Archive for April, 2012

“And you will have treasure in heaven.”

– Matthew 19:21b NIV

I do not believe Jesus was condemning the rich young ruler because he was rich. In fact, I do not believe Jesus was condemning the young man at all. I do believe the young man left feeling condemned, convicted about what he had not considered prior to his conversation with Jesus regarding the commandment to love God with all your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. Maybe, only now, was he being held accountable to a lifestyle that may not have been something he considered consciously, day-to-day, prior to coming to Jesus inquiring about eternal life, because of his conversation with Jesus. Prior to his encounter he felt secure in himself and sure about his standing and place in life, but after his conversation he must have felt uncertain about his eternal security and his spiritual standing with God. If I put myself in the shoes of the rich young ruler, I would feel discouraged by that conversation, but sincere seeking to understand eternal life would prompt me to return to Jesus realizing the significance, value and worth of my eternal standing with God, from a spiritual perspective, as he felt the same security and standing with his wealth and status in life from a wordly perspective.

As the rich young ruler, we may miss the significance of what Jesus stated when he said, ‘Then you will have treasure in heaven.’ Maybe the young man was not present the day of Christ’s inaugural sermonic series preached on the subject of the kingdom of heaven and the principles of Christ’s teachings involved with sincere seeking declared in the sermon on the mount. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.” – Matthew 6:19-21, 33 NIV  

The rich young man may not have been told about the sermon Jesus preached that day. Because of the light of scripture, hindsight helps us to see the conflict in the discourse between the young man and Jesus and the internal conflict the young man had when he walked away, which is why the bible acknowledged the young man as having great wealth. In all that the young man had, it blinded him from attaining what he lacked in order to inherit eternal life. I do not judge him, because I know I have walked away sad and discouraged from what Jesus requires of me to experience the spiritual life He came for me to have many times. My own righteousness will never be sufficient to justify myself before God to inherit eternal life, or receive from God what He promises in his word without obedience to His word. This was Cain’s downfall (see Genesis 4). Cain thought he could experience God’s favor without doing what God required. God reminded Cain he needed to do what was right, but Cain ignored God and eventually killed his brother Abel and lived the rest of his days wandering and worried about retribution for his actions. It is not God’s desire for us to wander aimlessly disconnected from Him in this world, or to worry with condemnation, guilt and fear about retribution from Him due to past sins, mistakes and failures.

Persistence in seeking to experience the recognition and reward of the principles of success in this world will cause us to miss out on the greater significance of what Jesus tried to convey to the rich young man and those who listened to Him preach that day in the sermon on the mount. Jesus reveals to us, through scripture, the success God desires for us to encounter from a spiritual life that can only be encountered through a faith walk with Jesus Christ. The rich young man already had great wealth, but the spiritual life that could only be obtained through faith in Christ is what he lacked. Though he had great wealth, he would not be able to do what was required because his treasure was in his wealth and not in what God desired for him, or required of him.

In Luke’s gospel (Luke 19), after His encounter with the rich young man, Jesus encounters Zacchaeus the Tax Collector. His sincerity in seeking out Jesus prompted him to get up in a tree to see Jesus walking through the place where he was and caused him to be noticed by Jesus when Jesus arrived at the place where Zacchaeus was. Sincere seeking gets the attention of God to notice us where we are in life and experience Him intimately. Jesus told Zacchaeus to come down and take Him to his home. Zacchaeus declared openly to Jesus a willingness to give up to half of his possessions to the poor and pay back 4 times the amount to anyone he had wronged when Jesus came into his home. ‘Today!’ Jesus declared, that salvation had come to Zacchaeus. The difference between Zacchaeus and the rich young man? Zacchaeus recognized Jesus for who He is and his need to humble himself in recognition of his own lack before the righteousness of Christ who appeared before him. Zacchaeus humbled himself and positioned himself as one in need, operating by the very principles Jesus preached about seeking sincerely God’s kingdom and His righteousness. To some, Jesus would declare that the kingdom of God is at hand, referring to Himself, and Zacchaeus recognized it. The rich young ruler did not.

