Last Monday night I finished one of my favorite books “Atomic Habits” for the fourth time. So far I’ve gone through it twice as an audiobook, and once on kindle, but it felt good to finish a physical copy.
The quote at the top of this post with stars around it jumped out at me as I looked through markings and notes. It reminded me that success in ministry isn’t based upon excitement, but consistency.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t exciting periods of minsitry filled with fantastic growth, of course there are! But those seasons of excitment don’t come along very often. Much of ministry (and the christian life in general) is repeated obedience with very few results.
This is dangerous because we can easily define results as being successful, and lack results as being a failure.
This idea is incredibly unbiblical, and has destroyed the testimonies of courntless christians who quit because they “weren’t getting results.” In Scripture we aren’t promised a life without suffering. Instead , God challenges us to endure suffering with faithfulness.
- Suffering should bring joy and happiness instead of frustration (James 1:2)
- We should embrace suffering since it makes us stronger spiritually (James 1:3)
- We shouldn’t try to escape suffering because it is making us like Christ (James 1:4)
- Our faith must remain strong in suffering instead of continually falling into doubt (James 1:5-8)
- In the suffering we must look expectantly to the deliverance of God (James 1:9)
- We endure suffering so that we can honor Christ in eternity for His redemptive work (James 1:12)
The Lord doesn’t define success by getting results……
He defines success by being consistent
The thing about repetition is it doesn’t draw attention to ourselves. It doesn’t give us an adrenaline rush…..in other words it’s boring. But repetition is also an incredible act of faith. The consistent christian life believes that God is at work even though it doesn’t seem that way, and acts on it.
Coming into missions as a young adult I expected it to be one adventure after another
Well let me tell you something….it isnt!
Instead missions is what Kevin DeYoung has called “plodding.” Doing the work of God day in, day out with quiet excellence not worrying about whether or not results will come. Yes there are mountaintops in ministry dear friends, but there are also many days filled with plodding steps.
So why keep going???
Because eternity isn’t here yet!
The consistent life of repetition at the end can say with the Apostle Paul “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Though I’m not at the level of Paul, I understand the consistent life prepares me for the final day. I don’t want to meet my Saviour with tasks left unfinished. The individual who defines success as getting results meanwhile will face the Lord having quit on many things.
God honors the good and FAITHFUL servant, not the one who seeks results
I am grateful for the spiritiual mountaintops that God has given. But I am more thankful for the days of boring repetition, because those are the days that make me stronger. And those are the days that draw me towards my Saviour.