15 Jun A Lifetime of Success
God has plans for His children to succeed in their life on earth.
Both the definition and demonstration of the word ‘success’ have been influenced by the fallen nature of man, so much so, that many sincere believers have been tempted to surrender any desire to a worldly spirit to enjoy success. On the other hand so many have accepted the worldly definition of it and their pursuit has led to a strangulation of their spiritual walk with God. Many have taken Godly principles and left (the person of) God out of the equation and achieved some results. Principles work for whoever puts them to work. This has led to many paying half-hearted attention to these principles and those who do pay full attention may do it at the expense of their devotion or consecration to God. The implication of all this is that certain good principles are left in the domain of the ungodly, where they are applied in an ungodly way to achieve ungodly purposes. The children of God need to be careful not to get sucked into these principles at the expense of losing their godliness.
Motivational speakers and personal development experts have made this aspect of human development to become a multi-million dollar industry. This field is about training the mind to become more productive by setting goals, planning activities and acquiring time management skills. It is born out of the knowledge of principles that govern how things work in the natural and the laws that govern the psychological (soulish) side of our existence. Success can be defined as attaining worthwhile goals.
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Man is first of all a spirit; he has a soul and lives in a body. Development should be in that order. Each dimension of mankind has profound powers within it. These powers are God-given and should be engaged to fulfil His purposes. The soul comprises of the mind, will and emotions. Our imaginative faculties (in the mind) actually have creative potentials. In Genesis 11:6, God declared that what the people imagined to do would happen if no one stopped them. Many have used their faculties out of ignorance, to ‘create’ their calamities. The mind has imagination, thinking and memory. Every dimension has its role to play in our lives. We need to engage all faculties in our walk with God. Religious spirits (from hell) have attempted to persuade us to see our walk with God in such a way as to think we should engage only some aspects of our human faculties, namely our spirits, and leave every other part to our own caprices. God created every part of us for good purposes.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success”. (Joshua 1:8)
“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
There are things to do and things not to do. What we choose to do determines what we experience in our life time. We have the power of choice. Meditation engages the mind and mouth as we conceive and utter to our selves the substance (or subject) we are meditating on. Our subject of meditation should be in the Word of God. The development process can be divided into 3 dimensions of responsibilities: our relationship with God; our self management and our relationship with others. All the principles of success can be placed in one or more of these categories.
THE FIRST CATEGORY
The Spiritual: Our Relationship With God
Our spirits are of foremost importance as we contact the divine or eternal realm through the faculties in our spirits. Without Christ, our spirits lie in darkness and have not come into the light of God. Whatever we learn (spiritually) when we are not alive unto God is usually perverted as the enemy takes godly principles, twists them for our selfish purposes, thereby giving glory to Satan, directly or indirectly. When Paul said “I put under my body and bring it into subjection” in 1 Corinthians 9:27, it was clear that the ‘I’ is not the body but the inner man or the spirit. Our spirits come alive with the life of God when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Our conscience and ability to perceive truth spiritually all come alive. We suddenly ‘see’ sin, for instance, for what it really is, i.e. a destructive force that is at work in our human flesh to hinder our fellowship and walk with God who is our Father. Through our ‘fellowship’ with God we receive strength, insights, ideas, and discern deceptive tendencies at work within our souls. A whole lot of things are “downloaded” from God to us. We humble ourselves as we yield to His wisdom, His ways and His plans for our lives. God’s ideas are greater and better than ours by far. This process of interaction with God will lead to training our spirits to know Him and His way.
THE SECOND CATEGORY
The Soul: Our Self Management.
As we subject our souls to the demands of God’s Word we confront the deposits that have been made in us by the nature (Adam’s) we had before we got born again (or came alive in Christ). These deposits include our pride, insecurities, pretentions and a host of tendencies that can be found in our souls. These deposits include the philosophies that we allow to govern our thinking process. For example blaming others for our experiences in life; seeing ourselves as victims of our circumstances etc. This process of confronting these things now forms the basis for our development for productivity. Not allowing these things to dominate us is the basis for self-denial; crucifying the ‘flesh’ is putting these things out of our lives. The skills needed to be developed include time management, goal setting and organisational skills. (See Ephesians 5: 15-18). We need to develop our leadership and communication skills, as well as learning to control what we can and recognising how to let go of what we cannot control. It’s about focus, seeing opportunities and perseverance in our chosen fields. As in a building, we have dirty water plumbing as well as clean water plumbing. We get rid of some things and build in the right things as we set goals that are in harmony with our perception of God’s will for our lives and then apply ourselves to a productive lifestyle. We learn to walk in God’s wisdom, walk in the fear of God and see a person the way God sees him or her. We will encourage rather than discourage others. We will be positive in building ourselves and others up. We will learn the power of choice. When we decide to do something, we will be determined to accomplish our goals and we become diligent to persevere until the goal is attained. We cultivate intimacy with God through our devotion to His Word and ways as He is the source of every good thing in our lives. (The blessing of the Lord, makes one rich and adds no sorrow. Proverbs 10:22). Practically we cultivate a lifestyle that brings us into a place where we are governed by principles based on God’s Word. That is the definition of a kingdom lifestyle. We operate kingdom principles as citizens of the kingdom while maintaining a relationship with our Father God through His Son Jesus Christ. No wonder we are called “More than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). We win on every side.
THE THIRD CATEGORY
Our Relationship With Other People
Here we carry out our activities with the mind of being a blessing to others. (See Ephesians 5: 1-11). We learn to communicate, help and influence others and allow ourselves to be influenced by the right people in our lives. We build healthy families and close relationships. All these involve considerable amount of effort to change and build permanent behavioural changes into our lives. The scriptures say “as much as lies with you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18. Peace implies harmonious relationships.
Health for our bodies demands a healthy lifestyle of exercise, rest and proper diet, not junk food. For our souls, it’s a healthy reading diet of good books to nurture the soul. The spirit is nurtured by a healthy fellowship with God through His Word, in worship and prayers. All of these call for action; we do what is expected for the right results we want to achieve.
SOME OTHER SECRETS
Communication brings the common ground of understanding, so keep communication lines open. This is vital to building healthy relationships. The key to real communication is to be a good listener. Caring for people will promote health in your relationship with them. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Seek agreement but respect disagreement. Avoid snap decisions, be patient and work hard at everything you do. Cultivate a strong work ethic. Relationships are gifts: treasure them. Surround yourself with the best people as you grow in your leadership skills.
Decide to be a life-long learner as you seek good mentors to help shape your thinking and life. Manage your personal life well. Love what you do. Do not run from problems, they are opportunities in disguise. Keep it simple. Your income seldom exceeds personal development. You are paid for the value you bring to the table. You increase your value by increasing your skills. If you change, everything will change for you. Learn to achieve your goals as you properly utilise time management tools. Plan to leave a legacy so that when you are dead, what you were will speak on your behalf. Learn to keep a journal of the ideas you get and the progress you make. There is a future for you and you are being prepared for what has been prepared for you. Your destiny awaits your development; your future beckons on your potentials to make it a reality. This is not a day to sit and do nothing but a day to look up and see. As far as your eyes can see, can be yours for the taking! How far can you see? What price are you willing to pay? What legacy will you leave behind? Get trained, developed and become all you were meant to be!