AWinston Churchill, one of the greatest leaders in British history, is reputed to have said, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’
That one statement changes the way we think and achieve success, I would suggest it is certainly not what we have been lead to believe it to be. The success we have in our world is a win/lose scenario, to succeed some one has to loose or put it another way some one comes out on top and someone is below them. Which ever way we look at it success come at the cost of someone else, winning means some one looses. How can that define our world, if we are a corporate body as one, we all are affected are we not to laugh together to weep together and carry each other. What ever part of the body is affected it also affects you, so success is not just down to my world and situation, any way before i get ahead of myself, let me write a little more.
As a child and teenager we used climb the mountains around where I lived. Our valley was probably only about half a mile across at its base, it had a wide river that flowed down through it that formed a ‘Cwm’, the valley, the mountains rose high on either side. We used to climb up on Saturday mornings and attempt to get to the top. Halfway up on one side was a reservoir where we would take a break and skinny dip. This of course was the last thing I wanted my own children to do, because of its dangers, time moves on. One of the things I always recall was, we often thought we had arrived at the pinnacle of the mountain only to rise over the brow to find yet another mountain, hill to scale to get to the top. The success of arriving at the top as we saw it, was only to realise that it was not the final apex but another mountaintop stood before us to conquer again.
As we grow and mature in our Christian walk it is only then we discover that the failure in our own lives and the lives of others in corporate life of the church is never fatal. But God’s ways and plans are always above them all. God is not looking for successful people but he is looking for humility and willingness to learn, the willingness to continue whatever. Romans 15:13 says “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”, now all this hope, joy, peace laid out by the writer is there after being proceeded in verse 12 with a promise spoken from Isaiah (11:10) of the coming promise of hope in a person, in other words the God of hope, filling and abounding in staying true to the promise, in holding on, in getting up to the top of the mountain. Not giving up being confronted with another climb when you though it was all completed. Another hill, another brow, stay in, stay true keep the promise mountain before you and climb again.
A willingness to go again to the top, even when you thought it was to difficult to negotiate. In the same way Paul the apostle would quite often use the analogy of an athlete, trying to fill a picture in for his readers of all that is and was necessary to arrive at the completion, the fullness for us individually as well as corporately, for us all.
Before I go any further as an aside Paul the apostle said he had run the race, 1 Cor 9: 24-27 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
but I 1discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”.
You may ask what do you do with the word “run” here having made your statement of “win/lose”? The word Paul uses for “win” (Greek καταλαμβάνω) is not as we might think, its the word in original form is “from above to below,” hence completely, so that it is a strengthening of the simple act “to seize,” “to grasp”, In the NT its the simple form the character either of intensity (to grasp with force, Mt. 9:18), used of “to attain definitively,” in R. 9:30. Is the use in the intellectual sphere “to establish” (Ac. 4:13; 25:25), “to grasp fundamentally,” “to appropriate to oneself inwardly” (Ac. 10:34; Eph. 3:18). This is not about beating some one but more about completing my race with you, seizing, attaining, together as one.
Its getting up reaching beyond every brow and every mountain top once hidden now revealed, getting over them all. As the Hebrew writer takes up in Hebrews 1:1, 2 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Run with endurance, get over the unseen brow when you commenced your climb while holding in our minds sight not “success” but the promises of God in terms of Gods goal for all creation. This is undoubtedly what the Old Testament writers and prophets did they held on to see what God was engineering, brining about what God had said God would get. When Simeon (Luke 2) took hold of the baby, the deliverer the Christ, a bundle of wind, giggles, dribbles and snot declared he has received the “consolation of all Israel”. I wonder how many climbs, mountain tops, brows he had already climbed as a senior man holding on until his fullness came…
In all the saints of old and those we meet daily, are you not struck at the way they have filled their eyes not on success but on Christ, Christ filling all in all. Making their mountain top the goal of God in Christ.
So ask these as you look down this year
1 What have I seen
2 What promise has God made that I am to participate in
3 How can I merge my daily walk into Gods aims
4 What mountain top am I working toward, walking up
5 Decide, I will not be satisfied until the completion of Christs’ goal and Gods aim is filled in every walk of life.
To the Mountain, exceed by another brow, over the top we Go, to another view in God.