Success or Failure…or is there a third option?

September 1, 2019


A few years ago, I was participating in a small group Bible study on the book of Galatians. The aim of this study was move us to regularly and scrupulously consider the practical, day to day life impact of the Gospel message- the reality of Christ rescuing us in our helpless state by standing in as our substitute in receiving punishment for our sin and being perfectly righteous before the Father. One of the biggest takeaways from that study was what I shared at our first Morning Meeting- that both our successes and failures can be great dangers in our walk with the Lord. What was made clear to me was that in either area, our human tendency is to focus on our performance to a standard as the litmus test of our worth and significance. In truth, our only hope and means to find freedom is the same as it was for the zealous Apostle Paul (who had extraordinary challenges on both fronts): we must fix our gaze upon Christ, nothing and no one else. Here I am reminded of some words from the old hymn Rock of Ages:

Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

Let me reiterate: our heart and mind response to success and failure is an indication of where we are placing our hope. This is true for us as adults, and for our children. For us teachers, and for our students. I implore you to ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and, in His grace, help you identify areas where you are not trusting or looking to Christ. Then, as appropriate, discuss this with your child(ren). This is fundamental to discipleship—showing them how to walk with Jesus in faith, daily. Let us be diligent to help guard them from the lies of this world, and deceptions even in our hearts.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

*For further exploration of this idea, please read the attached resource entitled: “The End of the Struggle” by Stanley Voke. 

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