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Two dictionary definitions of success are to achieve a desired outcome, or to reach a goal one has set for oneself. Depending on what we want out of life, success can mean many things and can be reached by multiple paths. These definitions focus on our own self-efforts to get what we want, but the Bible has a whole different perspective of success. Worldly success can be fleeting and hollow, but God wants us to have the true and lasting success that only comes from Him.
We’ve all heard stories of rich business owners who chased after money at all costs only to lose it all, famous movie stars who committed suicide, or fabulously wealthy entertainers who were miserable and lonely. What many people go their entire lives without realizing is that true success and prosperity comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Grace-based prosperity is rooted in our willingness to depend on His abilities, not ours.
God wants us to succeed in every area of our lives, not just financially. As our heavenly Father, He wants us, His children, to experience financial prosperity. But God’s definition of prosperity goes way beyond money. His will for us includes a healthy body and mind, a tranquil, born-again spirit, a happy marriage, and a peaceful family life (3 John 1:2).
The definition of grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved, and unearned favor, and our faith in it gives us access to it. When we truly believe in our hearts that God wants this kind of grace-based prosperity for us, it will eventually come to pass. Our present circumstances don’t matter at all when we let God take charge of our lives. We can learn from the Bible story about Joseph, who was sold into slavery but became highly successful because of God’s favor (Genesis 39:1-3).
Joseph could have turned bitter because of what life had thrown at him, and he could have strived through his own efforts to change his circumstances. But instead, he relied on the Lord, and God caused him to prosper in everything and become a ruler over Egypt. Joseph’s master trusted him because Joseph was honest, wise, and had a good work ethic and a godly character (Genesis 39:4-6).
Joseph knew to avoid evil deeds and do the right thing, because God had given him wisdom. Joseph’s actions demonstrated his relationship with God. Even when others lied about him and he was wrongly accused of adultery, Joseph obeyed God’s prompting (Genesis 39:7-12). Like Joseph, even when things appear to go horribly wrong in our everyday lives, we can trust Him to make everything work out (Romans 8:28).
When we’re born again, God comes to dwell inside of us and guide us to make the right decisions in life. When we meditate on His Word and seek His will for our lives, we begin to change, and people recognize Jesus when they look at us. In everything we do, God will direct our steps toward prosperity and success. And when we start experiencing it, we can remember that it’s not about what we have, but Who is in us.God knows we need the basics: food, clothing, and shelter. And when we seek Him, God will keep His promises and those things will come (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, by putting Him first we keep a proper perspective on all the things we can accumulate (Romans 14:17). All