How To Make a Success of the Christian Life

Title: How To Make a Success of the Christian Life

Bible Book: Luke 9 : 23

Author: Michael A. Guido

Subject: Christian Living; Victory



A boy won a trophy for swimming. His mother said, "I never won a trophy." "Mom," he asked, "did you ever try?" "No," she admitted. "Well," he said, "that's why you never won."

Some never win because they don't begin. Others never win because they are always giving in. The good news is that with Christ within you can win. Being a Christian is offering yourself to Christ; your mind for Him to think through, your heart for Him to love through, your lips for Him to speak through, and your life for Him to live through.

Suppose I want to be a baseball player. How can I manage it? I put on a stylish uniform, select a choice bat, swing it around energetically, and walk briskly to the batter's box. The people say, "There goes a ball player. What a colorful uniform. Look at his beautiful bat. See how he walks." But when the balls are thrown, I strike out. It was all profession. It was all put on from the outside. I posed as a baseball player, but it did not work.

A profession of Christianity will not make you a Christian. Just as putting on a uniform, going to a baseball park and working out did not make me a baseball player; so being baptized, joining a church, and partaking of communion will make you a Christian. But suppose the world's greatest baseball player offered to come into my life. I ask him to come in, and I place myself at his disposal. He would think my mind, walk with my feet, hold the bat with my hands, swing with my body, and live in my life. Then I would be a great baseball player. But he cannot come into my body, so I will never be a great baseball player.

But that is the secret of becoming a Christian. It is praying, "Lord Jesus, please come into my heart. " He promised in Revelation 3:20, "If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in." When you invite Him to come into your heart, He comes in by His Spirit. He makes you a Christian and He enables you to make a success of the Christian life. He takes possession of your thoughts and you have the mind of Christ. He fills your heart with His love and you have the love of Christ. He takes possession of your life and like St. Paul you can say, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

With Christ living in you, giving you His strength and power, it is possible for you to live the Christian life. But to make a success you must:

I. Search The Scriptures Daily

You are cultured by the Bible. It is written in 2 Peter 3:18, "But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." The only way you can grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord is by reading the Bible daily and prayerfully. If you do not grow in grace, you go into disgrace. Life is an incline. If you do not go up, you go down. If you do not come closer to the Lord, you go farther from Him. So heed 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow by it." If you grow, you will gratify God. If you do not grow you become a dwarf, and you disappoint God.

You are changed by the Bible. It is written in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Lord." The "we" of this verse are the believers. The "mirror" in this verse refers to the Bible. You will find this brought out clearly in James 1:23-25. When you read the Bible you behold the image of Christ. As you behold Christ you will want to become like Him. As you surrender to Him you are changed and you become Christlike.

You are cleansed by the Bible. It is written in Psalm 119:9, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed therto according to Thy Word." A farmer said to hi hired hand, "Fill this basket with water." He dipped it into a pond, and the farmer said, "Do it again and again." "But," protested the boy as he dipped it the third time, "it won't hold water." "No," he admitted, "but it's clean now." It was our Lord who said in John 15:3, "Ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." By reading the Bible persistently and prayerfully you will become clean.

You are curbed by the Bible. It is written in Psalm 119:11, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. It is a rule to square you in life, a fire to warm you in coldness, a spring to refresh you in weariness, a spur to move you in idleness, a staff to strengthen you in trial, and a sword with which to defeat the devil. Every time the devil tempted our Lord, He said, "It is written..." He used the sword of the Spirit, a verse from the Bible, and He defeated the devil. If you do not pray and read the Bible every day you are like a soldier going to fight an enemy without strength.

The last officer to leave Bataan said, "let me tell you why we were defeated at Bataan. It wasn't the enemy, nor their ships, or planes, or weapons. We didn't have any food. All of the time we had the foe, but no food." So feed before you fight. And James 4:7 promises, "Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Buy a good Bible with a readable print. Vow to feed your soul as regularly as you feed your body. A prophet said in Jeremiah15:16, "Thy Words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." Begin every day by reading your Bible, and begin the reading of your Bible with prayer. David prayed in Psalm 119:18, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." Then memorize Bible verses that appeal to you and meditate upon them so as to be able to live them. Always remember that with the prayerful perusal, there should be a patient practice. Then a chapter a day will keep the devil at bay!

II. Unceasingly Pray

A foreman caught one of his men with his eyes closed. "Sleeping?" he asked. "Nope," he answered. "Can't a fellow say his prayers once in a while?" You can say your prayers once in a while, but you can also pray as you perform. When I put on my shoes I pray, "Father, help me to walk in paths of righteousness." When I cleanse my teeth I pray, "Lord,, cleanse my tongue, and help me to speak the truth in love." When I dress I pray, "Lord, help me to put on Thy armor." When I undress I pray, "Lord, I cast all my cares upon Thee." That is the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."

