Success is related to goals, but how are you setting realistic and godly personal goals for your life? What may be a realistic goal for one person could be impossible for another. God has not given each person the same endowment of gifts, talents, and intelligence. Your identity and sense of worth are not determined by those qualities. Your sense of worth is based on your identity in Christ and your growth in character, both of which are equally accessible to every child of God. Success is accepting God’s goal for our lives and by His grace becoming what He created us to be.

We can also be successful in the eyes of the world and a complete failure in the eyes of God. Many a person has climbed the ladder of “success” only to realize that it was leaning against the wrong wall. Joshua 1:7-9 gives us the key to being successful in the eyes of God. God promised them prosperity and success on only one condition, and it had nothing to do with the cooperation of the Philistines or favorable circumstances. They would be successful if they lived according to His ways.

They were successful in crossing the Jordan by faith (Joshua 3) and they were successful in defeating Jericho by faith (Joshua 6). But they were defeated at Ai, because Achan took something under the ban (Joshua 7). This simple principle of success stretches our faith. Do you believe that you could run for public office and win by staying true to His word? Do you believe that you could be a successful business person and never violate the word of God? Success may mean that you drive an inexpensive car and live in a modest home as an honest person.

Second, to be successful, we have to become the people God created us to be. We may not have enough time to accomplish what we want, but we have enough time to do God’s will. We may not be able to reach the position we hoped for, but what position is higher than being seated with Christ in the heavenlies? We can try to make a name for ourselves in the world, but what name could we make for ourselves that is better than being called children of God. Scripture provides no instruction for determining a career, but it gives a lot of instruction concerning what kind of career person we should be.

Third, to be successful, we must be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. Our time, talent, and treasure belong to Him and they must be used to the glory of God. The Lord wants us to prosper, but what is our definition of prosperity? God’s definition begins with the prosperity of our souls. What material possession or social status would you exchange for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? No earthly possession or position can give us what we all desire and what is available to all of us if we would just abide in Christ.

Dr. Neil

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