In the same way Jesus became poor for us (making a sacrifice) that we might become rich with the righteousness of His person through the indwelling person, presence and power of His Spirit living inside of us, Zacchaeus displayed the sincere humility Jesus challenged the rich young man to follow that Christ modeled. Notice also, Zacchaeus demonstrated these actions without prompting from Christ through direct conversation. Being drawn to Christ by God, Zacchaeus responded to God’s prompting and the rich young man resisted it, because his wealth inhibited him from obtaining what he sincerely desired. Storing up treasure in heaven begins with surrendering your heart, mind, soul and will to God through faith in Christ.

May God bless you and help you to respond to His prompting inside of you to position yourself in a way that gets His attention to come to you and help you experience the fullness of life Christ came for you to have.

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“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

– Matthew 19:21 NIV

Another distinct difference in the gospel account of the rich young ruler and his inquiry about inheriting eternal life is discovered in the verse that opens this post from Matthew’s gospel. I do believe the young man’s query about inheriting eternal life is sincere, because Jesus reveals in John’s gospel that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. What we discover through the young man’s conversation with Jesus on the subject of etrnal life, is his sincerity is inhibited by the way he believes eternal life can be achieved. His concept of inheriting eternal life was associated with being good and doing good, which is revealed through the discourse he and Jesus share with one another in each of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In the gospel of John, we see a man named Nicodemus (see John chapter 3) wrestling with the concept of being born again in his conversation with Jesus, as we see the young man wrestle. Part of the internal mental struggle is due to their effort to try to discern, or understand spiritual concepts from a worldly, or logical, perspective. In 1 Corinthians 2 we read through the revelation of scripture, that spiritual concepts must be discerned, or understood, by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Through the gospel of John and Nicodemus’ encounter in his conversation with Christ, we understand Nicodemus sought sincerely to understand Jesus and His teachings, because it is Nicodemus who is found claiming the body of Jesus, after He is crucified, to bury Him in the tomb. Nicodemus’ sincere seeking led to his actions of preserving what he encountered in his contact with Jesus and being willing to being associated openly with Jesus when his initial encounter was during the night. There were many, who, when they approached Jesus, in need of Him seeking to receive from Him, they came with a posture of humility and reverence crying with tears, pleading, begging, or crying out to Him with a loud voice of desperation regarding Him as Master, LORD, or the Christ; while some did not consider themselves worthy to be in His company, or have Him enter their home. I do not see this in the young man’s approach. His conversation reveals he is not in need of anything to achieve the purpose for the motivation of his conversation with Jesus on the subject of inheriting eternal life.

Many times in scripture, in the gospels, Jesus makes statements that appear to be harsh, or insensitive. Some may feel His tone with the young man, as my mother always felt, was discouraging and dismissive. Closer inspection of the conversation, with the assistance of insight would reveal something quite different. First, the young man failed to recognize he was currently speaking to the only One who had kept the commandments since their youth, so consider the audacity of the statement apart from the person speaking and the One the conversation is being directed at. Secondly, the young man persists with his inquiry about what he can do to inherit eternal life. Failing to see Jesus’ initial reply in keeping the commandments, which no one has achieved, as a clear indicator it requires something more than his own merit, efforts and initiative, he continues, ‘What do I still lack?’

Insight reveals to me, that Jesus’ reply that caused the young man to walk away is directly related to the insistence upon the young man’s belief he must do some good deed to acquire eternal life. “If you want to be perfect…” Revelation of this dialogue has taught me that Jesus used Himself as a model, or standard, by which the young man would need to measure himself if he was going to use being good and good deeds to justify inheriting eternal life. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” – 2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV Just as the commandments revealed to us our insufficiency in living by God’s standards and could not be justified by the Law, the rich young man discovered he could not use being good and doing good as justification for inheriting eternal life, because he could not live by the standard of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the embodiment of the Law given to Moses by God. Jesus used Himself to hold the young man accountable, if he chooses the law to justify himself, then by the law of the life of Jesus Christ, he would be measured and, as he discovered, left feeling condemned. This is why, I believe, Jesus said, ‘If you want to be perfect…’ Jesus was using His life as the example of what it would take to inherit eternal life from the perspective of being good and good deeds. Notice, Jesus’ reply concluded with ‘Then come, follow me.’ Eternal life is inherited through faith in Jesus Christ. Being good and doing good will never be enough to inherit eternal life.

