Yes, this is a new year, and I want to be successful in living the life He has called me to live. But there are things that are necessary for me—things that I need to strengthen in my life and things I need to cast out. I need to be disciplined and pruned for His purpose. “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—to discover how the love of Christ will change their lives. But before God can use me to make a difference in the lives of others, I must allow Him to “become successful” in my life. The secret of my success comes from how He is able to succeed in me, and what He is able to accomplish in and through me. I discover His success through surrender of my will to His will for my life. I 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! His power changes what I perceive as a failure to understand how He will use it for His purpose. His power silences the voices of my personal demons that speak defeat. He gives me the ability to rise above my doubts and fears. But I must surrender and “strip down, start running, and never quit.” He promises to be successful in me when I live very closely to Him—when He abides daily in me because I abide in Him. If I persevere to do His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36). My success will then His success.
Success may come in people accepting His love—in diseases that are healed—in lives that are changed. But it also comes in ways the world does not consider success and very rarely even recognizes. Success is at its greatest in sacrifice and obedience. It is in the moment when I sacrifice my desires for His that His sacrifice on the cross becomes alive in me—that I hunger for His purpose in my life. Obedience to Him then becomes more important than anything else in my life. And with that surrender His success is achieved in my life. His purpose becomes mine.
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 of surrender. It is a daily labor of setting my own desires aside, and allowing Him to work in my life. He plants himself in my life, and prunes me until I bear fruit. When I surrender to His daily lesson, I bear the fruit of His success in what I do for Him.
His success in my life 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! I will keep my eyes of Jesus, and learn how He finished His own race. I will persevere in spite of all odds. When I find myself wavering, 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 find this success? Are you? The new year will tell.
Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher