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The Battle for Success

The Battle for Success

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Published by glennpease
Successful lives achieve their goals because of their ability to win battles in their inner being.
Successful lives achieve their goals because of their ability to win battles in their inner being.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 09, 2009
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05/10/2010

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THE BATTLE FOR SUCCESS based on I Cor. 3:1-15By Pastor Glenn PeaseIn the 35 years following the Civil War 3 success writers towered high above allothers, and they became successful by writing about success. All 3 were ordainedmen. One of them was Russell Conwell who was the pastor of the Baptist Temple of Philadelphia. He delivered his famous lecture over 6000 times, and raised severalmillion dollars with which he built a large university. The title of his lecture wasAcres Of Diamonds, and this is the story behind it:One day as he was jogging down the banks of the Tigress and Euphrates on acamel, led by an old Arab guide, he was told this story. There once lived in ancientPersia a wealthy and contented farmer by the name of Ali Hafed. One day an oldpriest visited him and told him about diamonds that had been discovered. He toldof the wealth and power that came with their possession. That night the farmercould not sleep. He was discontent with what he had. The next day he sold his farmand went off in search of diamonds. After wandering through Asia and most of Europe he had become a wretched man in rags and in despair. He threw himself into a great wave and was drown.The man who bought his farm was one day leading his camel through the garden,and the camel desired a drink. As the camel nosed the water the owner noticed aflash of light from the sand in the brook. He picked up a stone and took it home. Afew days later the old priest came to visit. He recognized that stone as a diamond.They rushed together to the brook, and thus was discovered the famous diamondmine of Golconda, the most magnificent of all history. Ali Hafed had lived on acresof diamonds, and died a failure because he didn't recognize what he had, and wasoff looking for it all over the world.Russell Conwell was impressed with this story, for he had seen a similar thinghappen many times. Numerous poor people sold their land to go off to improvetheir lot only to learn that their had been oil or gold on their land. He had been apoor farmer, and had run away at 15 to make a better life for himself. He went toEurope, but returned and fought in the Civil War. It was while lying in a hospitaltent dying from his wounds that he received Jesus as his Savior. He entered theministry and raised millions to build up a church and school to meet the needs of working class people. His conviction, like that of most success writers, is that everyperson can be successful if they recognize and practice some basic principles. Ourpurpose is to show that Scripture in general, and Paul in particular, support thisidea that all of us can be successful. We want to examine the basic principle thatPaul stresses to the Corinthians that applies to all of us. Let's consider-THE ARENA WHERE THE BATTLE FOR SUCCESS IS WON.
 
Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within you, and Paul made this same pointto the Romans when he said that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, butrighteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Corinthian Christians werefailing in the Christian life because they were like Ali Hafed. They were looking forsuccess somewhere out there in the world. But success is not found in externals saysPaul. All their search for success in following men, and getting excited about giftswith the most external display, is taking them far afield. Their acres of diamondsare not out there in the world, but they are within them.In verse 16 Paul writes, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and God'sspirit dwells in you?" Their greatest resource was right within them. They werewasting their lives in the futile search for what was already theirs.Paul tells them in vv. 21-23, "For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos orCephus or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; andyou are Christ's; and Christ is God's. In 4:8 Paul writes, "Already you are filled!Already you have become rich." Yet, with all of these resources they were failing.Paul is constantly telling them where they are failing. They were successes living asfailures when they should have been failures living as successes. If we recognizethat the arena where we battle for success is within, we can learn to fail successfully.History has some great examples of failures being the key to success. The famousatheist Robert Ingersall was once traveling by train with a companion by the nameof Lew Wallace. As they traveled they saw one church steeple after another. Therewere several in every town they passed through. Ingersall said, "Lew, you are alearned man and a thinker. Why don't you spend some time in research concerningChristianity's leader Jesus Christ, and then write a book proving once and for allthat he was an impostor, and thus relieve these misguided people of theirdelusions."His friend was captivated by the idea and agreed. He started immediately totravel and consult ancient manuscripts and original sources for the period of historyin which Jesus lived. His goal was to write a book proving Jesus was an impostor.He totally failed to achieve that goal, for he discovered that all the evidencesupported the fact that Jesus was who He said He was-the Son of God and theSavior of men. At the age of 50 he prayed to God for the first time saying, "O God,show yourself to me, forgive me my many sins, and help me to become a truedisciple of Jesus Christ." Lew Wallace failed to write his original book, but he wenton to write what has become one of the greatest books of all time-Ben-Hur. Hefound both success and salvation by failing to reach his goal because he found God'sgoal for him.History is full of such experiences. God seems to delight in bringing good out of evil, and success out of failure. William Wilburforce was a hunchback who sufferedfrom many cruel jests, but God used him to so fight for other underdogs. He got abill passed through the British Parliament that set a million slaves free. AlexanderWhyte was born out of wedlock. He got the worst start in life, but he ended up asone of the greatest preachers in the history of Scotland. His books are read around
 
the world yet today.The purpose for Paul writing to these immature babes is to help them becomemature in Christ, and able to digest the solid food. He wants them to reap thereward of the riches within them. Paul is convinced that failures can becomesuccesses. He knew this for he was one of the most successful failures in history.One of the great themes of literature and the Bible is this theme of success out of failure. The ugly duckling becomes the beautiful swan. Rudolf the Red NoseReindeer is mocked for his unusual nose, but in the end he becomes a hero.Cinderella the lowliest becomes the highest and noblest. In the Bible it is Joseph thedespised brother who becomes the hero and savior of his people. The stone rejectedby the builders becomes the chief cornerstone, and He who is despised and rejectedof men becomes the one before whom every knee will bow.This theme is so universal that it ought to teach us clearly not to write off anyfailure, for the facts of life show that failure is one of the key roads on the way tosuccess. It is almost impossible to succeed without failure. The arena is within, andif you do not let failure defeat you there, you can always press on to success. Paulspent a lot of time with the Corinthians. It was about 18 months, and yet they arebabes in Christ with all kinds of problems. Paul did not throw up his hands indespair, and give up on them because he failed. He wrote this letter, and God usedthe failure of both him and the Corinthians to give the whole world the blessing of this Epistle. Had Paul given up and let externals discourage him, then he wouldhave been a failure.Twixt failure and success the points so fineMen sometimes know not when they touch the line.Just when the pearl was waiting one more plunge,How many a struggler has thrown up the sponge.Author unknownSuccessful men always take that one more plunge, for they know the only realfailure is in giving up. Washington won the Revolutionary War by retreating. Hegave up so much territory, and he surrendered so many strategic positions, and lostso many battles, and yet he was not a failure because he never quit. He pressed onthrough all his failures to a final success. The battle out there in the external worlddid not defeat him because he never gave up within.Our Lord battled within over the issues of success and failure. He had muchopposition from the leadership of Israel. It would have been easier to succeed hadhe conformed to their will. All would have been easier had he yielded to thetemptation to take Satan's shortcut to power. The people also wanted to make himking. He had numerous roads to success, but he resisted them all, and he took theroad of apparent failure to cross. He set his face like a flint to go to the cross and doHis Father's will. W. J. Dawson wrote,He dwelt within the wilderness

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