The Better Way to Be a Success

Devotional Thought of the day:DSCF0066

30  Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31  So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. 1  If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 12:30 – 13:7(NLT)

100      Charity succeeds always. Without charity nothing can be done. Love, then, is the secret of your life… Do love! Suffer gladly. Toughen up your soul. Invigorate your will. Make sure that you surrender yourself to God’s will, and efficacy will follow.

We live in a environment that is consumed with the ideas of success.  From being successful in business, to being successful parents, to crafting that special meme that gets a bazillion likes, to even being on a successful weight loss program, we lust after success.  As pastors, there are people that measure our success by how much we agree with their favorite theologian or theological system.  There are others who will measure us by whether our church grows at a certain rate.

This morning I even saw a recognition of success that was scary.  It was given to an abortion clinic by Planed Parenthood that exceeded their prior year to date tally.  I am not sure I would call that success.  For that matter most of what we call a success, I am not sure is all that successful in the long run. Wealth, prosperity, a killer hot body?  Which of those will have importance after we’ve gone?

Even more, we are driven not to fail at what we do.  We will move mountains to avoid it, to not have to confess that our plans didn’t work out the way we thought they would.  People will strive to succeed to avoid failure, and they will strive to cover up their failures, neglecting to make them valuable by learning from them.

This even happens in the church, and its been a problem for a long time.  Look at the letter to the church in Corinth, they are consumed by it!  .  I’ve done things that failed miserably.  In other things, some consider me successful. I am not sure there either.

When I feel successful, is when I hear people singing (\with conviction and heart praising God as they recognize His love for them.  (that’s true even when they sing off-key… sometimes more so!)  When they approach the altar to receive the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. When a family and friends gather around as someone is baptised, receiving all the promises of God..

Success as a human being is ultimately measured by love.  Can you love, even love your enemies?

The reason that is the measure?  It’s not because it proves you are saintly, a person of great will and wisdom. It’s not because you are more special, or gifted, or even obedient.

It’s because such loves demonstrates the work of Christ in your life, that you walk with God, that you have been given the power and the desire to do God’s work.

Success is found in knowing His love…. the love that the Holy Spirit reveals to you in the word of God, and through the sacraments.

You want to be successful?  it is simple, though as Escriva says, it is tough and requires great strength to trusts in Christ Jesus….and as the apostle Paul says, it is the better way…..

The way of Love, the way of Christ.

 

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 563-566). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on October 4, 2014, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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