God wants us to live a life of success! He wants you to be fruitful! He wants you to live the abundant life! We're looking at what success is and what success is not. Success is being able to say at the end of your life, “I've done what I've come to do! I’ve done what God sent me on this earth to do!” Success in God's eyes is different from the world’s view of success. Just because someone has a big prosperous businesses doesn't mean they are a success. Just because a business is small doesn't mean it's a failure. Just because a church is small doesn't mean it's a failure. Just because a church has thousands of people, it doesn't mean it's a success! Success is not about size; success is about doing what God called you to do, the way that He's called you to do it!
We aren't all called to do something big or worldwide, but we are called to live a life of significance. A significant life is one like the person that lead Billy Graham to the Lord. Yeah, that individual who led him to Salvation had a part to play in the many many millions of people that Billy Graham reached through his ministry. We need to start to see success in the way that the Lord sees success.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
You're either renewing your mind – changing your way of thinking – and being transformed, or you're being conformed to the pattern of this world and fitting in with the way of the world. The Passion Translation says that you need to stop imitating the world and stop following its customs and values. In other words: stop being like the world! If you're a Christian you're not called to just be like the world, you have to be in the world to reach the world, but you're not of the world!
Ephesians 2:1 says that we are those who have passed from death to life! Unbelievers are dead, but we are alive! There's a difference between a corpse and someone who's alive. There should be a notable difference between our lives and an unbeliever’s life. Even if they have more money than us we should be happier than them because money doesn't determine your joy, your attitude does! We can have a positive attitude as believers simply because of Who we have (Jesus) and because of what He (Jesus) has done for us! The more time you spend in the world, the more you’re going to love the things of the world. The more time you spend focused on the things of the world, the more the things of God are going to start looking foolish to you; your heart is going to start to grow cold to the things of God and towards God. The more time you spend in the word of God, the more time you spend with the Lord, the more the things of the world will start looking foolish to you and the more your heart is going to grow cold towards the things of the world. You get to determine what's important to you! You get to steer your heart in a specific direction! If you focus on God and the things of God then your heart will become sensitive towards those things, but if you're focusing on making money and being successful like the world wants you to be then your heart is going to be desensitized towards the Lord and His purposes for you. The more we change our minds, the more we are going to transform. The more we change our focus, the more our desires and our feelings will start to change, and we will better know God's will for us.
Romans 12:1 starts by saying that we should be living sacrifices – that’s talking about a “yes, Lord!” life. That is one of the first steps in being successful. You need to make a decision that you’re going to live a “yes, Lord!” life. Being successful starts with “yes, Lord! What do you want me to do, Lord?... What do you want me to study, Lord?... Where do you want me to live, Lord?... How do you want me to get involved in my church, Lord?... How much money do you want me to give, Lord?... How can I be a greater blessing, Lord?... Yes, Sir! I'll do that, Lord! Whatever you want, I will do it!”
Don't be like the world! Stop trying to fit in with the world! You were created to stand out! If you're conforming to the pattern of this world then you're not spiritually mature, and you’re headed downhill. The world has business principles that you can learn but if you're not primarily seeking the Lord and doing what he says it will not lead to true success. Spiritual maturity is marked by a progressive change in your life which comes as the result of changing your thinking and your focus; shifting it from the world and its ways to God and His ways. We need to grow in valuing what God values above what the world values. We need to start seeing things the way the Lord sees them and then we need to embrace what He sees, embrace where He's leading, embrace His direction for our lives. We may think that we can lead our lives, we may think that we know what we should do with our lives but the bottom-line is that it's not in us to lead our own lives (Jeremiah 10:23). We need the Lord. We need to follow God and we can do that through a relationship with Him.