Friday, July 29, 2005

Striving for Success

Over the years, I’m sure I’ve disappointed others for a variety of reasons. I would guess I’ve been disappointed in myself for an equally robust collection of reasons. Recently at least, I think I’ve shortened the list. I fear that my main failure as a human is that I really don’t care about being a success. At least as the culture currently defines it. I’ve had discussions/arguments with friends/girlfriends/acquaintances/family members/strangers about the relative merits of such life goals. I am a man without goals. Yes, I know, it’s detestable. Honestly, I wouldn’t care as much as I do (very little) were it not for the fact that I fear God has some great work plotted out for me and I’m to busy not climbing the proper ladder to get there. Yesterday, I read this. It made me feel a little better about my views on life (and even politics). But I’m sure Oswald could be just as wrong as me (less likely, but possible).

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.
What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.
God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

I guess that could scare some people. “You mean God doesn’t care that I’m a C.E.O.?” “God doesn’t care that I a graduated from medical school?” I don’t think he does, but that could just be because I don’t care if you did. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but very little in this world can be evaluated by the end result. It’s all about the process. We never know if a game was played fairly by the final score. We never know if a person’s life was a success by the size of their tombstone. We never know if a judge was unbiased by his verdict. It’s all about the process. Not if you can get from A to B, but how. I just pray that I’m doing the “how” right. I think I should set a goal to have a better “how” by the end of the year.

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