Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV) “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
How do you define success? What makes you successful in any given day? I find that as I grow and change throughout my lifetime that this word takes on a new meaning with each season. As a young person, it was making it to class on time. When I had a houseful of young children, it was to take a shower some days. As I have grown older, it is to laugh without having to excuse myself. Sorry about the “TMI”. Looking back over my life at my age, I find that the things I once thought defined my success or failure in life were not necessarily of my own design but rather driven by society and others.
I worked from home when all five children ranged from infancy to elementary school. At one time, they were spread across four schools all over town. It felt like I was a cross between housekeeper, lunch lady, and taxi driver. Each morning, I would get up early showering and preparing for the day as though I was actually going to work outside our home. I didn’t want to get into the t-shirt/ yoga pants routine. So many times, mamas forget to take care of their own needs to care for our families, husbands and children. I was sitting in yet another parent pickup line when I noticed that one of the princesses had left her crown on the floor of our minivan. Quickly retrieving it, I ceremoniously placed the tiara on my head adjusting it in the rearview mirror to the chagrin of my toddler watching from her car seat. I became the queen in that instant with a chuckle. I wore it as I retrieved my little princes and princesses from school. They did not find it quite as amusing as I did. I am the Daughter of the King. I have the right to walk through life successfully each day in whatever capacity of life that I live. I am not subject to my circumstances but bound by the mandate on my life given to me by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus – teach me to live successfully each day as such.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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.” Could it be so easy? Am I bound for success simply because God’s Word says so? If I meditate on it day and night careful to do everything in it – will I really be prosperous and successful? Well, there really is only one way to find out. We must test it. The only way to know if you can do it is to commit our life to it and see what happens next.
Proverbs 2:6-8 (NIV) For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Jeremiah 29:11 promises the Lord knows the plans that He has for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Jesus plans to give you a hope and future. That’s awesome right? Now what? If we read just a little farther it tells us to call on the Name of the Lord, come to Him, pray and listen for His Voice. Success is found when we seek the Lord wholeheartedly. The Lord gives us wisdom in His Instruction. His Ways are perfect for us. (Psalm 18:30) During our creation, a carefully detailed purpose was recorded moment by moment and day by day for my life which included a future and hope that is completely possible because of God’s Grace. (Psalm 139) His Grace is enough for me to live a prosperous and successful life despite my many failures. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) God has not given me the spirit of fear including doubt, worry or anxiety that comes along with it. (2 Timothy 1:7) So it is courage hidden in my innate character beneath the layer of sin, shame, guilt and regret that the Lord desires to press out of me so that rather than merely surviving – I will begin to thrive now all the way into forever. What if I told you today that the only thing between you and the prosperity of God in Jesus Christ is sin, would you avoid those things contrary to God’s Way immediately? Oh how I wish it were that easy…
3 John 2 (NKJV) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
True success in life is found when our soul prospers. It resonates through our life from within us to our natural life. Applying the Word of God first to our heart, it makes its way to our mind. Over time, the Spirit turns what we read about the Lord to what we know as understanding and discernment take root in our heart and seeds of faith begin to grow. Our perception of success begins to change as we learn to seek satisfaction rather than gratification. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) The enemy of our soul wants to live for immediate gratification. What’s the difference? Glad you asked.
To gratify means to give pleasure to a person by satisfying desires, humoring inclinations or feelings. To satisfy means to make full or complete. Satisfaction is fulfillment and contentment. It is confident acceptance. Gratification requires constant supplication as our feelings and emotions change along with our circumstances and conditions. A satisfied soul is content in all situations because it is full of Jesus Christ. We settle for gratification when we do not take the time to know and understand satisfaction. His Name is Jesus. He is the Only One who can ever complete us.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I do not believe it is God’s Will for His Children to live in lack. I believe contentment is to be thankful every step of the way. If we could only walk by faith and not by sight – everyone would be completely successful and prosperous. However, life is full of distractions. Watch television for an hour and you will be subject to at least four commercial breaks and sometimes more. Each advertisement lasts between 30 to 60 seconds. During that time, markets have a very limited amount of time to convince you that you want or need what they are selling. I used to pass car lots driving to work each day. I would look at the cars on the lot and think about stopping by on the way home just to look. Here is a good philosophy for life – if you don’t have money don’t go shopping. We feed human nature when we look, compare and entertain the lesser things in life.
Contentment is born of thankfulness. Those things you think you want and have been labeled a need are not as important as the satisfaction that lives in you already. You, my friend, are a Son or Daughter of the King. Why are you scrambling for crumbs under a table that has a place prepared for you? Confidence builds courage in our life. His Grace gives us strength in every weakness and shortcoming allowing us to live in a state of successfulness every day. Our life is scripted by the Hand of God to perfection. We must simply know and understand His Plan including His Way and Will which all comes from His Word.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (I Timothy 6:6-7) Are you content today? Do you feel satisfied? Contentment and satisfaction do not come from natural and imperfect things. The very thing we think will bring us satisfaction turns into sorrow if not from the Lord. The contentment based on emotions is not confident but conditional. We can live a successful and prosperous life. It is not found in this world or anything in it.
Psalm 23 (NIV) The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If I am unsuccessful today – it is not because the Lord has not given me success but I have failed to claim it in my life. To live successfully begins with contentment and satisfaction in Jesus Christ alone. To believe that He can, will and already has provided everything we need for a satisfied and prospering soul. I once had a preacher friend who worked in a church. He was let go by the executive pastor and harbored deep hurt and bitterness. One day, I had a hair appointment and ran into him while the man was waiting on his wife at the salon. He felt like the Lord was leading him to write a book about the 23 Psalm and as he was sharing his thoughts I noticed that in his notes each verse had an accusation and reference about the person who had hurt him. The Word of God was a sword that he was using to accuse the man of his wrongs that had hurt him. I felt so sad for him in that moment and began to pray for the removal of the root of bitterness. This was many years ago. Recently, I ran into the couple at the local Wal-Mart. He still continued to reflect on the wrongdoing and hurt of his past. I asked him if he ever wrote his book. He said, “No.” Our ability to be successful and prosper is only possible when we put our faith, trust and full expectation in Jesus Christ. We must live according to His Word of God to have the Will of God which makes His Sons and Daughters successful!
Is the glass of your life half empty or half full? His Desire is that it is running over. According to Psalm 23, the Lord anoints our head with oil and “overflows” our cup. His Goodness and Love are pursuing you and me today. His Purpose is that we will dwell in His House (His Presence) forever. Please take note the overflowing cup is found at the table prepared before our enemies. It is going to take a people who are confident in their Lord so that they will be bold and courageous to claim such a life. The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing. Without looking around, can you tell the Lord that today? You are my Shepard. I lack nothing. I have everything I need to be successful today. It is found solely in you, Jesus. Keep my eyes on you. Keep my heart close to you. Keep my thoughts fixed on you. Satisfaction will bring the success that I long for. I will be content lacking no good thing. You alone are my portion and my cup. You make my lot secure. You will show me the way of success and fill me joy in Your Presence. I believe it Jesus. Amen and amen.
Psalm 16:5-11 (NIV) Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.