What do you define as success?
Graduating college. Marrying the love of your life. Hitting your goal weight. Making it to the gym at least 3 times a week. Cutting out junk food. Raising good kids. Building a career for yourself. Hosting fun get together’s. Shopping good sales. Keeping a clean home. Reading through the Bible in a year.
What brought you to the conclusion that these things make you successful?
Success is found in obedience.
Success is not measured by how quickly or efficiently we meet the goals in our own minds, but how faithfully we follow with our hearts in obedience.
Are you getting this?
Results do not equal success, obedience does.
At the end of the day, you can achieve everything set before you but completely miss all the Lord had for you.
I am currently going through the Bible study, “Share Jesus Without Fear” by William Fay and Ralph Hodge. In it, they say, “A passion for witnessing is more like love than determination.”
How many times do we say after we sin, “I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll try harder and I’ll get it right next time.” And then we don’t, and the guilt (not conviction, because there’s a difference) seeps so deep it takes days to move past it. It’s vital to take a moment and hit on this while we’re here: conviction is healthy. We all need conviction. If you can’t remember the last time you felt convicted (and you don’t go to a church that preaches the Word providing opportunity for that, but instead provides feel good talks that any motivational speaker could give), this is serious. Conviction is what prompts us to change and is a tool used by the Holy Spirit to chip away at bad habits and make us more like Jesus. Not because of some super-natural guilt trip, but because we’re so madly in love with Jesus we want to honor Him in every way possible. Conviction draws us closer to Jesus because it points out the sin that separates us from Him. From there, we confess, and grace bridges the gap. However, guilt is not a tool used by the Holy Spirit, but by the enemy. Make sure you know who is doing what in your spirit.
Now, back to the promises we make to ourselves and to God but fail to keep and the quote from this Bible study. There is something to this – we view our success as a Christian based on our own ability to get it right instead of His ability to make it right. Our power as a believer comes not out of our determination, but out of our love for Christ and His love for us.
Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statues and keep His commandments…
1 Kings 8:61
The words “wholly” and “devoted” in this context are translations of the Hebrew word “shalem”, meaning: complete, safe, at peace.
You see, our completeness, or “success”, our safety and our peace, is directly related to how we respond to whatever it is God has laid directly in front of us. And we can have a 5 year plan and a ten year plan, we can check off everything cutely highlighted in varying colors on our to-do lists and weekly planners (please tell me this isn’t just me…), but if we miss the small moments when the Holy Spirit tries to take us in a different, unplanned, direction, we will look back and realize that we really missed it all.
Success is found in obedience. In the small moments of full surrender, dying to self for the sake of something bigger and greater – not in the monumental things that make it seem like we are accomplishing everything we dreamed we would.
By all means, dream. Dream big and dream bold and be brave in following those dreams. But don’t follow the dreams that aren’t leading you down the path that God has laid out for you. Don’t let your dreams get in the way of your success. Dreams are reached by habits. Make a habit of seeking Him. If you are seeking Him, you will find Him. And you will have reached success.