I guess my background and training as an engineer has always caused me to ask “why?” Whether conducting an experiment in a college laboratory or wondering why a certain Christian seemed to be missing the blessings that God had planned for him, I have always wanted specific answers to the question “Why?”
I have often taken time to ponder the “why” question as it relates to the successes and disappointments that I have observed in my life and the lives of others over my 44 years as a believer. Why do some Christians always seem to have the blessing of God on their lives while others seem to constantly struggle? I believe there are three characteristics that yield success in the Christian life that I have seen emerge in my life and the lives of others. These characteristics are consistency, availability, and spiritual passion.
Consistency simply means doing the same thing over and over again. An athlete that trains and practices on a daily basis will normally be much more successful that an athlete that trains in a haphazard manner. This principle works for students and business people alike. This principle also works in the negative. If a person consistently drinks alcohol or takes illegal drugs, they have a very high chance of becoming an addict. For the Christian, consistent obedience in lifestyle, prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers leads to the blessing of God according to His Word.
Availability is the second key. God is much more interested in availability than ability. Jesus didn’t target the super religious Jewish businessmen called Pharisees as His followers, but rather He called fishermen and other common people. Jesus is looking for folks that don’t “have it all together” so that His amazing abilities can flow through available “earthen vessels”. When Ann and I founded Victory Fellowship Church, we did whatever was necessary to meet the needs of the people. I was the preacher, janitor, music leader, and general flunky. She also preached, cleaned, took care of the children, and spent hours in counseling. The church grew and thrived because we were willing to trust God rather than our own abilities. Now, 18 years later, we are surrounded by a wonderful group of people that have given their hearts to Jesus and their time and energy to spreading the gospel.
Finally, spiritual passion is the glue that holds it all together. Genuine love for Jesus keeps commitment from becoming obligation. Only through an ongoing relationship with the Savior can we allow the love of the Father to flow through us on a daily basis. When I miss my time in God’s presence and in His Word, I tend to become bitter, offended, self-centered and worldly. Only by spending time with Him can my spiritual passion for Jesus become stirred up and active. Only when I am full of His Spirit can I continue to reach out to the broken and hurting.
Whether believing for the blessing of God in our own lives or sharing the life of Jesus with another, without consistency, availability, and spiritual passion, our results will be mixed at best. I encourage you to examine your life and see if these characteristics are working to bring about the good things that God intends for you and your family.