First Principle of Success

The apostle Paul wrote: “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). You lack understanding if you determine your success or failure by comparing yourself with others. God has not destined us to failure. He wants all of us to live successful lives. How can we define success that is uniformly applicable to all of God’s children so that we are not motivated by irrational fears, but rather by the fear of the Lord?

As the Israelites were about to go into the Promised Land they were given the first instruction in the bible on how to succeed. “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 they you will have success” (Joshua 1:7,8).

The Israelites’ success did not depend upon favorable circumstances in the Promised Land, nor did it depend upon the cooperation of the Philistines. They would be successful and prosperous if they understood God’s word and faithfully lived by it. That is the first principle of success. “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 9:23,24 see also 1 Cor. 1:31).

Many have climbed the corporate ladder only to find out it was leaning against the wrong wall. There is a momentary euphoria when you reach the top, win the race, get the promotion, or win the beauty contest, but there is only one thing that completely and continuously satisfies. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and search for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). Do you believe that?

Dr. Neil

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