The rain was pouring down last night, but we ran a 10k anyway. Success is knowing where you are going, wanting to get there, and then asking the question: What is most important? What is the main thing you have to do to reach your goal? When you know that, then you can prioritize what you have to do, and add discipline on top of that. Then you will reach your goal sooner or later.
Yesterday I preached on Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12, about how the body grows. Paul writes that Jesus joins the body together through the support that each member provides, and through the power that is given to each member. That is how the body grows and develops. In the body everyone is baptized in the Spirit, so you can never think we vs. those baptized in the Spirit. Either they are in the body or they aren’t, and if they are in the body then they are in your body too. Sometimes it’s easy to hear whether someone is in the body or not, because you won’t continue to do things that harm the body if you are still in the body. If the body is at war with the body, then it cannot remain. That is why…
When the body grows, everything that is in the body develops. That is why it is so important to think about how you are acting in the body. If I am baptized into the same Spirit as you and all the others who have been baptized in the Spirit, then that means that what I do to you, I do to myself. You and I belong to the same body. Jesus joins, he builds, and he gives growth through the support that you and I give, through the power and the gift that you and I have, that we give back to the body.
So the question is: If I want growth in my life, and I am a part of the body of Christ, how do I act in the body? The growth of the body is my own growth as well! I have seen this during my years as a pastor. Those who have given their support to the body and their power into the body out of love for the body of Christ have also grown in every other area of life. But those who have divided the body…
When Christ is allowed to grow in the body, the church, it affects everything in the body, everywhere the body is, and every day of the week. That is why the growth and development of the church is also success for you and me.
Satan, however, doesn’t want you to develop at all, and most of all he wants you to desire that which isn’t yours. Jealousy, James writes, is demonic. Jealousy wants your neighbor’s wife, your pulpit, your money or your success without working for it. Jealousy is destructive, and what jealousy cannot have, it wants to destroy. It is often easy to see who is operating out of jealousy, because they never accomplish things themselves, and the reason for that is that they are deceived, because they believe that the way forward is taking from someone else what isn’t theirs.
But God is able to give you everything! There is more than enough for everyone!
That is why an important basis for true success is, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, to “rejoice over the success of others.” Because when others who have been baptized in the Spirit are successful, in one way that is a success for you as well, since you are in the same body. God meets your needs in an abundant way, but for him to be able to do that, you have to be in the body, support the body, and give the power God has given you into the body. You will never grow by being jealous, but by blessing others and realizing that if God has done it through them, then he can do it through you too. But no one can avoid the process, the work it takes to reach the goal!