Someone once said that a successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. And a successful woman is one who finds such a man.
To many, success rests in a fat bank account. Many people believe that if you cannot save money, the seed of success is not in you. They agree with Somerset Maugham who said:
“Money is like a sixth sense, and you can’t make use of the other five without it.” (1)
The Illusion Of Success
It Includes Fame And Fortune.
We equate prosperity with fame and fortune. That perception permeates our society. Books on prosperity fill the shelves of our libraries and stores. They tell us step-by-step how to climb the ladder of financial success.
They promise a life of prominence and prosperity. However, they do not tell us that their ladder of success contains many splinters. Sadly, we do not feel those splinters until we slide down.
Unfortunately, most Christians have adopted the standards of the world. We have allowed them to squeeze us into their mold. These standards have determined how we evaluate others and ourselves.
We have come to believe that prosperity includes riches; only those with generous bank accounts have attained success.
It Depends Upon Our Possessions.
As a result, we measure prosperity by what we can see and touch: when the affairs of life go well, we enjoy “success.” When they do not, we suffer as “failures.”
Therefore, success becomes the exclusive experience of a select few. Millions never taste it—all but a few live lives filled with feelings of failure and frustration.
The poor hide hollow hopes; prosperity escapes the helpless. Countless crowds live and labor in obscurity and cannot hope to become a “success.”
In short, the belief that success lies in a fat bank account has become a respected myth.
The Reality Of Success
It Depends Upon God’s Purpose For You.
The Bible teaches a different meaning of success. In the Old Testament, the words translated for “success” and “prosperity” appear in excess of 65 times.
According to Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament:
“(It) generally expresses the idea of a successful venture, as contrasted with failure. The source of success is God.” (2)
The Biblical definition describes success and prosperity as the completion of an endeavor.
Genuine prosperity includes adjustment to the ends and purposes that God has for you.
Whenever we let God work in our lives through His Spirit, we accomplish His will for us. Then we experience His prosperity. Obedience to God’s Word becomes the standard, not fame and fortune.
It Includes The Rich And The Poor.
The Bible does not describe success in terms of position or possessions. Neither does Biblical prosperity know any political boundary or nationality. Education does not guarantee it, and a lack of training does not stop it.
History records Godly men and women who have suffered adversity, poverty, and human failure. Yet, their lives evidence the prosperity of God.
God’s prosperity takes in the rich and the poor. He does not prefer one rank above another. He prospers both the nameless and the famous. The Bible illustrates this truth especially in the life of Daniel.
Daniel adapted to the will and purposes of God for his life. As a result, he knew God’s prosperity when facing obstacles or opportunities.
Kidnapped when a teen-ager, he grew up without his parents, an exile in a foreign land. Yet, God prospered him, and he found satisfaction in life. Later, God empowered him to interpret dreams, and Daniel governed in the palace of the king.
Daniel experienced poverty and plenty, honor and dishonor. However, God caused him to prosper regardless of his circumstances.
I read about a little urchin boy who wandered the streets of New York City. A sympathetic mother saw him and took him home with her. When they got home, she scrubbed his body clean.
As she washed his hands, she noted that he clutched something tightly in his left hand. With great effort, she peeled back each little finger of his hand.
After she had finally opened his palm, she exposed a crust of bread. Lovingly she discarded it. Then she completely bathed him, clothed, and fed him.
That story illustrates how we Christians so often respond to the activity of Jesus Christ in our lives. We hold tightly to our skimpy, earthly pleasures that deter us from receiving the immeasurable riches available to us in Christ.
God’s thoughts far exceed our thoughts, and His ways surpass our ways.
In Ephesians 3:20, we read: “(Christ) is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh within us.”
We must reject the temporal traditions of our times. They continuously change and create instability. Such outward expressions do not portray the One Who indwells believers.
Christians must adjust to the will and purpose of God in their lives. We need to allow Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds.
When we yield to the Spirit of Christ, He transforms us from the inside out. Old things pass away; all things become new. We no longer pattern our lives after the laws of the world.
Rather, we yield to the promptings of the Spirit. Then we accomplish the end and purpose that God has for us, and we experience success as God intends it.
God’s success produces moral goodness and gratification. Joy and peace satiate our lives regardless of our position in life. Our hearts sing praise to God in poverty or plenty. Hence, we discover life complete, and God presses His stamp of approval on it.
Biblical Law of Success #1: Success is the accomplishment of the end and purpose of God in your life.
- Donald Bolander, Gary Wright, Dolores Varner, Stephanie Greene. Instant Quotation Dictionary (Career Institute, Mundelein, IL 60060), 184.
- Merril F. Unger and William White, Jr., editors.Nelson’s Dictionary of the Old Testament. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. 1980. p. 312.