212. ARE YOU CHASING AFTER SUCCESS?
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
Are you chasing after success? If you are then I have written a reminder and guide to you and to myself on how to experience the good life.
Remember, you can’t have the GOOD LIFE without being on fire for the GOOD CHRIST.
Jesus said to the Church at Laodicea, who fit the description of the third category of persons identified in the Sower and Seed parable and were busy pursuing the cares, riches and pleasures of this life, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” (Read Luke 8:14; Revelations 3:14-19).
Conversely, he told the Church at Smyrna where the people were deprived of life’s comforts and were materially poor but held firmly to their faith in Jesus Christ without giving in to the pressure they faced in the form of persecution:
- “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (BUT THOU ART RICH)…Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelations 2:9-10)
In Luke 12: 16-21, Jesus stated, that people who amass treasures (money, assets, riches) for themselves but neglect God and his work are like the foolish rich man whose soul he took on the very night he thought selfishly of expanding his barns to make room to store his goods for himself. He had absolutely no regard for God or anyone else and it never dawned on him, apparently, that he had completely missed the mark in leaving God out of the equation.
- “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and IS NOT RICH TOWARD GOD.“
This tells us that God’s definition of ‘SUCCESS’ is not a life of attaining comfort, earthly riches, all that our hearts desire and good things but one that is full of sacrifice for his name (including suffering if he permits it) and that is fruitful for HIS kingdom.
As your soul prospers, as you seek his Kingdom and righteousness first, as your spiritual character grows in accordance with 2 Peter 1:5-8 and you bear spiritual fruit for HIS Kingdom, THEN he will add (as he sees fit and in his own timing), some earthly comforts to your life.
3 John 1:2 states “Beloved, I wish above all things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health, EVEN AS THY SOUL PROSPERETH.”
Matthew 6:33 states:
- “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
This does not mean that there are not those who are full of earthly comforts but yet are yielding no fruit for God. They are like the Laodicean Church who thought that God was pleased with them and that they were highly successful in life because they had all of life’s comforts.
However, Jesus was highly displeased with them because they had lost their focus. He told them:
- “…because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…”
He therefore urged them to repent for their sin, stating, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.”
Similarly, God is calling all Christians to cease from pursuing after the better life which makes them dull, lackadaisical, distracted and unprofitable when it comes to heavenly matters and to pursue KNOWLEDGE OF HIM, RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, SPIRITUAL GROWTH and SPIRITUAL FRUIT for his Kingdom. He wants to get all Christians to the point where they don’t pursue after earthly comforts and desires but exclusively focus on HIM, allowing HIM to add good things to their life as HE sees fit, whenever HE sees fit.
Do you love him and trust him enough to respond to this call?
Matthew 6:21 states“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is your treasure?
Colossians 3:2 also admonishes: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Where is your mind set, on God’s heavenly agenda or on earth’s enticing comforts?
Remember, as the one that created you, God knows what to give you, what to withhold, what will be good for your life and what will not. He owns the cattle on the hills and the earth is his footstool. As the holder of life’s clock and life itself, he also knows the right time to give you whatever HE intends to give you.
As was stated in 1 Timothy 4:8, the conclusion of the whole matter is that “…GODLINESS IS PROFITABLE unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
To neglect godliness therefore and the Lord’s work and to be distracted in pursuit of good things and your desires, will inevitably lead to FAILURE in your life. In Haggai 1:2, the prophet Haggai stated of God’s people who were busy attending to their affairs and neglecting God’s Kingdom business:
- “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S HOUSE should be built….Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and THIS HOUSE lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of of hosts: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
- Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and BUILD THE HOUSE; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little, and when ye brought it home; I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of MINE HOUSE that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”
It was only after the Israelites changed their focus, from selfishly chasing after their heart’s desires and the good life, to doing God’s work, that he blessed them. Haggai 1:14 states that, after hearing what God said, they feared and on (what to our calendar today would have been) the 24th day of June, “…they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.”
In as little as three (3) months after and (according to our calendar today), on the 24th September to be exact, God stated to them in Haggai 2:18:
- “Consider now FROM THIS DAY and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, EVEN FROM THE DAY THAT THE FOUNDATION OF THE LORD’S TEMPLE WAS LAID, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: FROM THIS DAY WILL I BLESS YOU.”
Everything you could ever want or think you need in this life, is in JESUS CHRIST. He truthfully declared that he is the way, the truth and the life and that no matter your situation, he is the resurrection and the life. (John 14:6; John 11:25). Colossians 2:9 also tells us that “…in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.“
All things, including you and me were created by him and for him. Colossians 1:16-20 declares:
- “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
It is good to remember these truths so that we can stay focused on the right course in life. We were not placed here to glorify ourselves and to seek the so-called better life and riches but to serve Jesus Christ and to glorify God.
He and He alone, is worthy of pursuit. In Hosea 14:8, God sought to remind Ephraim, which was part of one of the tribes of Israel and which had wasted time and energy idolizing earthly pursuits, while neglecting God “…I am like a green fir tree. FROM ME is thy fruit found.”
(Written on 14th September, 2017)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be helpful, interesting, informative, edifying you may also be interested in reading the following on the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 169 – ‘The Christian’s Mandate: Go’