Johnson City Record Courier
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Four Traits of Successful Christians
Thursday, November 22, 2012 • Posted November 22, 2012

Someone once noted that in a baseball game we try to hit a homerun, in a football game we want a touchdown, in a track meet we want first place, and at school we strive for an “A” in every class, but in Christianity we settle for mediocrity. So many think that lettering in a sport or being on the “A” honor roll or prospering in this world is what defines success. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things, a person can have them all and still be a total failure because success is not measured by worldly accomplishments. A successful life is the one that leads to Heaven. This is truly the one and only measure of success. The person who is a faithful Christian is the greatest of all success stories. Now, based on that, let me ask a personal question. How successful are you right now? Some say that they want more than anything to go to Heaven, but they spend little time working toward that goal. If Heaven is your aim, then you have one of the four traits that will help you accomplish this notable task, which is desire. You see, it takes genuine desire in order for us to be the Christians God wants us to be. Our honest and earnest desire must be to grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2-3; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 2 Peter 3:18). Many want good things and crave spiritual blessings, but they lack the genuine desire to do what is right. It is far easier to follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2). Successful Christianity demands that we cultivate in our hearts the desire to come out from among the world and stand up for what is right (Ephesians 5:11; Proverbs 28:1). God wants His people to have a burning desire to serve Him (Romans 12:11). The second trait necessary for a successful life is discipline. Desire that is not accompanied by discipline leads only to chaos and confusion (Jeremiah 3:25). According to the Scriptures, we cannot do whatever comes naturally (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11). There is a way that God expects His people to live (Titus 2:12). As Paul wrote, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). If we fail to practice self-discipline, we will find ourselves fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Jesus alluded to the need for self-discipline when He said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Another noteworthy trait of successful Christians is dedication. We need to be dedicated to the study of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15; Psalm 1:1-3). How often should we study God’s Word? I believe we can answer that question with another question: How often are we troubled, tempted or tried? I seem to find these things present in my life on a daily basis. Perhaps that gives us some insight into how often we should spend time in God’s Word. Daily Christianity demands that we study God’s Word so that we can walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Like every living thing, our faith needs to feed on God’s Word daily, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Finally, successful Christianity takes determination. It is truly amazing what a determined person can do! Each one of us should be determined to do better than we did yesterday. We should make up our minds to do more for the Lord each day so that we can hear “well done, good and faithful servant” (Luke 17:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Matthew 25:23). We need to share the kind of determination Balaam had when he said, “all that the Lord speaketh, that I must do” (Numbers 23:26). We should also be determined to allow the difficulties and trials of life to be opportunities for growth. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). The never ending difficulties we face give us countless opportunities to exercise and strengthen our faith. Make the determination right now that the trials you encounter will drive you closer to God. This type of determination will fortify your faith for your heavenward journey. Jesus once said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Always remember that no matter what you accomplish in this life, it is nothing without spiritual success. Jesus died for us so that we could live for Him now and with Him in eternity (2 Corinthians 5:15). Because of Jesus: Desire + Discipline + Dedication + Determination = Spiritual Success. If you have a Bible question, please call (830) 868-9911, email or visit worship services. The church of Christ in Johnson City meets on Sunday at 10am for Bible Class, 11am for Worship, 6pm for Worship and on Wednesday at 7pm for Bible Class.

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