Hey Jesus Worshippers! I pray your Thanksgiving went well and you enjoyed time with family and friends.
A few weeks ago, I was a guest speaker on a podcast and spoke on the topic of ‘Defining Success Through God’s Standards.’ It was an awesome show and topic and I’ll link the podcast below once it’s available. The topic of the podcast reminded me so much of my journey of learning that God’s definition of success is much different from what the world calls success. I wish I knew then, earlier in my journey, what I know now. It would have helped me to panic less and surrender more. I’m sure many of you are on the same journey and you may need a little encouragement as God rewires the way you view success, so I decided to write a blog post on this topic as well. I pray that this blog post is an encouragement for you in your journey of surrendering to God’s way to success for your life.
What’s your definition of success? What does success look like to you? Does it look like lots of money in the bank, a great ministry platform, fame, a lucrative career, or a happy marriage with well behaved kids and a big house? But what if those things aren’t in God’s plan of success for you? Ask yourself: “does my definition of success line up with God’s definition of success?” Does the success that you’ve planned out for your life line up with the success that God has for you? And is your plan to success full of God and His leading or is it totally void of God and only full of you and your desires? The world has fooled us into thinking that success looks a certain kind of way (this way usually involves having a lot of money), but in God, success is something completely different. Success in God is not measured or obtained by what you have but by how you live. When you live to please and obey God you will be successful, and you will obtain success.
We all have goals, dreams, and plans for our lives and there is nothing wrong with those things, planning and setting goals prepares us for a better tomorrow. But as believers, to really be successful, we must make room for God in all of our planning. We have to make sure that we obey God and His word so that all that we have planned lines up with what God has for us. If we are not obeying Him, we cannot obtain the success that He has for us. Joshua 1:8 says, “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.” I love this verse so much because years ago God highlighted this verse to me and began to teach me what success in Him was. It was at a time where He was beginning to strip me of my idea of success by getting rid of my plans. He was uprooting my old, worldly foundation of success so He could lay His foundation of success. It was not an easy process, it came with a lot of doubts, questions, and even tears but He comforted me, led me, and gave me peace along the way. So, don’t let Instagram tell you what success looks like, don’t be entices by nice pictures with catchy captions and think you have to obtain those things to be successful. True satisfaction comes from living according to this success – success in God.
According to Joshua 1:8 success in God is obedience to Him and His word. When you live according to the word of God and obey His direction and leading in your life (however that may come), you will be successful. In fact, it’s impossible to obey God and not be successful. It’s impossible to meditate on God’s word day and night and not live the word. When you meditate on something long enough, you eventually begin to do it. As you meditate on God’s word and He begins to reveal the plans He has for your life and you walk out those plans, failure is impossible. Now, success in God for each of us may look different because what He will have each us to do is different. The path He has for me may not be the path He has for you. But if we each obey Him it will lead to His plan of success for us. Don’t measure yourself by what others are doing — what God tells one person to do may not be what He is telling you to do. Where God allows one person to go may not be where He allows you to go. Remember, success is not what is obtained, it’s living a life pleasing to God. The key is obedient to the word and obedience to what God tells YOU to do. Your parents may desire for you to do something completely different from what God tells you or you may have always dreamt of doing something else, but obedience to God is key to success in God.
So, what has God told you to do? Depending on where you are, you may be at a place where God is telling you to let go of things (things that may be attached to the world’s definition of success) or He may be telling you to step into some new things (things that are aligned to His plan of success for you). Whatever He may be leading you to do right now, do it! It may not be easy (oftentimes it isn’t), it may cause you to look crazy before family, friends, and colleagues; it may even be something you never saw yourself doing, but if you make up in your mind to do ALL that God tells you to do, “you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success.” There’s no better place to be than where God wants you to be. When fear, doubt, and unbelief try to creep in, meditate on verses like Philippians 1:6 which says, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is not going to start something in your life and not finish it. He’s not going to put you on a path and not see you to the end. Often times God has to strip us of old things and that stripping period doesn’t feel very good. It will sometimes make you feel vulnerable and make you wonder what God is doing with your life. But God’s word clearly says that “no one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause” (Psalm 25:3). When you put your hope in God and choose to trust His plans for your life, you may at times feel ashamed because of how things look, but the end result will not lead to shame. If God is shaking things up in your life, trust Him. All that He is doing and/or undoing will lead you to success, even it if seems like it will only lead to failure, embarrassment, and shame. Trust Him.
There are times when God’s journey of success for you will have you in one place (an undesired place) for a very long time. There may even be times where you will have the ability to move but He will tell you to be still where He has you. Everything He has you to do (or not do) is for a purpose. God will often try our hearts in this way. He wants to know if we will obey and trust Him or if we’ll get up and move according to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). The places that He wants to take you to, your flesh is not invited. Your flesh simply cannot go with you. So, He will take you through a wilderness season(s) to clean up your heart. He can’t have your flesh popping up when you get to the place He has predestined for you (whatever that may look like for you); He wants you to be mature when you get there. God’s path to success doesn’t always happen quickly, and it may not look like what the world calls success but there is purpose there. There are souls that He has waiting for you there. That’s why He has to test your heart along the way, so that you don’t bring a reproach to His name but that you bring Him glory.
In the world’s journey to their success, it’s all about doing whatever you have to do to obtain what YOU want. But in God’s journey to HIS success, it’s about letting Him purge, prune, purify, renew, and transform you so that He can accomplish HIS will and His expected end (Jer. 29:11) for you. He is the Potter and we are the clay. When we said yes for the very first time, that included yes to His will and to His plans for our lives. And we will have to continue to say yes throughout our journey with Him to reach His expected end. If you find yourself struggling to accept God’s process for you (and we all do at one point or another) ask Him to renew your mind and help you to yield to His will. When you don’t have a made-up mind to do it His way, you will find yourself constantly going back and forth between where He is leading you and where you want to lead yourself.
If you don’t remember anything else in this blog post, remember that whatever God tells you to do will lead to success. Obey the written word of God and obey whatever spoken word of instruction, direction, or prophecy He gives you. Obedience to Him leads to life and peace. Be encouraged on Your journey. If God told you to do something or has you somewhere that is uncomfortable, just trust His process for you and be confident in His plan for you. In the end, it will all work out for your God and for His glory. Eventually, you will begin to understand why He chose to do certain things in your life the way He did. Choose God’s way of success.
On this blog post, I wanted to focus more on obedience to God’s way to success. Below I will post a link to the podcast (once it’s ready) if you’d like to hear more from me about God’s standard of success.