A Successful Failure?

In today’s entry in His Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers makes a few excellent points. Namely, he reminds us that we are completely unable to learn to follow Christ as our True Savior until we realize that we are incapable of succeeding on our own. Chambers specifically quotes Matthew 5:11, a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus suggests that those who are “poor in spirit” (whatever exactly that means) will inherit the Kingdom of God.

That sounds fine and dandy at first read, and I’d even say that I agree with Chambers in his articulation and interpretation of this scripture. Yes, I understand I must seek Christ, and that He must intervene for me, and that I am completely unable to attain any sort of righteousness at all. I even understand that I must learn that I am, in Jesus’ words, “poor”, and I must learn this through, in Chambers’ words, stumbling over some obstacle that lies in my way.

So far so good. I need to be a poor spirit, which will lead to my sanctification through Christ’s saving me.

So, here’s where I’m confused.

How, exactly, does one live “poorly” in life when they are in a position of needing to be strong, decisive, confident, and willing to walk where there are yet no footsteps?

What I mean is this:  I have a life of leadership and trailblazing. I tread where there is no one yet to follow, but in a way which others will hopefully benefit by following my lead. Whether it be in business, or ministry, or even my role within my family, in order to succeed I must make decisions, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, which require 100% faith in myself and in my ability to pull through. I often look beside or behind me to find friends and relatives who doubt the possibility of achieving the goal I am pursuing, or who think I’m crazy for trying. I find my peers telling me to move on, and find an “easier” way to go. But I simply cannot live life that way, distracted anything short of success.

If I could speak to Jesus face-to-face, I would ask Him how I am supposed t0 go about being a confident and strong leader, while relying on Him and understanding my “poor”ness. How do I have confidence enough in my own human faculties to continue to lead successfully, while understanding that I am incapable, fallen, broken, unworthy, and have (and will perpetually) fallen quite short of God’s intentions for my life.

How do I practically live life knowing that I am an utter failure but still have the confidence to present myself as a success?

  • Mediocre Man

    You understand that you can’t do either and you have a beer instead!

    (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

  • SM

    Let me remind you, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37) It is precisely in this tension that you do move forward into everything. I actually delivered a sermon on this text with the catch-line because of the great love of Christ we must fearlessly charge into the unknown.

    The tension is this. You are poor. You have nothing to offer to God, yet, He has placed you here and now with the gifts and abilities which make you indispensable to those around you. I know this, I am around you often.

    The poor that you are supposed to be, in the sense that ‘blessed are the poor in spirit.’ (I believe) This sort of poor is that begging after the presence of God. It is a beggar who is constantly knowing himself to lack the spiritual thing of God and to be constantly looking to God to fill and multiply him. It is the sort of poor that keeps us always begging after the Almighty to bring us into a good and right relationship with Him, always aligning ourselves under Him.

    It is in this manner that you are indeed to trailblaze, to fix a path for others. It is this trailblazing that God has desired in you, that God has placed you here for. You are not comfortable with the easy path because He has not made you to be comfortable with the easy path.

    But, while trailblazing you must be confident in Him, always coming to Him for the strength and ability to press forward. Knowing that, when others call you to come down, you have been given the desires to press on by Him. But, without Him you will fall.

    Press on, in Him.

  • travis

    Thanks, SM! That’s some good stuff. Definately something I’ll read a few times.