Believers are not immune to desires for success. I think some people believe that when you give your life to Christ, there is little else to be desired or accomplished. After all, isn’t that the most significant event—most important turning point—in a person’s life?
And there’s more.
Although we may understand the life-changing and life-saving decision to follow Christ, we may struggle with what it means for us practically, trying to navigate the rough terrain of life—now.
You could ask several hundred people what success looks like to them and get a myriad of answers. Most would reference something related to affluence or prominence. I would argue, though, that success begins with trusting Christ as Savior and extends beyond salvation into daily yielding to Him as the Lord who governs our life, leading to success. After all, salvation is to security what sanctification (separation to God) is to success. True success, then, is rooted in and derived from a deep, abiding relationship with Christ that permeates every layer of our being and saturates every decision we make.
What have you always wanted to do? For me, it’s writing. Writing is my passion, and for many years now I’ve tried to hone this passion. It’s really not the monetary benefit that is sometimes available to writers that drives me, but rather it is the voice represented, encouraging others to be more like Christ in everyday life.
So what does success look like to you? Finishing the book? Launching the blog? Landing the dream job? Getting your degree? Being a great parent? Being well-off financially? There’s certainly nothing wrong with any of those aspirations, but the most important successes—those that will have impact lasting throughout eternity—will have Christ at the core.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen Covey’s directive to “begin with the end in mind” is a wonderful admonition. The goal [for believers] should always be to please God. Therefore, we must begin with that end (pleasing God) in mind. Since we cannot be truly successful without our Lord, how should we begin the road to prosperity? Follow these steps:
1. Spend time in the Word and in prayer (Luke 18:1; John 15:7). This is the most important step, yet many believers fail to do it consistently. It’s daily. In fact, it’s so daily that it may be difficult to maintain for those who do not perceive an immediate benefit. However, the road to prosperity begins with God’s Word and steadfast communication with Him.
2. Get to know Him (Phil. 3:7-11). This step is the grace-filled outcome of step one. Spending time in God’s Word and in prayer enables us to get to know Him better. Many Christians claim allegiance to God, but they don’t take the time to get to know Him. Out primary method for developing intimacy with God is learning of Him through His Word and getting to know Him experientially.
3. Get to know you (Phil. 3:15). Getting to know the Lord is the prerequisite for getting to know ourselves. Why is that? Simply put, if we want to know the creation, we need to ask the Creator. He made us and knows everything about us. When we get to know Him and understand His plan and desire for us, it will prompt us to consider our thought-life, attitudes, behavior in light of His plan. When we are attuned and sensitive, the Spirit of God reveals to us the things that do not fit and helps to move toward the right path.
4. Develop a listening heart (Prov. 1:5). Steps 1, 2, and 3 are precursors to developing a listening heart. A heart that is sensitive to the Spirit of God readily receives the Word as truth and life. And a heart that is sensitive to the Spirit receives clear direction for how to proceed according God’s plan.
5. Be obedient. (James 1:22-25). We are called to obedience, and the blessing is according to our obedience to God. Success, then, is outcome of obedience! Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4, when they move us to follow through, leads to eternal prosperity. For the believer, eternal success should be what we desire.
You can’t be successful without these steps. Do you need to think differently about what true success looks like? Do you need spend time reading about those who enjoyed meaningful success because they chose to follow Christ in every area of their life? Take time to review the steps in life. What could be different? What should be different?
Let’s talk. Leave me a comment! You would be helping me and others, too.