The Greatest Success Possible

The Greatest Success Possible: Self-actualization. Self determination. Hard work. Achievement. Success. A pleased God. Reward.

I was on a church retreat recently that spoke on Jeremiah 2. During a quiet moment with the Lord, surrounded in a world of self-actualization and self-determination, a sudden hard truth impressed me. Regardless of your primary purpose or calling or destiny in this life, you’re actually incapable of doing it. Doesn’t matter what it is, you are incapable of performing the one thing you are created to do by design.

Despite your most intense focus, intention, and effort, you cannot glorify God. By your own efforts, you cannot please Him. Think about that and let it sink in. How could a finite and defective being, even one that’s been redeemed by Christ, ever please an infinite and perfect one? (Isaiah 64:6) By your own efforts, you cannot stop sinning. You cannot add one day to your life. And you cannot achieve anything at all truly great. You simply lack the capability to do so on your own.

We may immediately think of some superstar celebrity names that achieved greatness. Well greatness by our standards. Truly I tell you if they did it on their own then whatever they achieved was far less than what God designed them to be. They failed. Funny, the one thing we all were ultimately created for: to glorify God, is actually the one thing we are most incapable of doing.

Depressed? It may seem sad, but it’s by design.

“My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water. They have been for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13

The harder you try to make yourself under your own power a usable cistern, the more useless you become to God. Even when grace saves you under Jesus, if you continue to power forward under your own might, you’ll fail to please Him.

Only God can glorify Himself. Only infinite and eternal can satisfy infinite and eternal.

So the only way you can please God, your actual ultimate destiny regardless of what your calling may be, is to be as humble as possible. Be honest with your inner core of your condition of a being as useful as a broken cistern, sinful and useless under your own strength.

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart O God.” – Psalm 51:17

It is through humbly becoming as much of a shell and clearing out your own determination, drive, and passions that God can finally fill Himself in you as a usable vessel. This is in stark contrast to our current culture’s understanding. It’s by breaking yourself down into a limp puppet that God can finally attach His strings. He brings you to true animated life. Then and only then when you have “self-actualized” yourself to what you really are (nothing) and have identified your greatest capability (completely incapable) is when God can finally assume control. He uses you for your real destiny. This will now be 100% by His hand alone and not one iota of your humanity.

Related Post: The Greatness of Humility

Logically, the only thing we humans are ever in control of, is the first step: removing our pride. We were never in control and capable of anything. Under God’s rule and measurement of true success, our own power and strength exists for the sole purpose of removing our own power and strength. We are to make room for *His* power and strength. Hence, the greatest thing we could ever actually “do” for God is to “undo” ourselves.

This post won’t be possible without the inspiration and support of Jesse Hunter.

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Let perseverance finish its work.

Every day holds a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. On a daily basis, in almost everything you do, you will be presented with the right way, and the easy way. Rarely do these two options have the same result. Every day your strength will be tested through your choices. Your strength is a byproduct of struggle; you must do what others don’t to achieve what others won’t; meaning, you must decide to take the right way, instead of the easy way.

The strength you have at this point in your life is a product of your willingness to struggle in the past. Your strength can be expanded and further developed through perseverance. Perseverance means to be steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. No matter how difficult the conflicts that you face may become, in order to continue to grow in strength you must preserver by making the right choice, not the easy choice! James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

In order to grow and become stronger; you must never allow yourself to reach a point where you feel you have ‘arrived’ or a place where you feel that you have everything together. Don’t allow yourself to get to place where you feel that the easy choice has become acceptable for your life. You must continue to push yourself. Be okay with allowing conflict and difficulties in your life. In every season of life and in every day you must always hold the desire to grow and become stronger than the person you are right now. Always be persevering regardless of the comfort you may have to give up during the process.

Making the right choice is hardly ever the same as taking the easy way to get through a situation. Sometimes the right choice can even be draining. When I am having a difficult time pressing on and moving in the right direction, this scripture always helps to motivate me, so I wanted to share it in this post:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Today I encourage you to persevere through whatever it is that you may be going through. Allow yourself to struggle to do the right thing; don’t just take the easy way out. In the end, you will be rewarded and you will grow stronger. Never underestimate the important of little victories in doing the right thing. No matter how big or small something may seem to be, make the right choice; it will encourage you when something big comes around to make the same right choice. I encourage you today; no matter what season of life you are in, remember to press on. Make the right choices in your life today, weigh everything you are deciding on against the Word of God. Let perseverance finish its work in you!

Pain Fades, Love Remains, Joy Returns

Pain is a part of this life. Brokenness is all around us. Parents split. Families’ abuse. The cancer wins. Children die. The only thing I know to be true is this: God is faithful. He is a deliverer. A healer. A savior. A protector. A warrior. A lover. A completer.

