Tag Archives: Success

“A Personal Relationship With Jesus?”

I recently listened to a sermon and heard the preacher say something that really got me to thinking about the clichés we use at church.  The cliché he mentioned was “a personal relationship with Jesus.” This cliché has become the most widely used metaphor to encapsulate a person’s faith in Christ.  People are invited to have “a personal relationship with Jesus.” However, this phrase is not found in the Bible.

The problem with this cliché is it frames the gospel in terms of a woman’s deepest desire—to have personal relationship with a man who loves her unconditionally. While it may charm a woman—it does very little for a man.

Women are all about relationships. They watch romantic movies and read books about relationships. While most men appreciate a good relationship, they are more concerned about mission. They watch movies and read books about a man pulling off a dangerous mission.  Men are most involved when they’re on a mission, and that mission is succeeding. Relationships rise and fall based on emotions.  Mission is about achievement and purpose.  Relationships are about being.  Mission are about doing.

By speaking of the gospel in terms of a “relationship” we are engaging the senses of women.  Extensive use of this terminology may explain why most church services are less attractive to men today.  It is a proven fact that more women attend church today than men.

Where did the phrase “a personal relationship with Jesus” come from?  According to a Google search, it first occurred in a book titled Rest By The Way, in 1881.   You will not find it in the sermons of Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, etc.  It did not come into widespread use until the late 1960’s, which was the same time when male attendance at church began to fall off.

Just visit most Christian bookstores today and look around. The decor, trinkets, music, figurines, merchandise appeal mainly to women.  There is not much to motivate a man.  Even most of the books have the female consumer in mind. In fact, look who most of the customers are!

I believe the constant use of saying “have a personal relationship with Jesus” has attributed to much of the spiritual immaturity among believers today.

I am not saying it is wrong to use the expression, “a personal relationship with Jesus.” It depends who you are trying to appeal to.  While I appreciate ladies who attend church, I want to see more men serving God at church.  Therefore, by God’s grace, I will do more to emphasize MISSION over “a personal relationship with Jesus.”

How about it men? God has given us a job to do. Let’s get with it!

The Way of the Vineyard

“…he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.” —Job 24:18

In Job 24:18, the wicked are likened to swift running waters.  The wicked are impatient and in a hurry to get what he wants.

And the devil stands by to help him get it by offering a “short-cut.”  No matter what your goal is, weather it be happiness… success… making money, Satan has a short-cut to achieve it.

Rather than achieve something God’s way, which is usually the slower way, and the way that requires character and builds character, Satan offers a quicker way to get what you want.

That is what Job implies when he says, “he [the wicked] beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.”  What is “the way of the vineyard”?  It is the way of hard work that requires plowing, planting, pruning, and patience before reaping a harvest.  That is, if you are going to reap a harvest in the vineyard it is going to require WORK and WAITING.

For example, if a person has a certain financial goal, Satan offers a “short-cut” to getting money. That “short-cut” could be gambling.  I am asked sometimes by immature Christians, “What’s wrong with gambling or playing the lottery?”  It is wrong because it seeks to acquire money contrary to God’s way—“the way of the vineyards.”  God’s way is by hard work and wise stewardship (read Prov. 12:11; 13:11; 1 Tim. 5:18).

Yes, “the way of the vineyards” may be slower and require character, but the rewards are much more satisfying and longer lasting!

The Secret of Success in a Single Sentence

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. —Matthew 5:41

The Roman’s had a law that stated a Roman soldier could compel a Jew to carry an object for one mile.  It always imposed an inconvenience. A Jew would have to stop what he was doing… go the mile… then make the return trip. The Jews hated this law.

Jesus expressed a different attitude: He said if anyone compels you to go one mile, go a second mile.  It is on the second mile where positive things begin to happen.  On the first mile you fulfill an responsibility—On the second mile you form a relationship, and maybe a friendship. The first shows compliance—Going the second mile builds character.

Someone has called the principle of going the second mile “the secret of success in a single sentence” —  DO MORE THAN IS EXPECTED.  Do twice as much as you are asked to do.

A successful businessman was asked the secret of his success. His reply summed up success in three words: and then some.”  Successful people are those who do what is expected, “and then some!”

There are four possible responses to a task or job:

  1. “Get somebody else to do it!”
  2. Only do the absolute bare minimum, while complaining to let everyone know you hate every minute of it.
  3. Quietly fulfill your duty, without doing one iota more.
  4. Do your job with a good attitude, and then some.  Exceed expectations.

You will never be a success if you only do enough to “get by.”  But, if you practice “going the second mile,” you will be a success in any area of life—Your education… on your job… in sports… in relationships… in ministry… in marriage, etc.

The person who goes the second mile says…

  • I will do more than belong—I will participate.
  • I will do more than care—I will help.
  • I will do more than believe—I will practice.
  • I will do more than pray—I will fast.
  • I will do more than teach—I will inspire.
  • I will do more than tithe—I will sacrifice.
  • I will do more than live—I will grow.
  • I will do more than forgive—I will forget.
  • I will do more than be fair—I will be merciful.
  • I will do more than be friendly—I will be a friend.

Are you a “Second Miler”?

[NOTE: This devotion is a segment from a sermon I recently preached at Bible Baptist Church. To read the full sermon, CLICK HERE.]

Think Victoriously

“…As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” —Proverbs 23:7tightrope walker

For 70 years Karl Wallenda performed ariel acts on the high wire.  He died in 1978 after falling 120 feet from a tightrope stretched between the two towers of the ten-story Condado Plaza Hotel in Puerto Rico.  He once said, “Being on a tightrope is living. Everything else is waiting.”

After his death, his wife reflected and said, “All Karl thought about for three straight months prior to walking across the tightrope was falling. It was the first time he’d ever thought about that. And it seemed to me that he put all of his energies into not falling, rather than walking the tightrope.”  She added that her husband went so far as to personally supervise the installation of the tightrope, making absolutely certain the guide wires were secure. He had always trusted his crew to do this in the past.

He walked the tightrope with the fear of falling plaguing his mind, and his negative thinking created his feeling of insecurity.  He poured all his energy into not falling, and that’s exactly what happened.

This is what often causes us to fail. We are so focused on not failing that instead of succeeding, we end up failing anyway. Don’t think defeat—Think victory.

This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4).