130. THE PARADOXICAL PRINCIPLES TO SUCCESSFUL LIVING – GOD’S MANUAL
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
GOD’S MANUAL for living is the best there is and guarantees a life of success, not as the world defines it but as he does. It is the best modus operandi for living, as God is the one that created us and he therefore knows what is best, what will work and what will not. His manual however (although a sure way to living successfully, if applied), runs counter to the world’s system and when examined by the average human being, may seem paradoxical and foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:25-28 explains though:
- “… the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men…But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”
The Bible makes it clear that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. He does not act according to the world’s system. He is too wise for that.
HIS SYSTEM, strange as it might seem to the average human being is what works and is sustainable. It is a system, unlike that which exists in the world, that emphasizes the glory of God and service to him and mankind, over and above self. It therefore appears strange to those who hear the principles, as this world teaches us that we must love OURSELVES first and the most, seek OUR interest, even if detrimental to others and run after OUR advancement and success. This world teaches us that if you don’t seek YOUR interest, nobody else will do it for you and if you don’t pursue success aggressively, you will be left behind.
But is that really so? What does God, the one who made the world and all that is in it, including us, have to say about SUCCESSFUL LIVING?
Well, in Isaiah 55:8-9, God stated through the Prophet Isaiah:
- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
How God thinks is completely at variance with how the world thinks. He does not even view success the way the world and sadly, even many professing Christians do. SUCCESS is not the acquisition of wealth, having a good job, being married, having children, a nice car, a nice home, being able to go on endless vacations, having a life of ease and having all that we desire in life to live lavishly or comfortably.
SUCCESS is living life in a way that acknowledges and subjects oneself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that pleases him in the things we do and in whatever state we find ourselves, that is obedient to him and ultimately brings glory to HIS name. Where there is such a life, God applauds (and finds ways to reward) because that life he considers to be one that is worth living.
Since God is always right and all wise therefore, the whole world system is flawed and those who follow it are operating in error. The endless woes in this world are evidence of this fact. Truth be told, we would have less problems in this world, if we were to let go completely of the world’s system and our way of doing things, which are dysfunctional and embrace the Lord’s way of doing things.
It may seem paradoxical but HIS ways are tried and tested and true. There are several seemingly paradoxical principles of success as set out by God’s Word, the Bible. I have listed fourteen (14) of them as follows:-
- ONE – The best way to be EXALTED is to MAKE YOURSELF OF NO REPUTATION (Philippians 2:5-9; 1 Peter 5:6; Luke 18:14). The world tells us to be the best, to be the greatest! Yet God’s Word tells us to esteem others better than ourselves, to do nothing through strife or vainglory and to make ourselves of no reputation. When we do this, God exalts us because promotion comes from him and he does this in his own way and in his own time.
- TWO – The best way to GET AHEAD in life is to STAND STILL in faith and see the salvation of God (Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Psalm 46:10).
- THREE – The best way to get miracles is to LOOK AT NOTHING HAPPENING now and through faith in Jesus, SEE SOMETHING HAPPENING later with your spiritual eyes (Hebrews 11:1-13).
- FOUR – The best way to SAVE YOUR LIFE is to LOSE YOUR LIFE in Christ (Mark 8:35; Matthew 16:25).
- FIVE – The best way to HELP YOURSELF is to acknowledge to God you CAN’T HELP YOURSELF and the best way to GET YOUR PROBLEM SOLVED is to acknowledge to God you HAVE NOT A CLUE WHAT TO DO (2 Chronicles 20:1-25).
- SIX – The best way to GET in abundance is to GIVE in abundance, not selfishly as an investment to get returns for self but cheerfully and selflessly, so as to bring glory to God (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
- SEVEN – The best way to move that LARGE MOUNTAIN out of your life is to do it with faith of at least the size of a SMALL MUSTARD SEED (Matthew 17:20).
- EIGHT – The best way to show you are ALIVE in Christ is to DIE to self (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:10-11;13; John 12:24).
- NINE – The best way to BE RECOGNIZED IN HEAVEN is to NOT LOOK FOR RECOGNITION ON EARTH (Matthew 6:1-6; 16-18; Esther 6; 2 Kings 4:8-17).
- TEN – The best way to obtain the IMPOSSIBLE is to believe that with Jesus all things are POSSIBLE. (Mark 9:23; Mark 5:35-36; John 11:40; Luke 1:37)
- ELEVEN – The best way to be declared by God to be a SAINT is to first see yourself repentantly as a SINNER. (Luke 18:9-14)
- TWELVE – The best way to become a SOMEBODY is to first be okay with being considered a NOBODY (Joseph, David, Mordecai, Jesus)
- THIRTEEN – The best way to become an effective LEADER and to be PROMOTED in life is to first have a heart of SERVICE that humbly and willingly does LOWLY work behind the scenes in the trenches (Matthew 20:20-28; Joseph, Moses, David)
- FOURTEEN – The POOR who abide in Christ and face storms in life are RICH to God and the RICH who are confident in their acquisitions, comfortable in life, complacent, not on fire for God and not spreading the gospel to lost souls, yet measure their spirituality by their materialistic possessions and comfortable lifestyle are POOR and MISERABLE and BLIND and NAKED and WRETCHED to God. (Revelations 2: 8-9; 3:14-18)
(Written on 9th January, 2019)