God does not desire that we leave this earth feeling condemned by the standard of His Law as unworthy of Him, or proud in our own merit of goodness, achievement or success as justification for inheriting eternal life. God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn it, but to save it (John 3:16-17 NIV). When the young man declared that he had kept the commandments since his youth in Mark’s gospel, the bible says that Jesus looked at the young man and loved him. Bound by our own ignorance and held captive, Jesus continues to look with compassion upon us and those who sincerely seek to understand how to inherit eternal life to set us free by the truth. Believe in your heart Jesus is the Son of God, raised from the dead, and confess with your mouth He is LORD and you will inherit eternal life!

May God bless you and help you to discover the truth of scripture in a way that inspires you and empowers you to walk by faith to encounter the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'”

– Mark 10:21 NIV

In the time I have meditated and reflected upon the principle of success and the subject of wealth, I have been led to read and review the discourse between Jesus and the rich young ruler illustrated in the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke. One significant distinction between the gospels, regarding this story, is the verse of scripture used to lead into today’s post. From the world’s perspective, the rich young ruler has achieved and attained great success. So much so, he is described as rich and one having great wealth. During the discourse of their conversation, however, Jesus declares that there is one thing the rich young ruler still lacks. Jesus explains, in the gospel of John, that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (see John 6:65). So there is something happening internally in the life of this young man that draws him to come to Jesus and helps him to discover that in all his wealth and success, there is still something lacking that he will discover he cannot achieve, or attain, on his own.

When I take the time to consider the manner in which the young man approaches Jesus in his attempt to discover what it would take to inherit eternal life, it appears the young man is operating from the perspective that there is something he can do to attain, or achieve, the free gift of salvation God provides to everyone through faith and grace. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ – Mark 10:17 NIV I am learning that seeking and striving to operate solely from the principles of success, apart from faith in Christ and reliance upon the principles of scripture in reverence to God as the source of one’s success, will cause one to adopt a false sense of self sincerely believing they are the reason behind their achievement without a genuine acknowledgement of God for what He did, by grace, to aid them.

When you look at Jesus’ initial response to the young man’s inquiry, I believe it reveals to us a possible motive in the young man’s approach that may not be genuine or sincere. Keeping in mind Jesus knew the thoughts and motives of men’s hearts, Jesus could see right through the platitudes the young man began his approach with and speak to the heart of his misunderstanding of the way to salvation through faith in Christ. ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ For those who believe being a good person or doing some good deed is the means by which one would inherit eternal life, they should pay close attention to the conversation shared between Jesus and this young man. Knowing the thoughts and intentions of his heart, Jesus was challenging the young man’s belief in himself, that his goodness as a person and the good he seeks to do will be enough to achieve and attain what he is seeking from his inquiry from Jesus. Usually when someone is asked why they believe they’re going to heaven, they may include reasons similar to what Jesus uses to enlighten the young man He is talking with. You know, ‘I should get into heaven, because I don’t lie, steal, cheat, murder, and I believe I’m a good person, etc.’

