What Is Success? What is Expertise?
by Patrick Roberts 11/04/2007 / Christian Living
Success apart from the Spirit of Christ must be impossible for me, or else I am not a Christ-follower. If I wrote and printed 10,000,000 copies of the most encouraging book of all time and yet all of them were lost because of a political overthrow, in which all books everywhere were burned, except for one corner of a page from one of my millions of books, which had just enough room for Christ's name to be printed thereon, which God caused to flutter down and land in the right place at the right time for the right person to see it and think on Christ, and if this were all the work that God had in mind for me to do in His kingdom then great! So it goes that none of our efforts are ever in vain in Christ.
When we remember Him first and foremost, then we are successful in God's sight. The culmination of all God's creation, including the world and everything in it, is the summation of all things in Christ. As for us who seek Him, our success begins with our own surrender to Him.
We will make strides toward spiritual success to the extent that we become invisible, resembling nothing in comparison with the greatness of Christ. And my success in speaking to you about Him will be proportionate to the extent that you become more dependent on Him only and no puny man. As for us who follow Christ, we will be most useful to the world when we are useful to Him first. And I will be useful to you, O reader, so long as I bring your attention to the real, living God.
If we belong to Christ, then we will be strong when we claim no strength by ourselves, wise when we claim no knowledge except Christ, free when we claim no liberty except His Spirit in us, and we will live when we die to ourselves so that only He lives through us.
There is no greater mystery, for us it is too high,
He makes Himself the Way for us to know and live and die.
Our superior freedom in Christ is a wonderful relinquishing of this life. This means, at the end of every long day, Christ alone holds tight to those who belong to Him.
With this in mind we can embrace the inexpressible freedom of surrendering our right to define what success is, choosing instead to let Christ define us and our success. We have a peace of mind trusting Him to lead us and hold us together as we go.
Indeed, we who follow Christ are the only people in the world who can truly set out with nothing to loose and everything to gain because our Savior is the Rock of the Ages. He accomplishes every impossible thing on our behalf.
He frees us to obey Him. And to obey Him is to enjoy an otherworldly freedom.
Every Christ-seeker is in the process of learning the secret to living well, which is to let Christ be the Expert and Teacher. What this means for you, O reader, is that Christ is the Expert, not me.
Christ is our main Teacher, not any person, no matter how competent that person may seem. At those rare times when I catch a glimpse of Christ in control, I breathe a sigh of relief for His church's sake. Incidentally, long before I acknowledged this fact, He had already been holding His church and everything else together all by Himself.
I'm also relieved to be falling back on Christ as the deciding Factor of my own life-race. Because He makes Himself my All in all, I can catch a lifelong second wind and run the rest of this race unhindered by my own scrawny input.
We who seek Christ should be encouraged by this knowledge, that the impossible things are possible for Him. It is His exclusive business to bring the dead back to life and to fix the things that seem broken beyond repair.
You might say, we have freedom in Christ to go all-out with the distinct possibility of failing miserably. But, then again, utter failure is impossible in Christ. Such is the fullness of His Divinity that victory is irresistible for those who follow Him, and all this to His credit.
Christ will work out His kingdom on this earth, no matter how much I am tempted to place my clumsy self at the center of His otherwise well-balanced, grand scheme. He will chip away at what's left of me determinedly, even despite myself, making me into the best man that any man could ever hope to be, which is a big nobody, a nothing. He is compelling me by His miraculous power to prefer invisibility, so that He alone might be visible through me. I do not know if I am yet ready to take a bullet for Christ, but in the event that He does require this, I'm sure He'll make me able.
More of Him, less of me
Let this be our strategy
More of Him, less of us
He will be for us enough
How slavery to Christ is the best kind of freedom is mysterious, but even this mysteriousness is purposeful. My flesh is in no way sure, but my soul knows Him very well.
Though I dare not claim to have arrived at any great expertise, yet I do claim this one thing, that I am seeking the One who can show me everything at the time I need to know it. And to this end I write, to point you, the reader, toward that One as well.
Though I have not arrived at perfection, yet I am a good example to the extent that I desire perfect obedience in Christ's name.
For this reason, because I am seeking, I figure that anyone else who has a mind to seek God might also benefit from my thinking out loud, on paper. Only remember that the words written here were meant to be tested in the real world, just as Jesus Christ is Lord of the real world.
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.