You may pray anywhere. Daniel prayed in a lion's den, Jonah in the belly of a fish, Peter on the sea, and the thief on the cross; and their prayers were answered. You do not have to hurry to a sacred place to pray. The Lord is right there with you. That is why it is written in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need." The Lord will never turn His back on you, nor shut His eyes to you, nor close His ears on you. When you are tempted and tried, call on Him, and He will help you right in the nick of time.

You may pray a short prayer like Peter's three-word prayer, or a long prayer like Solomon's eleven-hundred word prayer; you may pray for wisdom or wealth, health or happiness, strength or souls; and the Lord will answer you. There is no prayer too hard for Him to answer, no need too great for Him to supply, no problem too hard for Him to solve, no person too sinful for Him to save. He is the Lord who can and who will answer prayer.

But observe stated times for prayer. David said in Psalm 55:17, "Evening, and morning, and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." There should be a morning prayer. Begin every day and every thing with prayer. Seek the face of the Lord before you see the face of man. If you put Him first, in every day, every choice, every plan, richest blessings shall be your s every day. There should be a noonday prayer. If you pray right, you will not live wrong. But there is no need to assume any prayer posture. No matter where you are at noon do not neglect the GPO-the Great Prayer Opportunity. There should be a prayer at night. When the day is over ask pardon for the sins of the day and protection for the sleep of the night. Then leave every one and every thing with the Lord, and that with thanksgiving. But there should be family prayer in addition to personal prayer. A family altar will alter many a family. And the family that prays together stays together.

III. Confess Every Sin

Do not expect to sin. Why should you with an ever-present and all-powerful Savior? He has not called you to be overcome, but to overcome. Do not give the devil the right to say he can defeat you. He can tempt you, but he cannot make you turn-able. You will be tempted, but expect to triumph over the tempter through the Lord Jesus.

Do not excuse sin. If you do not retreat from sin, you will advance in it. The further you go down in sin, the harder it is to come back. And as long as you pet sin, it will poison you. Kill it or it will kill you. Turn from all sin and every doubtful thing.

Do not excite sin. A father told his son not to go swimming, but he disobeyed. "Why?" he asked.

"Because I had my bathing suit with me, " he answered. "Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" asked the father. "I knew I'd pass the swimming hole," explained the son. Too many carry their bathing suits. Turn from the pleasures, the places, and the people that will make you want to sin.

Give up everything for Jesus, but do not give up Jesus for anything. But if you do sin do not repress your guilt feelings. Regret your sin. Resolve not to repeat it. Make restitution if possible. Then confess your sin to God. 1 John 1:9 declares, "If we confess our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When God forgives, He forgets; so should you. He promises in Hebrews 10:17, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." With God's Spirit within you, His strength behind you, His arms beneath you, His promises before you, you are more than sufficient for the tests ahead of you.

IV. Confess Christ To Others

The business of every believer is to confess Christ to others. One night a young fellow stood up to confess Christ. He was speechless for a moment, but after drying a tear and clearing his throat, he said, "I'm here to confess Christ. Jesus promised that if I'd tell others about Him, He'd tell the Father about me." That is exactly the meaning of Matthew 10:32, "Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father."

This does not mean that you are to confess your church, but Christ. Not your faith, but your Father. And you are to confess Christ not only with your manners, but especially with your mouth. Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saed."

Your business in confessing Christ is not telling others who you are or what you have done, but rather who He is and what He can do. Our Lord says to you as He said to another convert in Mark 5:19, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."

Our Lord added in Mark 16:15, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But you may say, "I can't preach." You can. The word "preach" is spelled p-r-e-a-c-h. Remove the letter "p" and you have reach. Remove the letter "r" and you have each. To preach is to reach each of your family and friends with the gospel. Your greatest mission is reaching them for Christ. Your greatest mistake is not reaching them for Christ.

If you talk to the Lord about your family and friends, you will soon talk to your family and friends about the Lord. Begin today to confess Christ, and keep at it every day; prayerfully, persistently, and patiently. To confess Christ by lip and by life is the only reason Christians are left in this world.

V. Enthrone Jesus As Lord

It is one thing for the Lord Jesus to be a resident in your heart, but it is another thing for him to be the president. It is one thing to be converted, but it is another thing to be consecrated. It is only the consecrated Christian who makes a success of the Christian life.

