Success should not be a onetime occurrence. Being successful in one area is not achieving success in life either. True success is one that remains throughout life and is demonstrated in all areas of one’s life. Usually people define and perceive success through tangible things. While they signify some form of success, it is not success as a whole. Money is one tangible thing men regard to define success. Hence, they pursue it regardless of who they are. People can be successful in this world by the means of the world, but their success is limited to certain sections and they do not overcome all things. Success according to this world cannot be true success. For we are aware the measures or methods of the world are of the flesh. True success provides relief and joy with no foreshadowing of burden. It is achieved when one does not coerce himself or herself into achieving something. In other words, it is achieved when the Almighty Lord is with them. Genesis 39:2 says, “The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.”
True success is achieved from totally submitting oneself to God. A truth we as Christians should never forget is that God has a plan and purpose for everyone. As it is, he who submits to Him need not pursue success. The Lord unfolds His plan and purpose in his direction, and he becomes successful. God had a plan and purpose for Joseph. Joseph led an obedient and honest life and He unfolded them in the days to come. He was more righteous than his brothers in that he loathed their bad deeds by reporting them to their father. And as he reunited with his brothers in Egypt, he said to them that it was God who sent him ahead to Egypt to preserve life. He was successful in every phase of his life. Whether in his father’s house, in Potiphar’s house, as in charge in prison or as second to king in all of Egypt, he demonstrated obedience to God and became successful. Not only did prosperity embrace him, but also irrevocable honor and fame as one with the Divine Spirit. God was with him in every step of the way, in the valleys as well as the mountains. So, success followed Joseph.
The children of God are not to be like the world. The world craves after success and hence, makes ways to obtain it not considering their morality, the wisdom in them and the consequences they bring. God’s children are to submit to God and trust Him to make them successful. It inevitably takes time, but the success He gives is to every area of their life. An obedient Christian can truly be successful in all areas that God appoints to him. He or she will be successful as a child, parent, sibling, husband/wife, relative and worker, and in any field God leads him into. And if there is a failure that one attributes to them, it is by the lack of insight in the one who attributes it.
All of us want to be successful and so, we must all display total submission to God. Then, the success God ascribes to us will be one that will remain for life. No man or power can demolish it; a smear campaign against us cannot undo it. God keeps placing us on a higher ground. The success God gives always has good effects and those effects hold hidden things to be grasped. By grasping them we can continue to remain successful.
1. Do not let disobedience overtake us. Then, we do not face defeat in our endeavors; for they will be according to God’s measure. Our obedience is from consciously not giving disobedience the power to undo our success. Joseph did it in Potiphar’s house as well as when he was a ruler in Egypt. The same Saul did not do as a king. So, “The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of Saul” (1 Sam. 31:2). Saul sinned against God; had it not been the case, he would have been successful to the end. His house too would have lasted for generations. Great is the shame of forfeiting the success God gave.
2. Choose to bless God. Rather than pursuing success we should choose to bless and worship God with reverence. The pursuit of success diverts our attention from obeying God. But, by recollecting the things He did to bring us to the point where we are we can thwart any sign of disobedience in us. We must be a people that lifted their hands and worshipped Him. “Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Neh. 8:6).
3. Fear the way of sinners. Having seen the consequences of obeying God, we subconsciously understand the outcome of choosing our own ways. We must act on such understanding. The success God gives comes with the fear we have toward the way of sinners and remains with us by it. Our subconscious feeling toward their way is true. For this is what God did when Judah chose the way of sinners. “And He removed the defense of Judah. In that day you depended on the weapons of the house of the forest” (Isa. 22:8).
4. Do not become odious to God. We ought to be a people that listen to His voice or accept His teaching. We should put our entire trust in Him, for we know the outcome of it. There should only be one aim for us, i.e. to get closer to Him. Then, wickedness that leads to reject His instruction will not make its home in us. There was a time when Jerusalem became odious to Him and provoked Him to say, “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the tyrannical city!” (Zeph. 3:1). On the contrary, getting closer to Him gives further success in life. He will open up the doors to enlarge our existing peaceful circumstances.
5. Choose to follow the principles of Christ. This is the foundation to fulfill the above said four points. “And He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Luke 20:25). Not only are we to honestly keep the law of the land, but also keep the principles that demonstrate truth, mercy, kindness, peace, giving and all the heavenly qualities He desired from us. We must acquire integrity both in the sight of people and God. Obedience should always be a permanent quality in us.
6. Pursue the Lord’s interests. We must see to it that we have His will for all things. The manner in which He makes us successful should teach us to understand all things from His perspective. So, Paul said, “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:6).