Most of us Christians have experienced those incredible moments of intimacy with God when we have no yearning for any earthly success, much less for sin. Christ becomes our entire desire.
In those times, we make impassioned commitments of absolute dedication. We really believe we have turned a corner in our spiritual lives.
But for some reason . . . it doesn’t last.
In those deflating moments, our spirituality exits like air from a balloon:
- Driving away from church, our family fights over where to eat.
- After our quiet time, our bickering children rapidly rob us of joy.
- On the way to work, a hurried driver cuts us off and waves with only a fraction of his hand.
All of a sudden, commitment wanes. And these are just the little things. What about real life crises? What about those times when success is demanded but a lack of success seems all we get?
Jesus spoke words of encouragement for moments just like these.
Distance Gives the Illusion of Distance
On one trip to Israel, I went without my family for more than three weeks—the longest time I’ve ever spent away from them. And although I spoke with them regularly the whole time I traveled, the last conversation is the one I’ll never forget. After weeks of separation, we all felt eager to see one another again.
I can still hear my younger daughter’s words from the other side of the world: “It’s like I don’t even know you, Daddy.”
Open heart, insert battle-axe.
A mere three weeks apart made our relationship seem surreal. I’ve thought about her comment often as I considered Christ’s words to His headstrong disciples on His final night with them in the Upper Room. The same principle applies.
I like the words of Greg Mckeown in his great book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less:
Success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.
What You Must Have in Order to Have Success
“Apart from Me you can do nothing,” said the Savior to His friends and disciples (John 15:5).
Look at that word closely for a moment: Nothing.
That word seems so conclusive, doesn’t it? So dreadfully final. Our success hinges on our remaining in fellowship with Jesus. And our fellowship with Jesus pivots on honest confession (1 John 1:9).
Nothing. That word has such a haunting finality, doesn’t it? If we fail to remain in fellowship with Jesus, we can do nothing.
- Not “some things.”
- Not “a few things.”
- No thing—that is, nothing of any lasting spiritual value whatsoever.
- No true success.
But with Jesus, on the other hand, nothing is impossible that is His will (Matt. 19:26).
Tell me what you think: How have you found that Jesus helps you with true success? To leave a comment, just click here.