I have for the most part always been the type of person who is doing something, although I will admit ever since I have been walking with Christ they were not always profitable ventures. As far as I can recall, none of these were because my self-worth was on the line, that I needed to accomplish something to look either better to or of more value than those around me, nor were they done in any sense of self-satisfaction or gratification, I simply did what I wanted to do, the outcomes were rarely considered.
Those who attend, at least for the most part, higher levels of educational institutions do so with a specific goal in mind, most generally to learn the knowledge in their chosen career field, something I could never quite understand. To plan when one is quite young for what they hope to achieve over the next half century was far too long a goal for me to anticipate, the goal needed to be right in front of me, attainable or at least in hope attainable. I have many times set goals for myself I was fairly sure I would not be able to attain, but it did not sway my efforts, to not try, in my mind, is worse than failure. Unattainable goals are to me the ones that are the most sought after in my thoughts now at this point in my life, and I have put more effort into them than any other I have ever attempted, for these will not assist me so much in this world as in in the next.
“Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Would you care to try that one for a goal? How about this, “Be conformed to the image of His Son,” (Romans 8:29) or one that I know for a fact I am going to fail at, die to self. (Gal. 2:20) The highest goals set before man are the ones set before us by Almighty God, and no man who is afraid of failure need apply, only those who are willing to live in humility, those who are prepared to sacrifice all for Him, even unto their very lives need to contemplate embarking upon these challenges. I will fail, I know for a fact I am going to fail, my own sinful nature will intervene, I will heed the call of self-desires, I will fall into some of the traps that Satan will lay for me, I will beg for mercy from the Lord, He will set me upon my feet again, and I will go right back to work. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
It is easy to slip, I am quite proficient when it comes to falling on my face or putting my foot in my mouth, I have had many years, even decades of practice, the call of the world is much louder at times than the quite voice of the Lord, (Job 33:31) I am not very good at being still and listening to him. (Psalm 46:10) If I would take even a small percentage of the advice I dole out so well, I would be a better man, if I would heed more proficiently the words that the Holy Spirit has me write in these letters to you, well, I think you understand my meaning. I rarely if ever do anything that does not need to be done, but I have found that everything that I have done that did not in someway glorify God was a complete and total waste of time, most of my life has been lived making wood, hay, and stubble, if there was any gold, silver, or precious stones, (1 Cor. 3:12-13) only the Lord can see them, even to this very day I see myself as unprofitable, unfit to be called by His name, unworthy of the tasks that have been placed before me, but attempt them I do, and will continue to.
I cannot be holy, I cannot be Christ-like, I cannot die to self, these are unattainable tasks for me, and so they are the only one’s worth pursuing. It is the Holy Spirit that works within me, and I fight Him not constantly, but enough at times to know that I am still failing at what I am called to do. To deny ourselves is to either allow Christ to control us, or to let others do so, we cannot serve two masters, “For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” (Matt. 6:24) The subject matter is clear, who you serve is who you love, what entices you the most, what draws you to itself is where your heart is, the problem is I seem to be trying at times to store up treasures in two different treasure chests, I want to buy the field with the great pearl in it, (Matt. 13:44) but I want to keep the cost of the field at the same time. I am commanded to love, I fail miserably, I am commanded to walk in humility, to love mercy, and do justly, (Micah 6:8) to not love the world or anything in it, (1 John 2:15) and although I do not consider myself a failure, I am quite good at falling.
Those who fall and decide not to get up, to stop trying, to just quit and accept whatever the consequences may be are allowed to call themselves failures, I am a man of God, called to a specific purpose, each and every day I heed that call, neglecting my worldly responsibilities at times, neglecting even my most treasured possession here, my beautiful wife, but I have been called to go, and go I will. I am seeking the face of God Himself, I have set my face like a flint to know the mind of Christ, I am spending my life in an open willingness to the calling of the Holy Spirit, and I am failing and falling every day doing it. You would think that He would get tired of picking me up and setting me back on the path, but I don’t think He does, I think He loves me, in fact, I know He does.
The scars of the heart are what make a man of God my friends, not those of the flesh, Christ has already taken those wounds on the cross for us. Falling is easy, trying is easy, getting up is hard.