I’ve seen some pretty dark stuff in my days in this world. Perhaps the darkest was when I was still in the world, doing stuffs that had no meaning but hurting people around me. Also too many of my friends died. There was no escape from the pain. It was crushing. I never considered killing myself, but I can now see how some people could do it. The pain is simply too much to bear. It was the worst time of my life.

But God moved with a Mighty Hand. He heard me crying out and “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” – Psalm – 40:2 God brought to me a community of faith that changed my life and surrounded me with an amazing family in Christ. I walked in to new life.

He restored my heart and healed me of the wounds. I saw how good and mighty He really is. I worship Him for His faithfulness to bind up a broken heart. It didn’t happen overnight, though. Even as mighty as He moved, healing is a process. It seemed as though the pain would always be with me but again His promises are true: Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

The night may last longer than you wish, but when The Lord is your God, the morning always comes.

This year will be the second since I lost some very good friends. Am sure they are in peace and with Jesus. Not only did God help me walk into new life, but He saw fit to completely heal me. I am free. Looking back, I realized that even though He had been healing me, I was still walking with a limp through life. While I was not under the weight of tragedy any longer, joy had not returned to my heart.

There was a weekend outing with some church friends, we challenged ourselves to some games filled with lots of laughs and fun. I cannot remember ever laughing so much. It was the best time I have had in years.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

I would never wish such tragedy on my worst enemy but by clinging to Jesus during the night, He has restored my soul.

I know some of you have experienced terrible things, I know that. Just remember, no matter how long the night, the morning always comes. After that season, the Lord left me with a simple message I would share with you. The pain fades. Love remains. Joy returns.

The Weight Of Worry

By: Kaytie Zimmerman

The times in life when I find myself worrying the most, I know I’ve lost a level of trust in God. Recently I entered a season of worry and found myself trying to plan out problems that were more than a year away. More than a year!Close-up of distracted guy with glasses Free Photo

I realized how silly it was when I was playing forward scenarios that are not a present problem. Further, they were crossing my mind daily, weighing me down.

That’s the thing about worry. Not only does it put space between Christ and myself, but it places weight on my shoulders that doesn’t belong there.

What Jesus Says About Worry

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Did you catch that? I’m carrying a weight, or a heavy yolk, while Christ wants to trade me for His easy and light burden.

What does this look like in my life? For me, it has to become a daily practice of consciously releasing the topic of my worry to God and breathing in trust in Him.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:34

There’s so much freedom when I can let go of my future worries and focus solely on trusting God to walk me through today. We were not designed to be a ball of stress, worry, and fear. We were made to walk side by side with a Savior who sees all and knows all. Rest easy knowing He has told us He will take care of our needs.

When God Interrupts Your Plans

By: Tiffanie Butts

Last week, during my morning commute, I was listening to the one of my favorite radio stations. A woman (let’s call her Jane) called in to share about an experience she recently had.

She began by stating how she woke up late for work and was rushing to get ready. Already 20 minutes late, she was driving down the highway and saw a man on the side of the road. She felt led to pull over, so she did. The man asked to use her phone so he could make a call. Jane hesitantly gave him her cell phone and he proceeded to call 911. As she continued to listen she realized he was calling to report a suicide…his own.

She sat there in disbelief as he communicated with the operator. After he hung up, she sat and prayed with him until an ambulance came. Long story short – he did not commit suicide that day.

This story struck me in a powerful way. Jane being late for work allowed her path to cross with a man who needed to hear about God’s grace and forgiveness.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the life we’ve been given that we forget to tune into the One who gave it to us. We’re so busy, so distracted, that we don’t realize when God is trying to re-direct our attention.

We must be willing to let God interrupt our schedules and change our plans as he sees fit.

It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things don’t go as planned (I’ll be the first to admit that I do at times). But maybe, just maybe things are going according to plan – just not our plan. I have had an experience where I only told someone that you beautiful, you don’t need to worry, God is under control. She changed her broken face to a shining face. Even just a smile to someone can help that person change his/her from committing suicide.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. – Proverbs 19:21

What if, instead of being so focused on ourselves, and militant about our schedules and to-do lists, we surrendered our time to God? What if we asked him to help us be more aware of opportunities to share the truth and show the love of Christ? What if we prioritized obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit regardless of our own preferences and insecurities?

Jane’s alarm didn’t go off that morning for a divine reason – God wanted to use her to save a life. And you know what? He wants to use us in the same way.

Everyday God gifts each of us with opportunities to share His love, grace, and truth with those we come in contact with – but do you notice it? Many times we are too focused on our inconvenience rather than His purpose.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” – John 10:2

Let us be a people who don’t merely hear, but do (James 1:22-25). Who follow Christ’s example, laying down our own preferences for the will of our Father in Heaven so that we may show others the love, grace, and truth found only in Jesus Christ.