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)