Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Starting Block For Success.


“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time! Too many people waft through life from year to year. People like this allow life to happen to them: if you aren’t purposeful in making decisions and going in a certain direction, then you end up being pushed around by your circumstances. It’s more like living a life of crisis management. But life was intended as a race to be run (Hebrews 12:1). Paul exhorts us to run the race with the intention to win it (1 Corinthians 9:24), and if you’re going to run to win you need to be focused and intentional.  The reason why so many people don’t experience a better year every year is because they vaguely hope for a different outcome while doing nothing different. Albert Einstein defined that as insanity.

You start a race at the starting block and a journey starts at the beginning. The starting block for true success is found in the following words of Jesus:
 
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33 KJV

This verse contains some very powerful keys to success.  Here are a few of them:

Key #1: True success starts with relationship with God
Think about what God intended in the Garden of Eden before the fall of mankind. What religion did Adam and Eve have? They merely enjoyed a friendship with God - that’s the religion we should have! Christianity isn’t about rules and regulations, and it isn’t about trying to be better by doing better – it’s all about relationship with God. It’s a friendship.  It’s about receiving His free gift of salvation and living in friendship with Him. Everything in life should flow from a place of relationship with God.

Key #2: True success comes from prioritizing (seeking first) His kingdom
This is talking about doing things God’s way; prioritizing what God prioritizes, and treasuring what He values. Seeking first His kingdom means choosing to devote your heart, time, life and energy to the things that are important to Him. People are more important to God than anything else.

Key #3: True success comes from seeking first His righteousness.
True success isn’t found in ourselves: it’s found in Jesus and comes from His grace, which makes us right with God and deserving of the blessing of God.
              
You can experience some success in life without relationship with God and without seeking first His kingdom and righteousness, but it will never be true success. This would be like running a race after a false start; you didn’t start right and should start again. If you keep running, it doesn’t matter how fast you run - it is in vain. You can experience some success in life by not doing things God’s way, but this is not true success. This is like running a race and then cheating, when you get to the finish-line you will be disqualified and forfeit the race.
 
“What profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?”
Mark 8:36 ISV

If you view true success (and a great year) as accumulating stuff and making certain accomplishments, then you will aim for that and probably do anything to get there. But true success is aiming for God (seeking Him first), doing things His way, loving what He loves and following His leading. Life is not only about the destination (where you’re going) but also the journey (how you get there). True success is starting with God, running with Him and finishing with Him!

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