“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” ~Joshua 1:8
Does God care if we have success over things we do here in this life on earth? Yes! God absolutely wants us to succeed—but more importantly, He wants us to look to Him for everything. If we choose to turn away and think we can do it on our own, He will allow us to fail to get us to turn back to Him.
“Then He said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” ~Luke 12:15 NIV
The world’s definition of success differs greatly from God’s. We need to understand that our relationship with God needs to be our number one goal in this earthly race to success. If we gauge our successes by worldly standards, we’ve lost the race before we even started. The acquisition of things and stuff and the “abundance of possessions” is the way the followers of this world determine success. God, on the other hand, judges our success more on what’s below the surface and in the heart.
Spiritual things are not physically visible. Just because someone appears to be poor on the surface, doesn’t mean they are wanting in areas that really matter. Never judge a book by its cover or a man by his possessions. Only God knows a man’s heart.
“He said to them, you are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” ~Luke 16:15 NIV
God calls us to live triumphantly! If achieving success were sinful, God would not have told Joshua the secret to success. God wants us to become willing to humbly obey Him. We must keep our eyes on Him and in His Holy word in order to succeed at this.
The distractions of this world, the riches, the fame, all the things and stuff of this earthly life have nothing to do with this success. No, God is talking about putting spiritual things first rather than becoming seduced by the things of this world—only then will He give us success in all that we do. Our choice; chase after the things of this world, gain monetary wealth or chase after God, and have it all!
“For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~Matthew 6:32-33
God will lead us into His will for our lives. He gives each one of us a unique gift that’s tailored to our God-given assignment. The Spirit of God will reveal our calling to us, all we have to do is follow His lead. Our greatest desires and talents are from God, and if we allow Him, He will use them to achieve His good purpose. He gives us the ability and desire, provides the opportunities and enables us to achieve whatever He puts on our hearts.
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 7:21
How do you define success. . . ?
Do you equate success with monetary wealth, or do you see the eternal significance? Yes, God wants us to have a good life here, but He cares much more about our eternal life.
We can amass wealth and acquire lots of things and stuff and look like a really big deal, but that doesn't equate to success, or even to a good life. There are many miserable, wealthy people. In fact, most wealthy people are relatively empty. If we focus solely on gaining the things of the world, we are focused only on what you can see and not on God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Matthew 6:21
And don’t try to fool yourself into believing that you can do both. That’s a trap that I’ve fallen into more than once. If we put all of our time and energy into earthly success, we are not spending any time with God. We must choose the things of this world or the things of God.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” ~Matthew 6:24
This word mammon simply means the excessive things of this world. We either have our eyes on God or on this world, we can’t be focused of both. However, when we focus on the Lord, put Him first in everything we do, He then gives us the desires of our hearts.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4
Does this mean we will get everything we ask for, everything we want? Does it mean we’ll never fall or struggle, never have problems or tribulation? Of course not, our faith grows through these things. God shows us His presence through our problems, and He will lead us out of every bad situation if we let Him. We must only believe that He is there in everything, to hold us up, guide us through, and give us peace.
“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” ~Psalm 37:24
There is a right way and a wrong way to succeed. His way is the right way. He wants to direct us down the paths of righteousness so we can succeed. If we acknowledge Him regarding every decision we need to make, He will direct us . . . that’s a promise!
We must learn to stop trying to do everything on our own and start calling on God when we repeatedly fail. If we truly trust in the Lord we’ve got to get serious about considering to change our ways. The entire book of Haggai the prophet and his mission to rebuild the temple of God can be summed up in one sentence . . . On your own you will fail—consider your ways, obey the voice of the Lord because He is with you—be strong and work, do not fear.
The term consider your ways is found multiple times in this story because if we aren't willing to consider that we are doing it the wrong way, we can never change.
“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” ~Haggai 1:4
We need to begin to understand success from the Lord’s perspective: our goals should align with Scripture; then the Holy Spirit will direct us, and only then we can follow with joyful, exuberant confidence. God wants us to work for Him and live our lives by His words, not by man’s.
We can try to do it our way; spend our lives chasing our tails, building up our own houses, seeing to our own desires, or . . . we can surrender to Him and His ways, caring more about His plans. Only then will we finally succeed and find real peace. Consider your ways!
“Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” ~Haggai 1:5-6
Rarely do you see an exclamation symbol in the Bible! But this verse starts with one, and the reason is obvious, it’s to help us see that on our own we will fail. Our ways do not work. On our own our minds will be led astray by Satan. Our motivation will become greed and envy. Not until we surrender our ways for God’s ways, will we ever be spiritually blessed. Only when building up His house and pursuing His purpose becomes our goal, will we truly succeed.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” ~Romans 11:33
Q: How do you define success?
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