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“Most people seem to believe that success is limited to a certain group of people who bear distinct success qualities, or they believe that only a certain segment of society has any hope of achieving success–and that segment is not the segment of which they belong. Others firmly believe that success is something that can be attained only by those who are willing to lie, cheat, and steal from the common good, and therefore, success is not something a Christian should desire.”
Hi, I’m Lauren and according to the world, I am wasting my life. According to the world’s opinions, I am failing, but that doesn’t matter.
I’ve been reading a book lately called Success God’s Way and it has been changing my life. As someone who got married when they were 18, didn’t go to college and doesn’t have a job I’m someone who doesn’t fit into the normal, worldly standard of success. But that’s alright because the only thing I should be worried about is what my heavenly father thinks of me. When we aren’t focused on what the world thinks of us it is a lot easier to be the person that God has called you to be. The only way a Christian can be successful is if they are actively striving to be the person that God has called them to be.
The Bible is the perfect guidebook to being successful. Success for the believer often times doesn’t mean wealth, status, and fun it usually means sacrifice, self-control, and a life of giving. But we can thank God because just like Paul put it, we run to win an imperishable prize. So to get started let’s first decide what success means to us.
Success God’s Way can mean a lot of different things.
“It is in being a godly person and then obeying God in His directives that we find success as Christians.” or in other words “Success is the continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set.”
As believers in this world, we need to make sure that our definition of success lines up with what God tells us. And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again the only place that we can truly know what God wants for us is through the Bible. When we read the Bible consistently our minds begin to be molded and transformed. We are slowly transformed into people who will glorify God because of our obedience and the fact that our thoughts line up with His words. Because the Bible doesn’t neatly define success for everyone, success will look different for every believer, but there is one underlying theme throughout our success. That theme is obedience. In the garden of Eden before sin messed everything up it was in our nature to obey God and through that show our love to Him, but when sin came into the world it changed our nature. No longer was it our first thought to love and obey what He said, now as sinners, our first thought is selfish and absolutely contrary to what God has lovingly told us. So to really find out what a successful life is like we look to before sin had entered the picture.
And what do we see? We see Adam and Eve harmoniously living together and having a close personal relationship with God. And I think that is what success is. There was no strife against what God had told them, they willing obeyed because they knew their God loved them and did what was best for them. And we see this said again and again throughout scripture. In John 14:15 Jesus says it again in the simplest of terms, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
So the basis of a successful life then is simply obeying what God has told us in the Bible. Obeying God first and foremost will be a solid foundation on which you can build the rest of your life. And when you have this solid foundation of obedience it will be much easier to determine if you are being successful. Because success isn’t just one moment of glory or the finishing of a major project. “Success is [to be] found in the way you live day in and day out.”
And once we have that solid foundation of obedience there is so much freedom in what God wants us to do with our lives. Now I’m not saying that we should perfectly obey everything in the Bible before this next step because as weak human beings that’s simply not possible. We will always have a battle with sin, but by God’s grace, He helps us improve every day.
So take a second to think for a moment and think about some things that you want to do in this life. Actually, this might be best to think and mull over for the next week.
It’s a good idea to write these goals down somewhere in a private journal so that you can remember them. And then organize them into 6 different categories.
4. Vocation (Work)
And if you have a spouse it would be a good idea to talk with them and see how you both can set goals for your family and your finances together.
The next step is to further categorize them by time frame. For example, there are some goals you can do today, for example, I set my immediate goal as reading the Bible every day and praying for 15 min. The next time frame is ‘short range.’ What can you do over the next 2 months- 1 year that will help you achieve this goal? And then finally is your ‘long-range’ goal. This goal is generally more an overarching principle with how you want to live your life. For example, my ‘long-range’ goal in the family column is to “make a home that welcomes my family and is spiritually vibrant.” And so that long-range goal is something that I work toward every day.
As we set goals in our lives we must ask ourselves these questions…
“First, ask God, ‘Why is this important to You, Lord?”
“Second, ask about every goal you set, ‘Does this fit into Your plan for my life?”
“Third, ask yourself, ‘Is this goal totally in line with God’s Word?”
“Fourth, ask about each goal, ‘How might the accomplishment of this goal bring blessing to others?”
These goals are intense, they’re serious, and they’re God-honoring. And these goals you write down should and will impact how you live your daily life. Because “any goal that is true of God is going to have a fervency (passion) about it.”
So I hope most of you have some goals in mind in at least a couple of categories, but for those who don’t the best way to create those goals is to pray for direction. Pray for guidance in how to live our your life. And if it aligns with God’s will, He will bless it.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law, he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields fruits in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” 1
“Only the things we do that have God’s benefit, purpose, or quality associated with them are things that will last. They are the only things that will be related to our reward in heaven.”
So with God and His word transforming our lives, we can strive together to be the people that God has called us to be. Because real success in this life isn’t doing the greatest things or being the most famous. Success is really about being the one who every day is living for God and in God’s power.
We will never reach perfection in this life, we will never reach all of our goals, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t “…run with endurance the race that is set before us” the next verse explains how we can keep on running, “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 2
I pray that all of you who read this will really think about the goals that you should set in your life. God-given ideas and aspirations are never a bad thing and I pray that you faithfully act on what He has called us to do. For everyone, this will look different and that’s ok. So let’s ask ourselves, “What one step can I do today to help reach my goals?”
“Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep his statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn.”3
I hope you all have a blessed week of intentional living. I’ll see you all next week with an exciting new series.
If you want to dive deeper into the idea of godly goal setting I cannot recommend the book Success God’s Way by Charles Stanley enough. It literally changed how I saw our day to day life as Christians. I put the Amazon link down below.
Redeemed by the King