We all know what it is like to fail!
In fact, I feel like my entire life has been cycle after cycle of trying to succeed but coming up just a little short. The crazy thing is, compared to other people I may be doing really well but there are always people who are doing better and so I feel bad about what I have done or are doing. Does this sound familiar at all? I may be the only one who goes through this, but I don’t think so.
Success is something that we all want, but that we rarely feel we achieve. I think in our minds we believe that the road to success, the path to a successful life is a straight line, but truthfully it isn’t-which makes it really hard to determine whether or not we are moving in the right direction.
Our career seems to be going nowhere,
Parenting is harder than we ever believed possible even though everyone else seems to be doing fine,
Relationships are a struggle,
The Christian life runs contrary to our culture,
As much as we want to influence others, we wonder if we are really making a difference.
There is a right way to do things, but the right way does not mean there will be a straight line to success. I believe that God has a plan for my life and a plan for your life and that He is not too excited about us living our lives frustrated and defeated. And yet for many, all of us from time to time, that is exactly what happens.
The question before us is: If God desires for us to be successful, how do we live that life?
I think there are three key elements all found in the Old Testament book of Joshua, 1:8. Read the verse and then we will look at the elements:
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
So what are the steps?
First, we need to Review
Our verse begins by saying: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,”
In the context of this story, the fact that God tells Joshua to study scripture is remarkable. You may know about Joshua but if you don’t, let me give you the short version. Joshua was second in command of the nation of Israel after the great leader Moses. Joshua followed Moses for more than forty years but now, after Moses’ death, he was in charge! And if taking over for one of the greatest leaders to ever live wasn’t hard enough, God told Joshua that it was not his responsibility to move the nation of Israel into the Promised Land, kick out the current inhabitants, and establish a home for a few million people. Reading the first few verses of Joshua it is easy to tell that this plan was one that brought a great deal of fear. God had to repeat the words to “Be Courageous”, “Fear Not”, and “Go into the Land.” I would imagine that Joshua looked at himself and said, “I am not Moses, there is no way this can all work out!”
And then God lays verse 8 on him. He tells Joshua that there is success to be found, but only if he does a few things. The first thing? Review Scripture!
The reason this is crazy to me is that I have had quite a few times that I said to myself, “if only I could have a personal talk with God, I would be Ok. If I could just hear him say the words, I would not be afraid.” Joshua was having an actual conversation with God and he was still told to read the Bible! God told him to do the same thing He tells us to do-to read and meditate, to review the Word.
What do we learn as we review the Word? We learn that success looks different for each persona and that often it does not look like success at all. Here are a few examples:
Joseph (Hebrews 11:22)-God could have promoted Joseph any way and at any time that He wanted to but allowed Joseph to go through ten very difficult years. We don’t really know why God did it this way, but He did! The path to success often makes no sense.
Moses (Hebrews 11:23) may have been one of the greatest leaders in history but it did not start that way – He was a murderer hiding in the desert to avoid God before he finally submitted to God’s will. Then he was the great leader we are familiar with, but at the end of his life could not finish his journey because of sin.
Peter (John 18)-Rejected Christ, quit, preached at Pentecost and led thousands to Christ, made some mistakes, died in obscurity.
Paul (Acts 9)-Persecuted (and probably murdered) Christians, changed the world, martyred for the faith.
We have to get away from the mindset that “Success” has a particular look. Success is different for each person and may not ever “Look” like success. Stop comparing and live the life that God wants you to live.
Not only this but in the scriptures, we get the context to clearly see our lives the way God intends for us to see them!
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
2Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
This is a revolutionary concept because we live in a world that demands conformity to its definition of success. We need to define success according to our creator not according to those who want to be something different than they were created to be!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Everything changes and everything makes sense when we finally settle that understanding must come from Him!
The second thing we need to do is Define
Look at our verse again:
“that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Without a clear definition of success, we will always fall short. If we cannot identify our target then we cannot hit it. While I’m sure there are several good definitions of success, my favorite is this one by Dr. Charles Stanley:
Success-The continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set.
Success is not a quantity that can be measured or a concept that can be fully defined. It is a concept embedded in a process. It is establishing and accomplishing and forever seeking to establish and accomplish the God-given goals the HE sets for our lives.
The road to success, the path of life is up and down it is good and bad, hopefully, more good than bad, but it is in the pursuit of our Savior that we find success, not in the one time events that we allow to define our lives or the arbitrary requirements placed on us by a confused society!
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world:
Here is the question: If you see the definition of success as being growing conformity to Christ, what would that change in your life?
The final element on the Road to Success is Rest
One more time:
” for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Let yourself off the hook and rest in Christ-pursue Him with all of your heart and take Him at his word when He says, and then you will have good success!
Success should not be defined by the arbitrary numbers that society, or family, or our own insecurities thrust upon us. We need to do the very best that we can with the resources that God places in our hands, but, while managing God’s resources we must never forget that Christ did not die so that you could have stuff, or influence, or leverage over other people,
He died to have a relationship with You!
And that is why God, the only one who really matters, defines success as hearing His Word and doing it. Growing into conformity to Him.
Success-The continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set. – Dr. Charles Stanley
Take the pressure off yourself
Stop comparing yourself
And live in the victory and peace that comes from our Creators Road to Success!