JESUS IS OUR SOURCE OF SUCCESS

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JESUS IS OUR SOURCE OF SUCCESS

How do you measure success? What yardstick or benchmark do you use to estimate your worth? The world has its measures. Many financial magazines have elaborate instruments to measure the net worth of individuals, companies and even countries. So what instrument do you use?

Now, invariably such discussion will lead to the topic of pedigree. What background does your family come from, what class, what caste? Which schools did you go to? Which companies were you a part of? Which companies did you own? But just like gamers who show off their success on online communities, we know that one’s pedigree and success in life can be ‘hacked’. Children get into the best schools because their parents donate large sums of money to the schools. Young graduates get into the best companies and take much sought after positions because their parents are connected in high places. So then, in light of this reality, of how much value is the instrument which you were using earlier to measure success?

“You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.” Philippians 3:5-6 [MSG]

In his day, the apostle Paul was certainly one such person who had an admirable and enviable pedigree. By birthright and schooling, he was supposed to be righteous, bar none, because he was “a Pharisee” and “the son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6). Yet this was what he thought of his pedigree.

“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” Philippians 3:7-11 [MSG]

But surely, Paul’s pedigree alone of being a righteous man of God would have put him in good stead to get the best kind of righteousness God has to offer, right? Well beloved, no. Remember what happened to Paul?

“As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Acts 9:3-9

If Paul’s pedigree and success was of so great a value that society put in his hands the right to go “to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:1-2

Why was our Father now stopping Paul in his tracks, making him blind and telling him that what he was doing was actually ‘kicking against the goads’?

It’s simple really, isn’t it? This was because Paul, despite his schooling and pedigree, despite his success, really got our Father’s love all wrong. He used to think that keeping God’s law was THE only way to get into Heaven. So that is why when he heard of Jesus’ preaching, he did not believe and instead, breathed “threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1).

Now God could have dealt with Paul this way.

“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5

But instead, He chose to deal with Paul mercifully by stopping Him in His tracks, and allowing Ananias to minister to him and lead him to this revelation.

“The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials.” Philippians 3:3 [MSG]

Indeed beloved, no matter how much success we have had, no matter how much pedigree we come from, nothing could have earned us our Father’s love. In fact, we could not have had so much success; we could not have come from such pedigree IF NOT FOR our Father’s love. The reason for His love is not the success. His love is the reason for our success.

To borrow a gaming term, we did not ‘hack’ our way into Heaven. Jesus was our ‘hack’ into heaven all along. Because of Jesus, we did not need to go through all the levels and complete all the missions. We did not need to earn all the coins and uncover all the gems. Jesus did it all for us when He went to the cross, for on the cross

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

So that “…now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,” Ephesians 2:13-14

That is why beloved, “…there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.” Philippians 3:20-21 [MSG]

Sometimes our pedigree is precisely the very thing that stands in the way of us being able to fully receive our Father’s blessings because it builds for us a false facade that makes us think that only we can do it and nobody does it better than us. And when that happens, we forget to trust on our G-O-D and instead rely on our P-H-D. This then becomes painful for us because we will end up relying on our own strength and effort; like ‘kicking against the goad’.

Let us instead follow the advice of Paul, and keep our “eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 [MSG]) For Jesus has said that,

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

For “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:15-16 [MSG]

Beloved child of God, for us who believe our goal is Jesus and He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

Let us stop making lives difficult for ourselves by trusting in our success and pedigree. All that we have came from our Father in the first place so let us trust in Jesus and head for Him to be supplied.

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