“The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success” – The Holiness Project – Day 41

One of the things that I truly dislike (to not use a stronger word) is the whole prosperity theology thing.  As if God is somehow here to give me wealth, health and happiness and help me to achieve my dreams.  People who preach this kind of nonsense use verses like I quoted above, especially 3 John 1:2 which, they claim, proves that God wants us to be successful and prosper.

Actually, I do believe that.

What I take exception to is their, obviously, unbiblical definitions of success and prosperity.  They claim that John just meant normal financial success in life and that we shouldn’t try to spiritualize it.  Well, actually, I agree with that as well.  Yes, John is talking about normal financial success (with all of the practical results that entails).  No doubt.  The question is WHY?

“The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success (continued)…” – The Holiness Project – Day 42

My apologies to those who just want to get on with talking about the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. Upon reflection, I realized that I needed to give this whole idea a bit more of an introduction than just one post. So this post continues from the last one…..

In the last post, I tried to differentiate these 7 Laws of Spiritual Success from the whole Prosperity Gospel thing. Like most heresies, it is based on a half-truth. God DOES want to prosper us (even financially) but He prioritizes our Christ-like character first (including our stewardship) and defines prosperity and success in terms of eternal values and a higher purpose (saving mankind from their sin). This perspective is what we call “spiritual.”

“Everything is Spiritual” – The Holiness Project – Day 44

“Thank you for another week of self-discipline and success in fulfilling my daily tasks. I know that I can do all things (that are your will) through Christ who strengthens me. I am learning to have a grateful and positive attitude towards life.  After all, you have wonderful plans for me.  I believe that those plans include writing, publishing and selling my books, seminars and movies as well as becoming a Spiritual Life Coach, International Speaker/Podcaster and Author…”

That’s how I start my daily prayers each morning.

“Ambition is Expected” – The Holiness Project – Day 45

The problem with “ambition” is that it is a dirty word among Christians. It is intrinsically bad, or sinful, or wrong in the eyes of many people. It sounds selfish. It sounds worldly. But it is not.

There. I said it. The cat is out of the bag. I am an ambitious person. And I believe that God wants me to be.

Apparently Paul was fairly ambitious as well. His famous statement that he forgets the past and strives towards the future is quoted by many Christians and self-help gurus alike. Ambition is a normal part of our human existence. What makes our ambition “spiritual” has more to do with the rest of Paul’s quote. He says that his ambition is to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV).

Now we’re talking…

“Discipline is Essential” – The Holiness Project – Day 46

There are no results without self-discipline. Discipline is essential.

There is no self-discipline without spiritual ambition.

There is no spiritual ambition without a conviction that everything is spiritual and that your life is a ministry no matter what it is that you do or how you express it.

Discipleship, Stewardship and leadership are the results of self-discipline and they are essential in co-creating with God a wonderful life of effective ministry.

Self-discipline is key to it all.

“Life is Ministry” – The Holiness Project – Day 43

My youngest daughter’s name is Michelle.  She is now 18 years old and just finishing High School.  Next year she wants to go to the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, B.C. Canada where her sister, Melanie, went.  In fact, we all want to move to Canada next August if possible.

Michelle attends the Buenos Aires International Christian Academy (BAICA) here in San Fernando.  It is not really a bilingual school, more like an 80/20 school (80% English and 20% Spanish).  Michu (that’s her nickname) is totally bilingual.  She has gone to that school most of her life.  When she was younger she had a best friend who went to school there as well.  They were inseparable.  We thought they would be friends for life.  Let’s call her friend, Lizzie.

“Discipleship is Warfare” – The Holiness Project – Day 47

This argument against God is as old as time itself.  If God is love and evil exists, either God is weak or He is not as loving as we make Him out to be.  It usually comes in a more philosophical form, but you get the idea.

The problem is that God has an eternal perspective (and we do not).  The central message of the Bible is that our rebellion against God (sin) has eternal consequences that are so horrible that it is almost beyond belief.  The very fact that God, Himself, came in the flesh to be tortured and killed in a painful death on the cross in order to save us should give us some indication of how serious the situation is. 

God’s love compelled him to sacrifice Himself to save us from the results of our alliance with evil.

“Stewardship is Accountability” – The Holiness Project – Day 48

The original title of this post was “Stewardship is Simplicity” and you can imagine why.  After all, we are talking about success and the world likes to define that in terms of resources.  What is that bumper sticker slogan that seems to make people smile?  Oh, yes.  “The one who dies with the most toys, wins!”  We know it’s a bit childish but the truth is that success has been defined that way since the beginning of time.

We define success as relational in terms of our relationship with God.  Some people would, no doubt, agree that success is relational but in terms of human relationships – with your spouse, your family, your friends and having the respect of your community.  Good stuff, just not enough for Christians.  For us, success is “pleasing God by becoming like Christ through a lifestyle of effective ministry.”

“Leadership is Influence” – The Holiness Project – Day 49

Like millions of other viewers, I have been enjoying The Chosen – a new film series on the life and ministry of Jesus.  It is called The Chosen because it is focused not on Jesus but on the twelve disciples, the ones “chosen” by Jesus to follow him.  It is a fascinating character study and makes each of the personalities come more alive in the process.

I have to admit that, at first, I wasn’t sure I liked how the writers developed Peter’s character.  They had him collaborating with the Romans against his own people (which is not very likely) but, as time goes on, I have to admit that, details aside, they nailed his character exactly right.

“The Missing Link” – The Holiness Project – Day 50

People are already asking me to clarify the title of this series and perhaps here, in the conclusion, is the best place to do it.  The question seems to be the difference between calling this series “The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success” (which is the actual title) or “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success” (which, in some ways, I prefer).

My goal was NOT to talk about success as being either “spiritual” or “worldly.”  Every thing is spiritual (especially for Christians).  For most people, to be a famous actor or a “successful” businessman or woman or to accomplish a life-long dream of traveling the world are common ways to define success.