The commandments were never to be used as a means for eternal salvation, but as a standard by which God’s people would distinguish themselves from the nations around them as God’s people, because they would follow God’s law. “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” – Matthew 19:20 NIV When you carefully observe the course of the conversation the young man initiated with Jesus, you begin to witness the young man’s attempt to continue to push the notion of believing he must do something to inherit eternal life. He has also convinced himself of his own merit of goodness suggesting through his inquiry that he is not lacking by inquiring of what he could still possibly lack if he has kept the commandments since his youth. Although Jesus didn’t quote all of them, the first two being the fulfillment of all the law, the audacity of the young man to declare he has kept them all since his youth reveals the lack of humility, reverence and sincerity God desires in those who are sincere seekers. When Jesus stated, ‘Keep the commandments,’ a sincere seeker would have hung his or her head at that moment understanding that their own initiative would not be sufficient for salvation by obeying God’s law. In closing, also consider how others came to Jesus who sincerely sought Him for something they needed, or desired from Him, and you would see the young man’s approach was inspired from a posture that he already had all he needed, thus he could suggest, ‘What do I still lack?’

May God bless you and help you to come to Him sincerely seeking Him for answers to your questions, salvation and to experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”

– Luke 8:14 NIV

My oldest brother and I have shared many conversations on the subject of success, wealth and developing your fullest potential in achieving the maximum of what life can offer with the abilities, skills and gifts God has blessed one to use for His glory in this life. As I have witnessed God bless him and elevate him ascending to the position of Fire Chief in his respective field, I can see how those continuous conversations have served me in my field of education and public speaking. As I have labored in faith, striving to achieve and succeed with my new passion of writing,  my eyes have been opened to the reality and challenges that come with seeking worldly success. As the 2011-2012 school year began and I continued to wrestle with God about returning to the classroom, 2nd year after a 10 year absence, the parable of the sower was impressed upon my heart and I began to meditate and reflect upon its relevance to me and my aspirations for success. I felt returning to the classroom was a step backwards going in the wrong direction of where I desired and aspired to be in life.

Facing financial hardship, being displaced professionally due to budget cuts and reassignment back into the classroom, along with experiencing a reduction in time spent with my children associated with the transition of divorce due to having to relocate a further distance from them in losing my apartment, I could see myself as the person described in Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed sown among thorns. My mind was occupied with much that choked out the word of God’s ability to help me grow in faith, mature in Christ and produce the fruit of love inspired by the work of His Spirit living in me to work in and through me. Despite any external circumstances I may face, it is still God’s desire, purpose and plan for me to mature in faith, grow in Christ and produce the fruit of His Spirit. Striving to achieve, attain and amass worldly success and wealth may cause me to ignore the greater ambition of growing in Christ as a Christian.

“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21 NIV

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” – Proverbs 22:4 NIV

Humility, fear of the LORD (respect for God), and the pursuit of righteousness (faith in Christ and the application of His principles) results in life, prosperity, honor and wealth. This is what the bible teaches and this is why I believe success is inevitable for the sincere seeker. God promotes success through the bible, but God does not want us to seek success, He wants us to seek after Him, while giving honor to Him for the success we achieve. In comparison to worldly success, those who mature in faith and grow in Christ are seen as successful, if not more, from a heavenly perspective. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21 NIV Seeking worldly success will cause me to have my treasure, focus, solely on what I can attain and amass in this world and not invest in my eternal life. The goal of the Christian is not to become consumed by this world and its principles of living and remain focused, balanced and invested in the eternal things of life too, according to the principles of scripture.

May God bless you and help you to maintain a balanced, focused Christian life maturing in faith, growing in Christ and producing the fruit of His Spirit as you experience the fullness of life Christ came for you to have.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

When I think about the principle of success, progress comes to mind on the subject of success and the Christian. Early in my faith walk I discovered this verse that reveals God’s expectation for the Christian with regard to progress after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I am saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, so I do not have to do anything to earn, or receive salvation. After salvation, Romans 4 teaches that the promise God spoke to Abraham, which the book of Galatians chapter 3 says we are heirs as the seed of Abraham, comes by faith and grace. The book of James teaches that faith without works (actions) is dead (James 2). So when 2 Peter 1 encourages us to add to our faith, it is explaining the responsibility of growing, developing and progressing in our faith relationship with Christ in order to experience the promise of Christ of the fullness of life He came for us to have.

