“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.”
Everyone wants to be successful. No one starts anything by saying, “I want this plan to fail, and fail miserably.” We all have a desire that whatever we chose to do will have a positive outcome. We strategize, make lists of pros and cons, and contemplate what could go wrong. Then we make efforts to keep the hurdles and stumbling blocks to a minimum. We take our agenda and lay it before the Lord and expect Him to bless our endeavor. Assuming he will take into account our ingenuity and boldness for taking on such a task.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” –Psalm 127:1
Your eyes see others succeeding and you covet—wanting what they have. You may even try to emulate their actions in hopes of achieving the same success. When you fail, you wonder what went wrong. You followed the step by step outline, made the same choices, and sacrificed what was necessary to match their efforts. You are left confused, “Why didn’t it work out for me?”
There are two answers to that question. First, the task was not in God’s plan for you. As a Christian, your main focus is to fulfill God’s will for your life. Unless the Lord is leading you to walk a particular path, then the journey is pointless—it is laboring in vain. Examine what you are trying to do, if it was coerced by your own efforts, and not a God driven plan, then stop what you are doing and seek the Lord.
Second, it could very well be in His plan for you, but you are on a different path than they are. If the timing is off, don’t give up. You need to keep enduring and press on until you finally arrive at your destination. It’s still about seeking God’s will for your life. Only now it has become more about how your trust in Him endures with the delay in accomplishing your goal. A delayed goal only enhances your satisfaction the day you finally reach it.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your own passions” –James 4:3
Next, you should ask yourself, why you want to make this accomplishment. Is it for God’s glory or your own? If the end result will shower you with joy, riches, or praise then you need to reconsider what you are attempting to do. It’s not that joy, riches, and praise are bad things. They not, but when you start patting yourself on the back, you make them bad. Then, you fall into the danger of self-reliance when those rewards are self-imposed. If the Lord is not receiving the glory in the success He has given you, then any success you have will always leave you with an empty feeling deep inside. Trusting in self will never bring you true happiness.
Our consideration must be God’s will first. I used to think that if I had a desire for something that God placed it there. When I really thought about it I found that’s not always the case. For example, I could desire to win the lottery. Does that mean that it is God’s will for me to win it? Of course not. It goes back to my selfish passions. Yes, I may say to myself that I would do amazing things for God and spend a lot of the money doing work for Him, but what is the reality? It would be for the things that money can buy. A house in a better neighborhood, a car that is not in the shop every other month, and treasures that feed my inner greed…No, not all desires are placed by God.
On the other hand, God does place a talent in each of us. Something that you are good at. Something that you love to do. Then He gives the desire to exercise that gift. However, you choose how you will use your talent. Are you going to use it to glorify the one who gave it to you? Or are you going to make selfish gain using the ability God instilled within you?
“Let all that you do be done in love.” – I Corinthians 16:14
The motive behind the things you do will determine the ultimate success you have. When you exercise your God-given talent in the direction He leads you, for the benefit of others, you will find true success and blessing in your life. Doing the right things for the right reasons benefits everyone. Righteousness and love should be the motivation behind all that you do. When you pursue them, you will find that whatever journey you chose to embark on, the end result will be the life, prosperity, and honor that you sought in the first place. Only this time, they will be God appointed, because you chose to put His will before you own and to glorify His name every step of the way.