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.
What amazes me is that so many churches TALK about evangelism BUT do little to succeed at it.
There was a man in a community that had the reputation for always being able to catch fish. Regardless of the time of the year it was, or whether anybody else was catching fish, this man was always managed to come back with a boat load of fish. His brother-in-law, who happened to be a Game Warden had always been amazed at the man’s success. So, one morning the man agreed to take his brother in law fishing with him. They went to a lake that was known for its poor fishing. The game warden watched his brother-in-law take the boat out to the middle of the lake and cut the motor off. The game warden was confused as he noticed that his brother-in-law didn’t worry about finding a ledge or brush-pile, or anything like that. Then instead of getting his rod and reel out, the game warden’s brother-in-law pulled a stick of dynamite out of a sack, lit it, and threw it overboard. A few seconds later, there was a big boom, and almost immediately the surface of the lake was covered with stunned fish. The Game warden couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. He immediately began reciting the fishing laws and regulations to his brother-in-law. But this didn’t seem to bother his brother in law in the least. He simply reached into the bag for another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it to the game warden and said, "You gonna talk, or you gonna fish?" The game warden noticed the fuse was almost to the end and He quickly decided to fish.