We cannot develop the attributes mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-8 on our own, but with deliberate consistent actions involving: 1) Prayer, 2) Bible reading, 3) Scripture meditation & memorization, and 4) Application of God’s word, we allow the Holy Spirit to grow within us to produce the qualities and spiritual attributes described in 2 Peter 1 that need to be added to our faith. Another way to look at it: A) God’s word informs us of what to do, how to do it God’s way, who we are in Him and, B) the Holy Spirit helps us accomplish what God commands and expects (grace).

Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” As we yield our hearts and minds to God, demonstrating a sincere willingness to abide by His word and live by His authority, the Holy Spirit will help us to both want to and follow through with doing what God requires. Psalm 1:1-3 explains it like this, ” Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. he is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” NIV

God desires that we prosper spiritually just as we desire to prosper personally, professionally, economically and in relationships. This is why Jesus asked the proverbial question, ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?’ The teaching of material/financial prosperity without the application of soul prosperity is an unbalanced theology of the subject of prosperity. If a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, then heaven’s perspective of success and prosperity extends well beyond what one can accomplish from the perspective, or standards, of this world. In fact, a lot of what God expects of me and requires for me to do as a Christian cannot be achieved without His Spirit at work in, through and around me.

Success as a Christian, from the perspective of scripture, is measured by how much my life imitates Christ. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6 NIV “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” – 1 John 3:9b NIV Success as a Christian is the continuous measured progress, growth, development of Christ’s person manifested through me as I learn to abide in Him and allow His word to abide in me (see John 15).

May God bless you and help you to add to your faith the qualities and attributes of Christ, by the internal work of His Holy Spirit within you and through you, so you may encounter the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 2:5 NIV

A recent conversation with a friend of mine led to the thought, ‘Where do I stand?’ In his disclosure about how he seeks to demonstrate integrity, self-discipline and faithfulness it inspired that thought within me. Where do I stand on the subject of success and wealth? Do I believe God wants me to be successful? Do I have to be wealthy to be successful as a Christian? If I am not wealthy, does that mean I am living beneath the promises of God for my life? Consistent and careful inspection of the scriptures has led me to my own discovery of the subject of success and wealth and, more important than the subject of success and wealth, it has led me to the greater revelation of the necessity of the continuous renewing of the mind process required if I am to experience and sustain any measure of success and wealth I aspire to achieve in this life.

The NIV version of Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” The way I think about success and wealth should be the same as the way Jesus thought about it. Jesus mentioned in Luke 12:15 that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. The true value of my life will not be weighed, by God, by the amount of wealth and material goods I have accumulated in my life. Though others around me may marvel at and be envious, God will not be impressed.

Success in Christ begins with learning to think and act like Jesus in how I live daily. To achieve this I have to experience the expectation from God of having my mind renewed. This is vital and critical to understand, because I can accept and confess Christ as my LORD and Savior, but if I don’t begin the process of renewing my mind, I can still operate from the mindset and perspective of the world. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 NIV

I am persuaded God ordained me to be successful, but I am learning that success as a Christian needs to be extended beyond the realm of material possessions, wealth and personal achievement in the work place and developing one’s fullest potential as an individual. Success as a Christian also will be measured by how I consistently encountered the transformation of becoming more like Christ and made use of all that God blessed me to have to better the lives of others and the world around me! In fact, the latter measure of success determines the reward, or treasure, I will receive in heaven that we lose sight of the longer we live in this world and strive by the standards of this world to attain wealth and achieve success.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV How successful am I currently in becoming like Christ? Do I have the same ambition to grow spiritually and live for God as I seek to be successful and wealthy? With the same intensity I devote to getting ahead and seeking promotion, do I look to invest time in prayer and bible reading, meditation and scripture memorization? Success as a Christian requires me to. In order to attain the mind of Christ and learn to think as Jesus did, having the same attitude as Jesus did, I must become familiar with the way Jesus talked and lived. To do this I must invest time in prayer and with the word of God, learning to apply the truth of scripture and live by its principles. This is the renewing of the mind process that empowers me to no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world and the standard of success and wealth that stunts our growth in Christ.

