2 Corinthians 13:5,6--Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test. And I hope you will recognize that we do not fail the test.
If forty is an age for contemplation than here is a provocative observation. Failure ending in disappointment with God often begins on a trail of good intentions.
Ø A businessman started a homeless shelter only to see it collapse after five hard years. Today he ignores the Heavenly Father who was not there for him.
Ø A journalist won’t read her Bible or be seen in any gathering of Christians because her best scripture-quoting friend gossiped and she has been shamed. How could a loving God permit such back-stabbing!
Ø A grandfather is bitter. His eyes hang below his mouth with the unmistakable look of defeat. He was defrauded by Christian businessmen more interested in his money than his heart. God let him down. His pride refuses to look back up.
Could failure be the result of falling in love with the wrong god? If my ministry surpasses my relationship to Jesus what distinguishes it from idolatry? If my reputation matters more than my Savior what defines love? If my well-being and motivation are staked to the quality of life I enjoy, how do I view God when a tornado strikes? If family comes first where do I turn when my teenager rebels?
My motivation when I wake up must be to love Jesus. Anything short of that propels me to ruin. My victory when I turn out the lights must be Christ or my perspective is already jaded. Don’t let your mind assume what your heart insists is best. God may graciously crush your dreams to enable you to see Him. The heart can be deceitful.
My goal was to be a missionary. I spent my life preparing to go. God rearranged my ambition through the slow fangs of a brain-stem tumor in my oldest son. He mercifully stripped me of what was good so that I could understand what was best. The potential loss of Bryan helped me see with new eyes God’s loving Son. Could I serve Him if Bryan died? Could I live joyfully on His terms?
Failure often feeds on success—Satan is no dummy. What matters most is not family or career, health or prestige, work or recreation, but soul-sincere, heart-embracing, integrity-laced, truth-clutching, gut-inspiring, sin-quenched, chill-producing, worship-inducing, love for God. Failure is taking our eyes off Jesus. Don’t do it! You won’t regret it!
It is not lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but lack of laboring to keep the ideal right.—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)