Success: Part 2

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In this third chapter of Philippians again, 8th verse: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." You say, "That is rather discouraging to ambition. I must have an object in life-something for which to live." Granted; that is true; one must have an object, but the Apostle Paul had one object torn out of his grasp on the way to Damascus, but he had another put into his hands. He laid down one to take up another. God never asks any of His own to go through life without an object. Our lives are formed largely by the character of the object we have before us, and that is never more true than in the lives of Christians. We must have an object; God knows that, and what an object He has given us! such as this poor world knows nothing of.
There are some in the world, we believe, who are living what is called an altruistic life. They have grand moral purposes to serve humanity. They are unconscious how much of self is mixed up in it, perhaps, but they feel they have dedicated themselves to a life of sacrifice and service. But for you, God has placed an Object in the form of a person, and that Person the Son of God. The Apostle could say, "The Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me." In his race in life there mingled not only the purposeful ambition, but love and affection, all bound up for the Object before him. It was not a sense of duty-not that he resolved it so-but his heart's affections were drawn out to that Object: "The Son of God who loved me."
Notice in the 8th verse, he doesn't say, "Christ Jesus the Lord," but "my Lord." The Apostle Paul had the sense in his soul that the Lord Jesus Christ was his Lord. What is that? The One who had absolute authority over his life.
Dear friends, it is a blessed thing to have a Savior, but do you realize that you have a Lord, and that that One who is our Lord, has the right to demand all of us-not on terms of legal obedience but because of what He has done for us? "The Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Doesn't He have the right to the very best we have? Shall we hold anything back from Him? Shall we not sum up all we have-the best we have-ambitions and desires-and take them all and lay them at His feet and say, "My Lord"? Thomas made that confession: "My Lord and my God." If we bring all to Him and put all into His hand and say, "Now, Lord Jesus, I have turned all over to Thee; Thou shalt be the one purpose of my life," do you think a life lived with that sense in the soul can be a failure? Dear young Christian, it cannot be possible; it is bound to be a success.
I have often told about a young woman in Hamilton, Ontario, crippled and blind. Is she a success? Go with us some day into her room in the hospital, and as we speak about the Lord Jesus, witness the smile of joy that comes over her face, and hear her speak in terms of affection about Him. Her whole soul is alive to the name of the Lord Jesus. Is that girl a success? Is her life a success or is it a failure? At one time she was enjoying health, and was training to be a nurse; there she lies now, a hopeless cripple, a helpless invalid at the mercy of others. But has God made things in His Word so hard that it is necessary to have health and strength to be a success? That would be cruel. No; He has made it so that even an invalid who cannot lift a hand or open an eye, can be a brilliant success. We hear that expression in the world, "He was a brilliant success." I believe as the Lord Jesus looks down on that poor girl, confined for the rest of her days (she has been there now 10 years), He can truly say, "a brilliant success." I am only citing this to show how God views things here. If we believe the Word of God, we must believe all things here are coursing on to one thing: judgment is ahead. This world has been judged at the cross of Christ; and what a poor place to display oneself in-a scene where the blessed Son of God was cast out and rejected, and where His name is blasphemed to this day. What place has He in the world's affairs-its counsels and schemes? You know Christ has no place in it at all. If you are ambitious to have your name heralded here, what a hollow ambition it is! Is this the place to cherish and nourish-even to permit- such an ambition in your breast? Can we not say with real energy of soul, I am content to count all that loss for Christ-count it refuse-"that I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness... but... the righteousness which is of God by faith."
Paul speaks here in the 10th verse: "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings," etc. How the world worships power these days! Here is the mighty power of God that raised Christ from the dead. That is a power you are to share. Christ is no longer in the grave; He is no longer in humiliation, but is risen by the mighty power of God from the grave, and all things are become new-a new beginning. God began things all over again when He raised Christ from the dead. That is where you and I are to start, with the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
What does that mean for the old desires and ambitions? Put them in the place of death. "Being made conformable unto His death."
"O worldly pomp and glory,
Your charms are spread in vain."
Have we said farewell to all those worldly desires and ambitions; have we put them to death? We have a life in association with Christ in resurrection, and are partakers now of His sufferings. In that coming day we are going to be partakers of His glory. If only we could get this thing lined up and see the advantages that would be ours from casting in our lot with Him! Moses did. He looked forward and "chose to suffer affliction... because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." He was looking forward to pay day at the end of the course. He wasn't a loser. There he is on the mount sharing the glory of Christ.
One longs to put this in such a way that it might arrest the hearts of our young people. Some of them are slipping away; some of them are drifting with the tide, feeling that they might be in this world, and saying, "Can I afford to have a hidden life? Can I afford to settle down and be nobody in this world?" Sad to say, some have made the wrong decision, have turned their backs upon Christ as their Object and refused conformity to Christ in death. It is sad; it is actually happening.
I wonder if there are some here who have things in the balances. Dear friends, if you have Christ as your Object, you will never, never be disappointed. There never has been such a thing as disappointment at the end of a life that has had Christ as its Object; but if you have something less than Christ, you are surely going to get disappointment sooner or later.
Just one more reading of that verse in Joshua in closing: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
If you want a recipe for success, there it is. That "book of the law" for you is the Word of God, and that promise stands as good today as when made to Josh. 1 can say far better than when made to Joshua, because we have the thing made far more sure. We have the revelation of God in Christ, and every assurance that if we make Christ first, we will have a prosperous way and we will have good success. So don't for a moment imagine that a life for Christ means failure. It can't mean failure. A life for this world must mean failure in the end, in view of that day. I would press it upon you young people, by the grace of God to lay hold on Christ as your Object; make this book, the Word of God, that by which you live and have your being, and you will have good success.