The Successful Christian Life – By Daniel Sheridan
As I write this, I am in pain. I’ve lived in constant pain for over twenty years. I tell you this not to draw attention to myself but because I want you to understand that my faith in my Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, isn’t altered by circumstances – I am no “sunshine patriot” regarding my God. My circumstances are the pulpit from which I desire to proclaim His glory and grace. A successful Christian life has nothing to do with circumstances, adverse or favorable.
Many believe in God’s promises for the future; however, many of these find no true joy in the experience of living. They feel no call from God to be good stewards of the gift of life God gave them. Life is a burden, something to be endured, something to escape.
I am grateful for this life, despite the poverty and pain. I’ve learned about my God through it, anticipating the world to come. God has brought joy to many hearts through great trials. Paul is a perfect example. His letter to the Philippians is the “free outflow of tender love and gratitude, and full of joy and cheerfulness in the face of life and death. It is like his midnight hymn of praise in the dungeon of Philippi. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice’ (Phil. 4:4). This is the keynote of the letter. It proves that a healthy Christian faith, far from depressing and saddening the heart, makes truly happy and contented even in prison.”
People’s exhaustive efforts to find joy and peace have left them restless and unsatisfied. Those who rejoice in God and rest satisfied in His Word find their satisfaction. “If anyone,” challenges F.W. Farrar, “compare the spirit of the best-known classic writers in their adversity with that which was habitual to the far deeper wrongs and far deadlier sufferings of Paul – if he will compare the Epistle to the Philippians with the ‘Tristia’ of Ovid, the letters of Cicero from exile, or the treatise which Seneca dedicated to Polybius from his banishment in Corsica – he may see, if he will, the difference which Christianity has made in the happiness of man.”
To live a successful Christian life depends on you and you alone. If you choose to find your joy in God and seek Him out in His word, you will be a successful Christian. How do I know? Because God will never let you down if you seek Him. Never.
How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flow’rs,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The midsummer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him
December’s as pleasant as May.
Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned;
No changes of season or place,
Would make any change in my mind.
While blessed with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.