Archive for March 2015

The Measure of Success and the Rhythm of Life   1 comment

We have been discussing success from Heaven’s viewpoint, in contrast to an earthly perspective.  (See previous post ‘What is the measure of success’.)   How can we have a secret, hidden life in God and also be about building the Father’s Kingdom on this earth?

These 2 things – the hidden life or the public life, may seem so far apart they contradict each other. I have struggled with this concept many times as well. I am so in love with Jesus that I desire and need to spend much time alone with Him, just sitting at His feet and gazing into His wonderful eyes.  Then there also comes a point where I desire and need to be out ministering to people and drawing them closer to Him as well, building His Kingdom.

One day in the middle of my confusion about this, the Lord showed me the Bride in the Song of Solomon.  A careful reading of this short book will reveal that she lives there with Him in the mountains in an intimate relationship.  Then she comes ‘with Him’, leaning on His arm, as they go down into the villages to check on the fruit and into the vineyards to bring in the harvest!  I was stunned at their lovely and natural rhythm.  It was like a dance that came out of intimacy and obedience.  We are “in Him” (1 John 5:20) and He abides in us. (Gal.2:20) Intimacy produces fruitfulness.  As we stay in this love relationship with Him, He flows out through us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do.  It is always Him actually accomplishing anything through us.  We just obey by walking through the doors He opens, going where He calls us to go or responding to His call of intimacy to come away with Him.

Recently I heard someone sharing a vision he had of the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem coming down to earth. (Rev. 21:2) There he saw the Lamb of God upon His throne and His Bride beside Him.
He said, “I looked at the throne of the Lamb. The Bride was with Him on the throne but I could not see a distinction between the two! They are one. She is with Him wherever He goes. ”

 

Consider the rhythm of Jesus earthly ministry.  With the job description the Father gave Him, He could have been the most frustrated man on the planet!  He had such a short space of time to accomplish the Father’s will.  Yet, He was never in a hurry, He stopped for individuals who needed Him, He was full of peace and patience … How did He do this?  Bear in mind that at this point He had laid aside His Divinity and chosen to live this life as a man filled with the Holy Spirit as an example for us to follow. (Phil.2:5-8)  His method was part of that example. He only did what He saw the Father doing and heard the Father saying.  He spent large amounts of time alone with His Father in prayer.  Then He simply listened and obeyed whatever the Father told Him.  Was He successful?  In the eyes of the world and many of His followers His death looked like failure.  At least for 3 days!  They did not understand that He had defeated death, hell and the grave. (Rev. 1:18)  Successful?  Absolutely.  For eternity.

True success in this life depends largely on our relationship with Him and how much of the image of Christ is formed within us.  This is what the Father is looking for. ( Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 ) Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship. Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)

What is the Measure of Success?   Leave a comment

Our definition of success and Heaven’s definition of success are two very different things.  Too much of the world’s mindset has made its way into Christian thinking and we have adopted it as our own without even realizing it.  How do we judge success?

From a business perspective, success is usually the amount of money being made.  It also would have to do with the number of sales, contacts, how far reaching our influence is etc.  It’s about how wealthy we are, who we know and what we do.  It’s about us.  This same concept applies in other areas of our lives and largely focuses on how much we seem to be accomplishing and what other people think of us.  Sadly, there is far too much of this in ministry as well.

But from Heaven’s perspective we usually have it upside down.  It’s not about the ‘secret of the successful life’.  It’s about the ‘success of the secret life’.  The life that is hidden in God, where our goal is to make His name famous instead of our own, carries far more weight in Heaven.  It’s a life where He is seen and we are not … where much of what we do is behind the scenes, to advance His Kingdom instead of our own.

Many of you will have read Rick Joyner’s book The Final Quest years ago.  Since that time he has completed that trilogy and started another.  (See my Recommended Reading list)  But if you haven’t read that book for a long time, I’d highly recommend reading it again.  It’s one of those things that only gets better and more relevant as time goes by.  Here are some quotes from that book regarding success from people who lived their lives on this earth then died and went to Heaven.  Here is the truth they found there:

“What looks good on earth looks very different here.  What will make you a king on earth will often be a stumbling block to keep you from being a king here.  What will make you a king here is lowly and not esteemed on earth.”

“The more influence that you gain by your own self promotion, the more striving you must do to keep your influence, and the more dark and cruel your life will become.  Anything you do because of political pressures or opportunities, will only lead you to the end of your true ministry.  If you do not live what you preach to others you disqualify yourself from the high calling of God.  Love the Savior and seek His glory alone.  Everything that you do to exalt yourself will one day bring you the most terrible humiliation.  Everything that you do out of true love for the Savior, to glorify His name, will extend the limits of His eternal Kingdom and ultimately result in a much higher place for yourself.”

Doesn’t God use people to build His Kingdom?  Yes, of course.  We get to help.  God is not afraid of heroes.  He builds them Himself.  But up to this point in time, too many of those who are called to large public ministries have fallen prey to the power, the prestige and the occasional wealth that may bring.  This has largely been due to spiritual immaturity.  However, there is a new breed arising on the scene now.  They cut across all levels of society.  Age and gender are not an issue.  These have been tried in the fire and are coming forth as gold.  They are like David, with the courage of a lion and a heart of intimacy with the Lord.  They care neither for the criticism or the praise of men but seek only the approval of the King.  They stand for His truth, even under threat of death. ( Rev.12:11) T hese are going forth to build His Kingdom, an unshakable Kingdom that will never be stopped.  Will you be one of them?

There may seem to be a conflict between the hidden life and a truly successful (from His perspective) ministry in building His Kingdom.  But they are really 2 sides of the same coin.  Fruitfulness flows out of a deep intimate relationship with Him.  We will discuss this aspect further as it relates to success in the next posting.

True success in this life depends largely on how much of Christ is formed within us.  This is what the Father is looking for.  (Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 )  Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship.  Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)