Successful Christian Living
Someone has well said, "Every one would be a success if no one had to work hard to achieve it." Reflecting upon this statement caused me to be honest with myself and admit what should be obvious to all We are somewhat inclined to want to succeed, but few of us are really willing to pay the price it costs to be successful. It is true that the cost of anything that is of value--and I speak not of those things which money alone will buy. It costs a number of things, but first and foremost among all else it costs HARD WORK.
The freedom we enjoy in this country did not just happen; it came as a result of many thousands of brave and dedicated men and women who first desired to build a free nation, and, secondly, who wanted it badly enough that they were willing to sacrifice much and WORK HARD in order to succeed at it. And, of course, it stands without question that if this freedom is to continue we must continue to have even in our day those who are equally dedicated to that cause.
The Christian Vocation
We must not deceive ourselves into believing that success in the Christian vocation is easily attained. It is not, nor does Jesus or the apostles teach that it is. In fact, Jesus always sought to impress upon the minds of those whom He taught how difficult it is to follow Him faithfully. "For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:14). The word "straitened" means difficult or HARD. We might say, then, that the way of success is the way that is HARD, while the way of failure (the broad way, vs. 13) is the way of leisure and ease.
Sometimes I find it very difficult to persuade people to become Christians NOW while they have opportunity. Many of them say, "I want to wait until I know I can live the Christian life successfully." Although I know no one should put off until tomorrow what he can do today -- and this is especially true in spiritual matters -- I cannot help but respect this man's attitude in many ways. He at least seems to understand that successful Christian living is a very difficult thing to achieve. It requires HARD WORK and he is not yet ready to put it forth. Of course, the tragic thing is, he may never be ready! He needs to learn that there is never a time in one's life when he is able to live the Christian life perfectly. We all fall short of the ideal. But our failures contribute to our ultimate success. No man ever succeeded in anything without first making mistakes. The one who does succeed is the one who profits by them. What is required in successful Christian living is simply a right attitude -- a desire to do right always-and HARD WORK to achieve it.
Successful Christian living is much more than being a member of the Lord's church. True, one who is in the true church is a Christian, but this alone does not make him a successful Christian. A man may live on a farm and do some farming, but this does not mean that he is a successful farmer. A person may be in the armed Services, and he may be called a soldier. But it is one thing to be a soldier and quite another to be a good one (Cf. 2 Tim. 2: 3-4).
Successful Christian living requires self-denial (Matt. 16:24; Lk. 9:57-62; 14:33),
a transformed life (Rom. 12:1-2; Jas. 1: 27), and a diligent effort to do all that God
requires (Matt. 7:21; Rom. 2:5-10). In view of this, it is evident that all in the Lord's
body are not succeeding at living the Christian life, but, then, I suppose, "Everyone would be a success if no one had to work hard to achieve it."
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 24, p. 7
April 23, 1970