Your consecration must be clean-cut. Suppose I owned a large pecan grove, and you saved my life. "Ask what you want," I say, "and it is yours." "The pecan grove," you say. What would you think if one week I sent you all of the pecans, the next week all of the leaves, the next week all of the branches, the next week all of the roots, and the next week all of the soil? Would you appreciate that gift? Not much. Just so, let your consecration be definite or clean-cut. Romans 6:13 urges, "Yield yourselves unto God."

Your consecration must be continuous. A boy was asked, "Is your father a Christian?" "I think he was once," answered the boy, "but he has not been working at it lately" Too many live an up-and-down life because they do not live an out-and-out life every day of their lives. He must be Lord of your life where you work as well as where you worship, where you play as well as where you pray, in your house as well as in His house, in the market place as well as in the Master's place. This must be a daily doing. Our Lord said in Luke 9:23, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

Your consecration must be complete. A passenger said to a ticket agent, "Give me a ticket for Virginia." "Which part?" he asked. "All of her," he answered. "Here's Virginia, my daughter." That is what the Lord wants, all of you. The Living Bible says in Romans 6:13, "Do not let any part of your bodies become tools of wickedness, to be used for sinning; but give yourselves completely to God-every part of you."

A stranger asked William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, "What's the secret of your success?" "God has had all there is of me," he answered. Does He have all there is of you?

VI. Seek The Fellowship Of Christians

Watch your friends. Every person you go with will either lift you or lower you. Every place you go to will draw you closer to the Lord or drive you farther from the Lord. Every pleasure you engage in will make you a better Christian or a worse Christian. Turn from that person or place that will cause you to put the world above the Word, pleasure above prayer, popularity above principle, self-indulgence above self-control, comfort above character, money above morality, influence above integrity, gold above God. James 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

Watch your fellowship. The church was planned by God, purchased by Christ, prospered by the Holy Spirit, and peopled by believers. Join a church where they believe the Bible and behave it, where they love the Lord and the lost, where there is passion for prayer and personal soul winning, where they care for not only Him but all who are His. Join such a church and be faithful in your attendance.

Hebrews 10:25 urges, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together."

Watch your functions. Work for Christ and the church. The opportunity is brief, do not delay. The task is difficult, do not relax. The path is narrow, do not wander. The prize is glorious, do not faint. One day a restaurant advertised "Enthusiastic Stew." "What kind of stew is that?" asked a customer. "The best," said the owner. "The chef put everything he had into it." Put everything you have into working for the Lord! "This is one thing I do," said Paul in Philippians 3:13 and 14, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

VII. Support The Work Of The Lord With Your Means

Someone has said, "Our money is tainted. 'Taint mine, 'taint yours, it's the Lord's." And 1 Corinthians 16:2 states, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him."

Your giving should be periodical, "upon the first day of the week." If your giving is wrong, your living is not right. It should be habitual, not haphazard; systematic, not slipshod.

Your giving should be personal, "let everyone of you lay by him in store." This applies to the young and the old, the poor and the rich. Take time out to thank the Lord for His gifts to you, and then ask Him to guide you as to what you should give Him. If you give your best to the Lord, He will give His best to you.

Your giving should be proportionate, "as God hath prospered him" Many people give in an attitude of tipping the Lord. They eat the meat of their income and give the Lord the bone. They eat the bread of their income and give the Lord the crumbs. But your giving should be "as God hath prospered" you. If you do not make your giving according to your income, God may make your income according to your giving. Bear in mind that the work of the Lord depends on your paying as well as your praying. If you will be generous with the Lord, He will be generous with you.

"But," you may say, "it will cost me much to make a success of the Christian life. It will, and it cost the Lord much to save your soul. The Lord gave all for you. Should you not give all for Him?


Many years ago a ship was nearing the harbor when a collision occurred. Many lost their lives trying to swim to the shore. One man was returning from the gold mines, and he had a belt of gold around his waist. It was everything that he had worked for. It was everything he had. Looking to the shore, he said to himself, "I believe I can make it to the shore, and save my gold as well as my life." Just as he was about to jump into the water, a little girl who was a stranger to him, looked up and said with tears, "Won't you please save me?" "Go away, girl," he said, "I can't save you and my gold." "Oh, sir, please save me," she begged. "I don't know you. Go away," he answered. "Please, sir," she cried. "If you don't save me, no one else will. I'll perish. Please save me." Dropping his belt of gold, and picking up the girl, he said, "Hold on, dear. I'll save you." He made it to the shore, with the girl, and he fell exhausted on the sand. But the little girl threw her arms around his neck and cried, saying, "I'm so glad you saved me, but I'm sorry you lost your gold. Oh, thank you for saving me." "That," he said, "was worth more to me than all the gold in the world." Dare you exchange your gold for God, your silver for souls? Nothing is too precious to give up for the Lord. Give up everything for Him, but don't give him up for anything.


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