Successful

By Rev Don Rivers

The new season has started. Will the hopes and dreams of success become reality? The race has begun. Who will have success? Who will be successful? Two similar questions but with very different answers. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Success in a race season is different for each team. Some will judge the season a failure if they don’t end up with the championship. Some are looking just to improve over last year’s performance. Some are looking for seat time and finishing the race in one piece is judged a success. Whatever our standard, having success is different for each one of us.

Being judged successful however is a different thing altogether. We know there are two different ways of looking at things, our way and God’s way. When we judge being successful in earthly terms we focus on accomplishments and status. We look at awards and recognition. When we look at being successful from a Biblical viewpoint, we look at character, we focus on those who have submitted themselves to God and have chosen to do His will.

Will you be successful? That depends on the standard you use. Many thought Jesus a failure as he hung on the cross. They challenged Him to save Himself. They hurled insults at Him and questioned His claim to be the Son of God. In the end Jesus accomplished what He came to do, He followed His Father’s will. He gave His life so that we might have life.

Being successful isn’t about what we attain; it is more about how we do what we do, character. In a passage of Scripture from the Gospel of Luke we can find some help in our quest to be successful.

Luke 5:1-11; One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

In this passage Luke tells us of the calling of the first disciples. We read about Simon Peter and his friends. He had just finished a night of fishing with no success and he was cleaning up his nets. Think of it like the end of a race. You had trouble and didn’t finish, a DNF. You and your crew are cleaning up and along comes this guy who wants to use your hauler as a pulpit. After he is done speaking, he starts to tell you how to set up your car and how to win the next race. He challenges you to make the adjustments and go run a lap. You look at him as if to say, “What do you know about racing?” He says trust me and do what I tell you. Reluctantly you agree. You set the car up and sure enough you run the fastest lap you have ever run. Maybe there is something to this guy? Maybe I should follow him?

Let’s examine what has taken place. First, we have to let Jesus in. Whether it’s our boat, our hauler or our life, we cannot be successful without Jesus being a part of it. Once he is a part of our life, we have to let him have control. He will guide and direct us to what is right and just. He will guide us to places we would not go on our own.

Peter was a fisherman and he knew the best time to fish was at night and in shallow water. Jesus instructed Simon Peter to put out to deep water in the middle of the day. Peter, like us, questioned if Jesus knew what he was talking about. Jesus did and proved it with a large catch of fish.

The first step to being successful is including Jesus. He must be a part of our life. Second, we must allow Jesus to have control of the direction and decisions in our life. Third, we must expect Jesus to guide us to people, places and things that we wouldn’t have met, gone or done if we didn’t follow Him. Fishing in deep water in the middle of the day.

Remember being successful has more to do with character and less to do with performance. Peter had a choice; he could have remained a fisherman or he could become a fisher of men. To show Peter the He knew the way, Jesus demonstrated His ability to catch fish. After seeing this demonstration, Peter left his nets and boats and followed Jesus. That must have been one awesome catch of fish to impress a fisherman so much. Can you imagine what it would take for us to leave everything behind and follow Christ?

I find it amazing that Peter walked away from everything he had accomplished, everything he had built, his entire business and followed Jesus. What would it take for us to leave everything at the track and follow Jesus? Can we even imagine? To just leave everything and follow Jesus? That’s exactly what Peter did. Peter came to the realization that with Jesus failure was not an option.

Peter and the other fishermen had been out fishing all night. They caught nothing. They went back out during the day and caught so many fish their boats were sinking. They had never seen so many fish. You can imagine the questions that ran through their minds, “Who is this man that knows where all these fish were?” Then Peter decided he was worth following and his partners, James and John, followed along.

In addition to the steps we discussed previously, let’s add these; first we must realize failure is not an option when we follow Jesus, He will not fail. We need to have an expectation that Jesus can do great things. He will amaze us with His blessings. We must accept our new direction in life and follow Jesus with all we have.

If being successful is more important to us than having success than we need to follow Jesus. These steps that guide us only serve as reminders that we do not have control over what happens in life. We need to follow someone’s direction, someone’s example. Who we follow determines if we will be successful.

Phil 4:13; I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength.

Luke 1:37; For nothing is impossible with God.

When all is said and done by whose standard will we be judged, the standard of the world or the Biblical standard? With Jesus you cannot fail and nothing is too big to overcome. I encourage you to let Jesus into your life, give him control; follow him with everything you have. You cannot and will not fail.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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