How confident would I feel, today, if I had to stand before God and give an account of my measure of success in being a Christian, if God used the measurement of success by the standard of His Son?

May God bless you and help you to experience the fullness of life Christ came for you to have by the continuous renewing of the mind process He requires through time invested in prayer and with His word by reading, meditating and applying its principles.

“Be strong and courageous. Be very 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. 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.”

– Joshua 1:7-8 NIV

Continuous conversations, over time, on the subject of success have led me to understand a number of things: 1) Success is relative, 2) Success is inevitable for the sincere seeker, 3) God promises and promotes success, and 4) Success for the Christian, according to scripture, is distinctly different from the world’s standard of success. Recent illumination, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, from the book of Deuteronomy and the book of Acts helps me to better define, for myself, what the bible’s perspective on the subject of success is. It also brings into clarity and question, for me, how my life measures up to what God requires of me that would allow me to see clearly whether I am actually being successful, as a Christian, according to what is written in God’s word.

Success is relative. The sick woman, illustrated in Mark’s gospel, experienced the success of seeking Christ for her healing, despite the condition of being in a state of depletion and disappointment for 12 years. She didn’t erect a great temple, wasn’t regarded as a prominent person in her community, or held a prominent place in society, but she achieved the outcome of her hope in God. How many do we know who resign to defeat in their sickness, or circumstances, doubting there is hope for healing. Aside from Jesus, Peter is the only person, recorded in history, who walked on water. Though it was momentary, his faith in Christ enabled him to do the impossible and, eventually, Peter’s faith ignited the birth of the church of Jesus Christ that added thousands to its numbers daily in the book of Acts. That same faith that enabled him to walk on water, empowered him to recover from the great condemnation he would feel in denying his Savior 3 times before he was reinstated to serve God’s purpose in his generation.

Success is inevitable for the sincere seeker. When you reread and reflect upon what God spoke to Joshua in the first chapter of the book of Joshua, you will discover specific principles God conveys to Joshua that will bring about the success God proclaims to Joshua to walk in. In context to the task given to Joshua to lead Israel into the land of promise, a task greater than what Joshua could achieve on his own, insight reveals what God told Joshua: 1) Be strong (be confident in Me as God), 2) Be courageous (look beyond your fears), 3) Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you (follow me as Moses did), 4) do not turn from it (do not be distracted), 5) Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night (pray about, reflect on and speak what my word says; conversate with others about my word in relation to what you hope for in Me to do according to My promises).

God mentions success twice in verses 7 and 8 of Joshua chapter one. God promotes and proclaims success. Also, with regard to Joshua, this is the same Joshua who sat in the tent while Moses is described as talking with God face to face as one would with a friend. “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” – Exodus 33:11 NIV It wouldn’t hurt to be in company with those who seek the LORD sincerely too (a biblical principle the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22).

In Deuteronomy 8 (v.18), God reminds the Israelites their ability to produce wealth comes from Him. He does this to remind them not to forget Him, or the source by which their success is achieved. In the book of Acts 1 (v.8), Jesus explains to His disciples that they will receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, to be his witnesses to the world about Him and the power of God for salvation. The bible teaches that God gives us power, or ability, through Him working in us and through us, to produce success for ourselves in the form of material wealth and spiritual productivity by sharing the message of faith, leading others to Christ and helping them grow in Christ. If I want to hear Him say, “Well done!” Am I experiencing success currently with the ability He has given me? Which success, from the perspective of heaven, will matter more in eternity Deuteronomy 8:18 or Acts 1:8? Success for the Christian is distinctly different from the world’s standard.

May God bless you and help you make use of the power He has given you to produce wealth and proclaim Christ and His principles to fulfill His purpose for you and experience the fullness of life Christ came for you to have.