I am extremely task oriented. Give me a job, and I usually get it done on time and done right. I’m even better at delegating complicated tasks to various people and overseeing desired outcomes through working with these talented people. I can also drive such people nuts.
The negative side to this part of my personality is the tendency to view my life as a completion of tasks—get organized, meet that deadline, overcome this obstacle, reach goals.
Misunderstanding success as a Christian
Over the years I’ve felt that I would fail as a Christ follower if I didn’t fulfill the task/calling/mission that God had in mind when he grabbed hold of me and made me his child.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12 NIV).
It took me a while to realize Philippians 3:12 isn’t talking about a “doing” thing—a task or a mission. It’s referring to a person—Jesus.
I have been taken hold of by Jesus, so that I might take hold of him.
My soul purpose as a Christ follower is to know Jesus—to take hold of him at deeper and deeper levels and never let go.
Doing is important, but not as important as holding. Doing is only valuable when it flows from the experienced reality of Jesus doing the doing, and I’m just doing it too because I’m holding on to him.
Anything done outside of that experienced reality is wood, hay, and stubble—ready to be burned during winter’s cold.
It isn’t easy to find success as a Christian
Did you know that taking hold of Jesus is really hard? Intimacy always is.
Relationships take ongoing work. How many couples simply live like roommates because real intimacy takes more energy than they want to spend? How many of us do that with Jesus?
What your success as a Christian looks like
Every doing thing flows from holding tightly to Jesus. As you cling to him, you listen. And in listening to Jesus, you hear. And when you hear, you do.
Since Jesus is the Word made flesh, the best way to learn to hold tightly to him and hear his voice is to walk with him through the Gospels. Watch him—how he acts and relates with people. Get to know him just as you would any other person.
Read the notes Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John took on Jesus, and in each story consider the following:
- What Jesus says and what he doesn’t say
- What Jesus does and doesn’t do
- How Jesus responds to friend and enemy
- What seems important to Jesus and what he ignores
- What emotions Jesus expresses, how he expresses them, and why he expresses them
Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, you can trust that he is the same person you’ll discover in the Gospels (see Heb. 13:8). His likes and dislikes are the same, and so are his ways of relating to people.
By the time you finish reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you’ll have grown in intimacy with the One Who Holds You Tightly. You’ll hear his voice louder than before because you will be closer to him. And the doing will be the natural outflow of hanging out (or holding onto) Jesus.
Question: What have you discovered lately about Jesus that surprised you? How has it drawn you closer to him? I’d love to hear your thoughts, Susan
“Jesus likes it when we share.” -Adelaide, age 3: Pass this along to everybody and their brother. OK, maybe not everybody’s brother, but you know . . . all of your friends would be nice.