Friday, December 11, 2009

What does success look like in light of the Gospel?

I live in an area where success and the fear of failure is a regular part of life. From adults to children in preschool the pressure is on to be the best and highest achieving individual that you can possibly be. It is a relentless pace that often leave the broken down on the side of the road as everyone else passes by.

Know Christ as a man …

Philippians 2:4–7

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

It is not all about us. It never has been about us. The great deception is that we think it is about us. Every great moment that I have experienced has been in that time in place where I stop looking at myself and I sit back and enjoy the process of serving others, because ultimately that means I am attempting to serve him, by living out his calling in my life. Jesus makes himself into the man that we were suppose to be, set the example of who we were suppose to be and then gave us the charge to live in such a manner that is worthy of the call.

Know Christ as crucified …

Philippians 2:8

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The greatest gift of all came in the form of apparent defeat. This is so unlike our nature, this is so against all streams of conscious thought. How could death accomplish anything? Jesus, with his disciples, his band of brothers taught that the greatest sacrifice that any of them could make for each other is to lay down their life for one another. For Jesus, this meant an actual death, what does it mean for you?

Success in this lifetime is about living a life sacrificed to God. It means giving up our worldly loves and passions and striving after his loves and passions. In the thoughts of CS Lewis it is the most wonderful thing to do and at the same time the most painful. Success through the gospel demands that you risk everything and it is only in risking everything that our eyes can be made to see the glory that is worshipping him. It is taking this risk that causes Solomon to write to his son in the Proverbs that the beginning of knowledge is fear in the Lord. Success will never be found in the wisdom of the world.

Know Christ as glorified …

Philippians 2:9–11

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When one is given the opportunity to assist the President of the United States of America you take it and gladly so. You will go and tell your friends, take pictures, blog it, twitter it, facebook it, and anything else you can do to it. Yet our call to serve comes from the King, not a king, but The King of all, in all, through all, to all. The King of Kings, The Anointed One, the one whose name will be screamed out into the universe as all of his people yell “Alleluia” at the end of all days. All the world will be recreated with him as the centerpiece.

So how can we possibly define success away from him? How can we forget to make him the King of Kings in our daily lives when we rise. Everyday when we wake we must pause and remind ourselves what success means as one who serves the King.

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