Do I really want to be successful in living the life He desires for me? If I really am serious there are some things that are necessary—things that I need to strengthen in my life and things I need to cast out. I must be disciplined. “Strip down, start running—and never quit!” the writer to Hebrews declares, “ No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:2-3, MSG).
I want to make a difference in the lives of other people. I want others to discover the love of Christ that will change their lives. But I must allow Him to be successful in my life before I can be successful in helping others. The secret of any success I find is His success in me. It is how He succeeds in me, and what He is able to accomplish in and through me. I only discover success through surrender of my will to His will for my life. I only discover His power when I realize that my power is not really able to achieve anything.
Just think about it! Power to conquer my failures! Power to conquer my demons! Power to rise above my own doubts and fears! In His power there is no failure. There is power to silence the voices that speak defeat. There is the ability to rise above my doubts and fears. But I must surrender and “strip down, start running, and never quit.” I must live very close to Him until He lives completely in me. I must persevere and live in His will until I receive His promise of success (Hebrews 10:35-36). That success will then be perfect, because it will be His success.
Success may come in lives brought into His Kingdom or lives that are healed or lives that are changed. But it also comes in ways the world does not consider success. Success is at its greatest in sacrifice and obedience. Because it is at the moment I sacrifice my will, and obediently follow His will that success is found. It is at the moment of death to my own desires that the victory of His sacrifice on the cross becomes alive in me.
The world does not see success in surrender. The world judges according to its own desires, but God judges with a heart that gave His son for me. The Lord understands the power in surrender. Success is a daily labor of setting my own desires aside, and allowing Him to work in my life. He must plant himself in my life, and prune me until I bear fruit. When I surrender to His daily lessons, I will bear the fruit of success.
So what is success to me? It is His purpose instead of my own—His life instead of mine. The secret to my success is surrender of my own plans, my own desires, my own purpose, my own ideas and needs. Surrendering to Him is a promise of success which is better than any I might imagine. Success is Christ alive in me instead of me! I will keep my eyes on Jesus, and learn how He finished His own race. I will persevere in spite of all odds. When I waver, I will remember how Jesus faced obstacles that I never shall have to face. I will remember how He laid down His life, so I might be set free from sin and failure. I will remember how He held on for His ultimate reward. Am I ready to surrender to succeed? Are you?