By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory: 9 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal, 2022
I have the privilege of speaking to crowds around the world. The people I meet at those events don’t know me personally. Perhaps they’ve read one of my books, and hopefully, I’ve given them a good impression while speaking. Yet, they don’t know the real me. And I don’t know them. We can hide from the crowd. We can say just enough to make us look “real” but too little to be truly vulnerable.
My wife and family, however, know me intimately. They see Joel Comiskey close up and know how successfully my faith translates into the nitty-gritty of life. They witness how I deal with real-life circumstances and whether I’m living the Christian life, rather than just talking about it. Words take a backseat to action and lifestyle. They know how I act and who I am.
God’s work of grace starts with the inner circle. In that circle, we receive criticism, true encouragement, and make mid-course corrections. As we pass the inner circle test, God can then use us in greater spheres of influence.
God’s not interested in public success without private victory. The two are inseparable. In fact, Christ prioritized teaching twelve disciples for three years so they might later pass the multitude test. He wanted those few to successfully apply his words in daily life and action. By concentrating on them, Jesus would eventually reach more and more people. But he needed to focus on quality first. The quality would bring the quantity.
John Maxwell, the famous author and teacher, wrote, “Success means having those closest to me love and respect me the most.”
This made success for him possible only if he included his wife and children in the journey. Maxwell’s success depended on putting family first. Maxwell realized that to truly succeed in this life, he needed to be growing closer to the most important people in his life.
JCG normally writes about small group ministry in the church. Yet small group leaders and pastors don’t succeed long-term unless they prioritize those closest to them. If a leader is single, those closest to them might be parents or close friends.
Prioritizing those intimate relationships will help the leader become fruitful over the long haul. Granted, a lot of grace needs to be applied here. Children have a mind of their own, and marriages are rarely perfect.