to conform to advice.” This ties Obedience closely to Faith.

We will develop our understanding of obeying God as we further examine Faith in subsequent articles and learn about the key principles God has set forth for us to grow in our walk with Him – and to continuously improve our success in life.

More on this topic:

  • Read what the Apostle Paul said about his life as he neared the end of it – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
  • Ask yourself the question “Am I willing to trust God to guide and instruct me in all matters, from today until ….. ? If not, what are my reservations or fears?” Make a note of your answers for future reflection and reference.

References:

  1. John 14:2-3; Matthew 5:12, 6:20, 18:3; 2 Corinthians 5:2; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 10:34; 1 Peter 1:4
  2. 2 Timothy 4:7; Acts 20:24; Hebrews 12:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24
  3. 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7

 

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