January 11th - Success
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." Matt 16:24-27 (NKJV)
I grew up in a time of "success orientation." "Do your best," was the common motto and much was expected of us by the significant others in our lives as well as by ourselves. We were convinced that our lives were meaningless unless we made a name for ourselves; unless we made our mark in this world; unless we were, in a word, "successful."
In order to reach the heights dictated by our illusions of grandeur, we worked and toiled and often sacrificed in order to get ahead and to be upwardly mobile. So, you purchase a bigger house--drive nicer cars--eat at better restaurants--buy bigger toys and hang around with well-placed individuals... What did you profit? Now that is a good question. Should have asked that a lot sooner in the process.
Jesus asked this question of His disciples, which means that it is an important question to consider: "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Once again Jesus points us to the meaning of life, and it is not found in upward mobility or success orientation. It is found in serving the purposes of God.
There is an exchange that must take place in order for my life to resemble the high calling that I have in Christ; I must exchange my personal ambitions for whatever God has planned for me. Time to live for Christ and not for myself. Please make a mental note of the following: Living for Christ is not the same thing as believing in Christ. It is not the same thing as attending church. It is not adding a little bit of religion to your life. It is a fully devoted, Christ-Centric life.
This requires my surrender...my total and complete capitulation. What does a surrendered life look like? You surrender to God--deny yourself, pick up your cross and walk in complete obedience. What are the possibilities? Ask yourself this question: "Do I have a better plan for my life than the plan that God has for me?" That has got to be a rhetorical question, because the answer is obvious. My plans cannot measure up to the destiny that God has in mind for me. Time to surrender--time to really live!
Author's Note: All of us live life from our own perspective. We see through our eyes. We live through the dictates of our brain function. This helps explain why breaking away from a self-centered mindset is nearly impossible. It is in this place that defines us where the abiding presence and voice of the Holy Spirit becomes essential. We must learn to hear His voice and learn to make decisions based on His values and gentle leading. RJD