Generally, victory is measured by the multitude of things done. And victors are judged according to how long their list of “Things Done” is. Don’t you ever wonder why politicians would list everything “interesting” about them or about their work in their election paraphernalia, if not, for the obvious reason to impress the electorate’s mind that they are the real winners? They do this because this is probably what most people ask anyway when politicians campaign – “what are your accomplishments?”
In a way, our politicians’ way of advertising themselves is an indication of what most people today think of victory. Thus, fearing that we might not be seen as successful, we also make our own list of “Things Done” and strive to increase our workloads many times including achieving our goals regardless of the way or manner we achieve our goals in life. This “by hook or by crook” approach in doing things in our lives can be frighteningly deceptive as far as our real calling as Christians is concerned.
It can induce many to merely do things just for the sake of doing them, but at the expense of substance and what we are becoming as Christians.Most of the time for the sake of trophies that fade in time, laurels that rot, accolades and temporal public recognition, people sacrifice other equally valuable, if not, better and lasting goals such as honor, dignity and Christ-like virtues.
The Pharisees were condemned not for their failure to obey the law, but for what they have become in doing those laws or how they accomplished the laws. They become hypocrites whose external façade of righteousness and “successful” image are inadequate to cover their tomb-smelling corruption.One time Christ rebuked them for being able to do a number of the requirements of the law, but sidestepping the more important things like justice, love and mercy to the poor.
But don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that you lessen your expressions of faith and love to God by doing less for His kingdom. Definitely not. That is not the kind of impression I wish to convey here. I do firmly believe in what Apostle Paul himself had advised to Titus that those who trusted God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good (Titus 3:8).
But Christians must never forget the truth that our main goal is not to become victors only because of the multitude of what we have done, but victors too because of what we are becoming everyday in our lives as we do our multitude of services to Him. Let us remember that we One favorite author of mine opened up a chapter in his book like this. “We may be called an industrious, person or a gifted pastor or an accomplished mother.
But the single greatest compliment one can get is to be called a godly person. A person who is after God’s own heart. A person whose main goal in life is to become simply like his master. I find it interestingly simple what Christ had told the disciples about the meaning of discipleship when he said, “it is enough for a disciple to become like his master.”
Therefore victory is not to be measured by the lack of failure or defeat. Instinct of self-preservation we don’t want failure. But one can even be a victor in defeat because of what he has become during the hour of humiliation and abandonment.
Paul in good and bad report did not go his own way to avenge his honor and his status, rather he trusted God who is faithful to deliver him from all these hardships. He didn’t become self-centered. He remained faithful to God. Christ during his stay on earth did a multitude of miracles and wondrous works. But what emerged as very outstanding of Him was his unequivocal obedience to the Father in all that he did as the Messiah.
Saul was turned down even though he meant “good” for Israel. He was denied kingship of the kingdom due to his disobedience. In this case, obedience to God’s will was given premium than his accomplishment. His heart and motives rather the plain work of his hands. One of my favorite books on the subject of Homiletics entitled “Christ-centered preaching” argues that impressive pulpit ministry is bankrupt if there is no real personal relationship of the preacher to Christ.
The author argues that what is important or more important is what you are becoming daily both as a preacher and a learner of God’s words. Because our activities can be potential smokescreen or mask to cover serious spiritual deficiencies such as prayer lessness, pride and sin. Real victory takes place inside our hearts.
Romans says, we are being change from glory to glory. And it is also God’s ultimate will that we become like him or to put it simply, Christ-like. I beginning to gradually understand this truth now that I am pastoring one of our most established local churches in Metro Manila. As the pastoral staff and I strive to build the work of God in our area, I could see that pressures are not only on the physical side, but very much impacting too our spirituality. Personally, I desire victory but not only on the surface, but also within.