A look into God’s Word quickly reveals that material blessings were given because God loved His people, not because His people deserved those blessings. They were withdrawn from those who used them foolishly and transferred to more faithful stewards. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). To be a success from a biblical perspective, some prerequisites must be met.
1. Surrender–Every successful servant of the Lord who was entrusted with material and spiritual rewards first demonstrated an acceptance of God’s Lordship. The list extends throughout the Scripture: Abraham, Noah, Nehemiah, David, Paul, even Solomon–who later strayed because of material riches–first demonstrated a surrender to God’s authority.
2. Obedience–Those who are truly being blessed by God have demonstrated a willingness to use their material resources for God. An unwavering dedication to God’s way is the mark of a true steward. “Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all” (2 Corinthians 9:13).
3. Persistence–One attribute of a successful person is persistence in the face of problems. Too often today Christians who live by the “open door” doctrine give up whenever an obstacle is encountered. If God’s people give up easily when faced with difficulties, the world will consider us losers.
Nothing and nobody can shake a true believer from doing God’s will once it is understood. The evidence of this can be observed in the life of every servant who was ever used by God (see Esther 4:16, Nehemiah 6:11, Acts 21:13).
It seems evident that many Christians fall victim to motivation for worldly success. They have a lot of drive and ambition, but they fail to recognize God’s will for them and thus they submit to the world’s will.
The world thinks success today is related to money, power, and position. God will reveal His plan to those who seek Him diligently. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
To be a spiritual success, a Christian must be willing to relinquish all rights and accept God’s plan. God’s plan may not always provide the best or the most, but it will always provide enough. Of necessity, God will place believers at every tier in society to minister to those around them. “It does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Romans 9:16).
Originally posted 7/7/12.
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