Are You Ready for Success?
By Hal Lindsey
I hear Christians express frustration that they can’t seem to get their sensational, can’t-miss business or ministry idea off the ground. Or maybe they’re struggling to sell a piece of property. One sale, they think, would make them financially comfortable. And they always remind God of the wonderful things they could do for Him with the extra money. They wonder what He’s waiting for.
Is that you? Or does it describe someone in your life? He or she is so talented, so smart, and you can’t figure out why big success keeps eluding him or her. Consider this. It may be God’s mercy.
If you look at lottery winners over the last quarter century, you will find gut-wrenching horror stories. One study showed that a remarkably large percentage of lottery winners eventually go bankrupt. Also, people expect to be more generous when they get money. And it usually starts that way. But over time they tend to become more self-centered, and fearful.
You’re probably thinking, “But that wouldn’t happen to me.”
That’s what the Children of Israel thought. In Deuteronomy 8:11-14, God gave them this solemn warning. “Beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
In verse 17, He diagnosed the problem. “You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’”
In preparing for success, here are some things to remember. First, remember that real success originates with God. Second, when imagining success, think about the work of getting there rather than the comfort and excitement of being there. Third, make sure your ambitions are centered on things of eternal value. Max Lucado put it brilliantly in his 1994 book, When God Whispers Your Name. “Lower your expectations of earth,” he wrote. “This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be.”
And finally, stop using the world’s definition of success. Use God’s definition instead. Real success is not money, fame, or the esteem of man. It is faithfulness to God’s calling in your life.
But even there, pride will try to enter in. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7, “Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”
God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh for Paul’s own good. Some of the things He does for us don’t feel good at the time, but they are great in the long run. In John 15:2, Jesus said, “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
Most of all, remember this. Real success will come through your abiding relationship with Jesus. In John 15:4, 7-8, the Lord said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me…. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”