God promises us that when we obey Him, we will be prosperous and see success coming our way. He gave us this promise when He spoke to Joshua a long time ago:
"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
God's Word is clear: when we obey the Word of the Lord, we will see success coming our way.
But why is it that sometimes, many of us, even after doing what God said in His Word, still experience setbacks and failures?
When obedience doesn't lead to "success"
Some of us feel bad that when we obey God, we don't see the success we expected.
- We go to church and commit to serving God, but we don't receive the blessings we expect.
- We give to the poor because the Word of God tells us so, but we don't see the returns of what we have given away.
- We respect other people and treat them the way we want to be treated, but they disrespect us and treat us in a way we don't want to be treated.
These and many other like experiences cause some Christians to ultimately stop serving the Lord, stop giving to the poor, and stop treating others nicely.
I know this to be true because I've seen this happen in some people's lives.
Perhaps, dear friends, we're expecting success wrongly. Maybe we're expecting success according to our own definition of it.
When success doesn't look how the world defines it
The Bible tells us that God's ways aren't our ways. His ways are totally higher than ours. His thoughts are way higher than our thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9).
Because of this, we need to understand that God's idea of success isn't necessarily the same as our idea of success.
While our idea of success means money, reputation and earthly promotion, God's idea of success is simply the accomplishment of His will.
In our lives, that looks and sounds like Christ-likeness. Us, being like Christ to the world around us, to the glory of God.
As we obey God, we will be more like Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. We may or may not become rich in possessions, rich and famous in the eyes of men, or beloved by many around us, but in God's eyes we are successful.
Successful because we obeyed Him like Christ did.
Friends, let's not think about success as the world defines it. Let's think of success in the eyes of God:
That we'd be more like Christ as we obey Him.
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)