Summary: Success is so many things to so many people, but the Bible tells us what Success really is.
SOBERING STANDARDS FOR SPIRITUAL SUCCESS
(ALL my sermons use illustrations from sermoncentral.com and all scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
All of us want to be successful, but first one must understand what success is. Webster’s defines success 1. Favorable or desired outcome, 2. The gaining of wealth and fame, 3. An event that accomplishes its’ intended purpose.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson says: “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
I think success is often times confused with fame, success is Mother Teresa, fame is Madonna. There is nothing that some people won’t do to gain fame, often confusing fame with success. Most people see success as the gaining of worldly wealth, and unfortunately they lose their very lives trying to gain this wealth.
An organization in Montana once offered a bounty of five thousand dollars for every wolf captured alive. Two hunters named Sam and Jed decided to head for the hills and make some money capturing wolves. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests searching for their valuable prey. Exhausted after three days of hunting without any success, they both fell asleep.
During the night, Sam suddenly woke up to find that he and Jed were surrounded by a pack of fifty wolves, with flaming red eyes and bared teeth, snarling at the two hunters and preparing to pounce. Sam nudged Jed and said, "Hey, wake up! We’re gonna be rich!"
Yet, according to the Bible, success is something very different. If you have your Bibles with you this morning, please turn to the book of Joshua, chapter 1 verse 8. I think the scripture tells us what success is and how we can be successful. I believe that the Bible tells the truth about success and shows us how we can find peace in our attempts to be successful.
“THE trouble with trying for worldly success is that the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.”
Josh 1:7-8 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 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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.
Folks, true success is KNOWING & DOING what God says. It involves knowing the Word of God and then having the desire to do whatever we have to succeed. So many people fail in life because they do not know what direction to go. People are confused because the world around them has so many different ideas of what success really is, and the Bible has one that is completely different from what the world says. The world says we must be FIRST to be successful, but Jesus tells us those who are last shall be FIRST. The world tells us we must be strong if we are to succeed, but Jesus tells us we are made strong in our WEAKNESS. The world says we must LIVE life to its’ fullest if we are to be successful, but Jesus tells us we must DIE to this world if we are to live. True success comes from knowing what God says about success and then doing it. DON’T be fooled, God wants the church to be successful, but not by worldly standards and not by worldly ways, He wants us to evangelize a lost world.