"Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me." Matthew 16:24
Everyone wants to be successful in life. Whether it's at your job, in school, as a wife or husband or as a parent...we all strive for success in something. In the world, success is defined much differently then with Believers. The world sees success through the eyes of money, power and prestige. While Jesus sees it through a life that follows His example of humility and servanthood.
Webster’s defines success as; “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. As Believers we should ask ourselves the question, what am I aiming for in life? Is it to get ahead, to be financially stable, or to be known by others? All of these are self related, which is contrary to what Jesus tells us to do...deny our SELF, pick up our Cross and follow Him. If we are truly doing these three things then we will have a life that looks similar to His....a life of being sensitive to others, a life of self- denial, a life of serving others, and a life of striving towards receiving an incorruptible crown.
Success to the Christian is found in the person of Jesus Christ….period, nothing added and nothing taken away! We are given His example in the scripture to follow not to just look at from a distance and admire, but to live out in and through our lives. Paul was a great example of one who didn’t follow at a distance…but dove in head first and made it his aim to follow Christ. In fact, Paul says in Romans 15:20; "I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation." Paul also exhorted the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:9; saying,
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” And finally to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:4…Paul exhorts him to …aim to please the One who enlisted him. If we like Paul, make it our aim to please Jesus then we will have success in life. The Key is to make it our aim.
I’m not a very good golfer…but I do know that it takes good aim to get that little ball into that little hole. I also know that to be successful in golf, as with any sport…you need to practice. You also need to concentrate, and be disciplined to learn the correct swing to become accurate and be consistent. One commentator said that golf experts can complicate the aiming process so much that they can become completely confused. Harvey Penick, one of the great golf teachers, put it very simply when he was once asked the secret of hitting the golf ball in the direction it should go…"Take dead aim." I like that!
As Believers we are to take "dead aim." We are to make it our aim to die... to our self, that is. Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 10:39 saying "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." It's through death that we have life…eternal life and life here on earth. Paul is saying that there are certain things that will help you to aim dead on, thus hitting the target, and getting a hole in one! If you do these things as a Christian…you will have success. Looking back at "these things" that guarantee success as a Christian...1. being sensitive to others 2. dying to self 3. serving others and 4. striving for a crown.
As we practice these four "things" we will soon discovery that our life is no longer about us...it's become all about Him and what pleases Him! I wish I could say that I have these areas mastered in my life, but I don't. I'm still working on them, just like you. Together we can press toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! This is a high calling with great rewards! Each of us who is determined to make His name known will receive a crown in glory. Paul says to strive to receive it! We already have heaven as Believers, but the crown is reserved for those that are busy about their fathers business. Make His business your business as you strive to receive your crown. The reason? We want something to throw down at the feet of Jesus when we get to heaven! Lord, strengthen us in our pursuit of YOU, and help us to make it our aim to please YOU!