Posted on 20 February 2014.
Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs
Do you want to be successful? Successful at work, successful in your relationships, in your marriage, as a parent, successful in life? We all want to be successful. I’ve never met anybody who wanted to be a failure in life. The problem is we often define success the way our culture defines success. Our culture tells us if you want to be prosperous and successful, you need to work hard. If you work hard and rise up the ladder and push it to the grindstone, and if you’re willing to do what others won’t do, you will be successful. There’s nothing wrong with working hard; the only problem with working hard in order to be successful is that you can work hard at the wrong thing. You can give your life to something that you shouldn’t give your life to. You can spend all your time doing something and the thing you’re doing isn’t the thing that God created you to do.
Our culture also tells us if you want to be prosperous and successful you need to make a lot of money. Again, nothing wrong with making a lot of money, but the trouble with gauging success by the amount of money you have is that there is always someone who will have more. Besides that, you can lose your money at any moment. If you tie success to money, and the money goes away, your success is gone. And beyond that, you can’t take your money with you when you die anyway. So if success is based on how much money you have, and you leave it all behind when you die, then at the end of your life you haven’t been successful. A lot of people confuse wealth with success. You can be wealthy and be a failure at life. Your net worth is not the same thing as your self-worth. The two don’t go hand in hand.
But our culture tells us if we work hard and make a lot of money will be prosperous and successful. We’re also told if we want to be prosperous and successful we need to invest well, we need to live in the right neighborhood, we need to drive a certain car, we need to have a particular look, and we need to know the right people. And again, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but the problem with saying that good investments, and a nice house, and a name brand shirt equals success is that you can have all of those things and still miss the point of why you are here on planet earth.
What if success is something different, and what if the path to success is something altogether different?
After Moses died, God tapped Joshua on the shoulder and said, “I want you to be my replacement for Moses. This would be the ultimate test of Joshua’s life—to see whether or not his leadership was sufficient for the task that God challenged him with. Do you think Joshua wanted to be a successful leader? Of course he did, just like you want to be successful. In Joshua 1:8 God told Joshua how to be successful. He said, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (NIV).
God says if you want to be successful you need to know My Word. That’s not what I would have guessed. I would have thought He would have said, “Joshua, if you want to be prosperous and successful, if you want to take the Promised Land, if you want to defeat all your enemies, you will need to be the strongest and have the best weapons and work really hard, and work over time, and invest well, and meet the right people and make the right connections.” But that’s not what God told him. God said, “If you want to be successful don’t let My Word depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night, and be careful to obey everything in it.”
Here is true success in life: To stay in the Word of God until we find the will of God so that we can walk in the ways of God. God has a different way of defining success than we do. We define success in what you have, what you achieve, what you own. God doesn’t define success that way. The Scripture makes it clear that God defines success in different ways—right living, peaceful relationships, being in harmony with God and other people. That’s success in God’s eyes, and it is only found through knowing and living the Word of God. My encouragement to you this week is to spend some time in God’s Word so you can be successful in the things that truly count.