When you look at the definitions of success you see a couple of different meanings. The first could mean “an event that accomplishes its intended purpose” but another means “a state of prosperity or fame.” Neither is bad until you loose what makes you successful. Unfortunately this gets mixed up in the church as people want and define success based on the world’s definition, which is usually about possessions. Too many want to be successful instead of submissive so that they can have possessions. They want fame and fortune but don’t want humility and faithfulness. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Our main goal should be this kind of successful. No I’m not talking about rich famous and prosperous as the end result but a definition of success that is defined as obedience for the intended purpose. This way you could be successful sitting in jail like Paul or taking the land like Joshua. Both were servants of God. Joshua was told Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” 8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” This makes it pretty clear that we must obey the commands of God. For many, they think they are successful based on a human definition because they have many material possessions yet they deny God by not adhering to his commandments nor do they carry their cross. We judge people often by what they have not whether they are filled with the Holy Spirit. We see an evangelist jet setting around the world with an amazing kingdom but is it because they have sold out to God or because they have sold out to satan. If they are following man’s way and teaching man’s doctrines, the answer is pretty simple.
We must trust in God to be successful. 2 Kings 18:5 “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” If we want to be truly successful we must hold fast to the word of God. This means turning away from our wicked ways. For example tonight I saw a pamphlet people give out to describe how God works. Well this was a dispensational tract and not the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a false gospel and leads people astray. You will only be successful if you turn away not to it.
Then we have a charge given to Solomon from David. He said, 1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Notice once again this little word if. “Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel.” Remember Jesus was successful on the cross because he was obedient.
Now here is an example of those who are unsuccessful. 2 Chronicles 18:12 “The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” It was only Micaiah who was actually successful because he spoke the word of the Lord. In this case success led to “the king saying: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’” 27 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”
If we truly want to be successful we must seek God, do what He says and never stop following wholeheartedly. 2 Chronicles 26:5 “He (Uzziah) sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” If we want to be truly successful in God’s eyes we must seek Him. So in the end you may be rich or poor but in both situations you are only successful if you have sought God with all your heart, soul and mind and are following His commands. True success leads to not worrying. Luke 12:22 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”