Does God Want Me To Be Successful?
As a modern Christian man have you ever asked the question, what does it look like to be successful for me in today's world?
If we're going to talk about what success looks like, we have to first define ‘what is success’? There are a lot of questions for Christian men such as, am I supposed to be pursuing success? The first thing that may come to mind from the world standards is financial prosperity, some level of financial success and worldly status. When I say status, I am talking about the house, the car and all of the status symbols that the world is pursuing. It could be a certain level of income that you're trying to attain to as well as the title. It's all those status symbols in life that the world is pursuing and has set as the standard for what success looks like for modern men today.
What does it look like for us as kingdom men to pursue success, and should we? That is the question we need to address. Should we be pursuing success? We have already looked at how the world defines success. Most people are chasing success from a worldly perspective, worldly ambition, driven by selfish ambition, and they just want the stuff, right? The stuff that we think is going to make us happy if we finally get it and that becomes the measuring system, that becomes where we get success language from and this idea that I have ‘arrived’ when I have the next new thing.
Depending what kind of Christian tradition, you grew up in, you may have been told that we should not pursue success, that as Christian guys, or as Christians in general, we should not be chasing success.
It comes back to calibrating the language and defining what is success. Let’s look at Joshua 1:7-8
And he says only be strong and very courageous, be careful to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do. According to all that is written in it for, then you will make your way prosperous and you will have success.
The Lord is speaking to Joshua about leading the nation of Israel into that promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, abundant with resources and prosperity, it is a picture of everything they need. This is a type and shadow for us of everything the Lord's called us to have as Christians under God's government known as the kingdom of God. We can see here that the Lord's desire is for us to be successful.
I want to share something that I learned writing The Standard. I learned that every man has a calling, a purpose and a unique design. We all have a corporate calling and we're not even scratching the surface to say our purpose is to glorify God, to be conformed into his image and to reflect his image in the earth. Not only do we have that corporate calling, but you have a specific individual, unique calling and purpose on your life. There is a unique and specific individual calling and design for you.
A literal translation of Proverbs means wisdom for ruling and reigning in life. This presents a picture of fulfilling and walking into everything the Lord says you are to be, and what he says you are to have ruling and reigning in partnership with him in your station in life. Or we could say your specific sphere of influence, the place where you're called to occupy, advance and do business in.
In Proverbs King Solomon actually says that a man's gift will make room for him and bring him before great men. So think about that for a minute. You have a unique gifting. You must develop it, but you have a unique gift thing inside you that the Lord has given you. If you're diligent and you're disciplined to develop what the Lord has placed within you, that gift can bring you before great men. It can bring you before Kings. It can bring you into your appointed territory, your appointed assignment, into your sphere of influence, where you're called to rule and reign in your sphere of life.
This means there is a mountain for every man. I firmly believe this, there is a mountain for you. There is a place that you're called to occupy. There is a place that God has designed and destined over your life for you to step into and exhibit and reflect the glory of God as you elevate and ascend to that mountaintop that He has specifically for you. However, I want to give a strong warning, this is really serious business because we're talking about what God has for us, where he wants to take us what he wants us to become through the journey as we get there, as we discover, as we develop ourselves and we ascend to this high place that he's called us to occupy.
I need to tell you that this is not guaranteed. There is a choice that all men will have to make. This is not sit back and if it's meant to be, it will happen and I'll end up there. It’s also not the laid back, passive approach of just coasting through life and seeing what happens. This is a conscious decision to follow the Lord in obedience.
I want to break this down because it's so important that we as men understand our individual responsibility in partnering and fulfilling the call and the mission that's on our life, because this is so pivotal to answering that question and stepping into success.
God's will for your life is synonymous with success
God's individual will, for your life is synonymous with success. That means success fulfilling what God called you to do as a unique individual endowed with abilities and gifts is your responsibility. It is your mandate to uncover and discover what those things are that God has given you and develop them towards accomplishing his purpose through you.
Not all will make the decision to follow in obedience. We are men that have been endowed with free will, you have decisions. You're faced with decisions every day in life. And you have the decision to either follow or not follow. You can choose to obey, or you can choose to disregard that's up to you. But for those who follow and obey, there is a reward given.
Jesus gave His followers a mandate to change the world. It's called the great commission. The great commission is partnering on this co-mission with Jesus, He tells them what to do and what they will do, and what will happen when they do it. It is important to recognize they have a choice in this equation. They don't have to step forward, but they do because they were dedicated and they embrace the pain. They take on discomfort. They develop discipline and they followed the Lord choosing to be obedient to the call. As they did, they came into success, which was God's will for them in accomplishing their mission. Just like the disciples, you have a mission over your life today, it is your responsibility.
I don't care where you are right now, or how you feel. God has a calling on your life. He has a unique individual purpose and unique assignment. You have unique spiritual DNA. You have a unique spiritual fingerprint that you need to leave on this earth, in that sphere of influence that you have been appointed to. If you don't know what it is, it's your responsibility to discover it and to set out and put your hand to the plow and find ways to develop yourself, build your endurance and your capacity to fulfill the fullness of God's will for your life. I am challenging you to take on a mindset of growth, a mindset of development.
So many things have been stripped repackaged and presented to you as personal development. But here's the big secret. The personal development industry has stolen those things from the word of God. They just don't give credit to the Bible, what they do is they swap out Jesus in the center and they put self in the center and it becomes self-development. Jesus started his mission by saying “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” If we look at the literal translation of the word, repent, it literally is translated as to change your mind, change your direction.
It's time to turn around. It's time to take on a new mindset. It's time to take on the mindset of heaven. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, that is a growth mindset. When Jesus steps on the scene, He's issuing this call and this command to step into growth, to embrace a posture of a learner. That's what He does throughout his mission, and he's still doing it today with you and with me. The apostle Paul says it this way, I press on for the goal of the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus, the apostle Paul compares his mission to a race that an athlete would run in, he's running towards the mark, he's pressing in. He's pushing, he's developing himself and he's not willing leave anything behind. He wants the fullness of the call that God put on his life. It's time to press in for the upward call in Christ Jesus.
It's time to raise the standard.