We all desire success. We want this new year to be more fruitful than the previous year. We’re looking at three keys to success.
Hebrews 12:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You have a race to run! If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. This verse says that you have a race to run; any race has a definite starting, a specific route and definite finishing point. If you don’t aim at the finish line you’re not going to get to it. If you aim at nothing, you’re going to hit nothing. Too many people are just wafting through life; they waft from year to year and from day today. They’re purposeless. If you haven’t discovered your purpose in life then you’re not living a life on purpose and you’re probably frustrated and dissatisfied. How can you live a satisfying life if you aren’t even sure if you’re in the right place or putting your time and effort into the right things? When you aren’t living life on purpose you end up jumping from one thing to another, and then on to another thing. You’re not able to commit to something and follow-through, come what may. The purposeless lack conviction. And yet, I am almost certain that you want to be successful and so you’re probably aiming at a number of things; you’ve got goals in your life, but are they the right goals?
God most certainly wants us to be successful, but successful in the right things. Many people make a long list of goals, dreams, hopes, desires, things that they want out of life – and it’s not completely wrong – but we need to ask ourselves if what we desire is what God desires for us. What God desires for us is far better than what we could desire for us.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Living Bible (TLB)
In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win.
Paul encourages us to run with the aim of winning; which means that we must run with intention. If we want to succeed in the race of life we’ve got to be focused and intentional with our time, resources and energy. Many people desire a better year (and life) but they never experience it because they don’t do anything differently. They’re hoping for a different outcome, but not doing anything different. The best changes you can make in your life to set you up for success is to prioritize God and His kingdom in your life.
Matthew 6:33 New King James Version (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
This verse contains three keys to success. The first one is that true success starts with a relationship with God. The second key is that true success comes from prioritizing and seeking first His kingdom. And lastly, true success comes from seeking first His righteousness.
1. True success starts with relationship with God.
If you think about what religion Adam and Eve had in the Garden before the fall of mankind you’ll quickly realize that they had none. They had a relationship with God, and that is what Christianity is all about. It’s about a relationship with God, not rules and regulations or our best efforts to be better people. It’s about friendship with Him. True success starts in and flows from a relationship (friendship) with God. And so, if you make it a goal and an aim in your life, this year, to grow in your relationship with God, you’re headed on the right path and in the right direction.
2. True success comes from prioritizing and seeking first God’s kingdom.
This is talking about doing things God’s way and prioritizing what God prioritizes. Seeking first His kingdom means that you’re devoting your time, resources and energy to the things that are important to Him. How do you know what is important to God? Look at the cross! What did He give His life for? People. People are eternal. God’s heart is for people. Your business is only important to God if it’s impacting people’s lives. You can make money and use it to impact the Kingdom of God by getting people born again, by helping them grow in their relationship with God – this is prioritizing what God prioritizes. Yes, God wants you to have a nice life and enjoy the fruit of your labour but we need to remind ourselves that eternity is forever! We need to prioritize things of eternal value if we want to be truly successful.
3. True success comes from seeking first His righteousness.
True success isn’t found in ourselves; in our efforts and abilities. True success is found in Jesus and comes from His grace; His enabling power. By His grace, we are made right with God and are declared deserving of His blessing. The blessing of God in your life isn’t something you deserve, earn or achieve. It’s something you receive. It’s freely given to you by Jesus and because of Jesus. You can experience some success in life without a relationship with God and without seeking first His kingdom and without seeking first His righteousness, but it’ll never be a true success. Success, the way the world defines it, and success as a kingdom define it, are worlds apart. We need to make sure that our definition of success is in line with God’s definition of success.
If you keep running down the wrong path, it doesn’t matter how well you run, it doesn’t matter how fast you run, it’s going to be in vain and you won’t get rewarded. If you’re running on the right path and the right way, then you get rewarded because you don’t get rewarded for doing a good job; you get rewarded for doing a good job in the things that you are called to.
Mark 8:36 New King James Version (NKJV)
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
True success is not in the accumulation of stuff and money; it is not in more accomplishments, either. If you aim for that, you might get it but you will never truly be satisfied. True success is in seeking God first, doing things the things He is calling us to do the way He wants them done. Life is not about the destination, it’s not about where you’re heading, it’s also about the journey and how you get there. True success is about starting with God, running with God and finishing with God.