The threefold nature of success

Nature

Just like you had no control over what parents you have, the colour of your eyes or hair or where you were born, so also you do not have control of the talents you were born with. God the Father gave them to you and expects you to use them (Matt. 25:14-30).

Nurture

We are all given opportunities to develop at least some of our talents.  Hard work is a key to success when directed along the path of our natural God given talents.  It is Jesus who enables this also though.  As Paul said: “I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10)

Anointing

If someone could bottle and reproduce the form of Leicester City in the Premier League or an athlete breaking a world record when they are not on drugs they might be able to capture the thing many observers call “flow”.  Flow is something that seems most akin to anointing by the Holy Spirit.  David knew it as did the prophets and we can know it too.  It is that difficult to explain thing that causes upsets in competitions and enables anyone to make the fullest use of their God given talents and hard work.  Ask and you will receive.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The image of us being sheep and God being our good shepherd is sprinkled lavishly across the Scripture both new and old.  Whole chapters are devoted to the idea (Psalm 23, John 10).  Men are like sheep to be slaughtered, lost sheep and scattered sheep.  Sheep bully other sheep.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.

sheep

There are 7 billion people on the earth.  Of those a tiny fraction are ever in the news personally.  Often groups of people are mentioned and people are tarred with the same brush, but that never tells the story of a single soul.  There are wars and rumours of wars and too many people live in absolute poverty and in ignorance.

But lift your eyes from the news and see what God has done.  There are 7 billion people in the world and most of them are at peace.  For many the Lord is their shepherd and where that is the case they lack nothing, He supplies good food, He leads them in peaceful places and restores their souls.  These ones – and I like to count me and my family among them – walk in righteousness so as not to bring shame to the character of Christ.  Yes we go through bad times but He is always there with us.  He uses the long, thin rod of discipline to keep us on the right path at such times and we know that His staff is strong enough to beat away all wolves.  Even in the midst of the devil and his angels, thrown down to the earth and as angry as hell, we still enjoy His presence and our lives are full and overflowing.  He takes what we are and have and anoints us to bless us and cause our works to multiply.  As we go on with Him, we leave a legacy of goodness and mercy behind us.  It is truly wonderful to know that this living with Him continues forever.

The grace of God has abundantly produced good in this world despite the depravity of man.  Let us think about those things instead of always watching and believing the news.

Worship

I believe worship is primarily presenting our bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) before God.  Worship is surrendered presentation of our bodies, an out poured soul and an entering into the joy – sometimes ecstasy- of the Holy Spirit’s rejoicing in the finished work of Christ.  He spends all His time rejoicing and we enter into that when we worship.

Corporate worship is something better again.  This is worship together, ascending to the assembly of the first born in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect and, again, the blood that speaks a better thing than Abel’s did – the vengeance was poured out on Christ and now, His blood, forgive them, oh forgive, it cries!

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.

[Hebrews 12:18-25]

So when we worship together we join angels and others worshiping around the world as well as those who have died in Christ.  But our focus is on the mercy seat where the blood is sprinkled (Daniel 7:13,14) and the Father is satisfied and comforted in the work His Holy Spirit is doing in His creation.  For He is making us those who lift Him up, he sits enthroned on our praises (Psalm 22:3).the-church-of-the-first-born-hebrews-12-23