God designed you for success. He made you to be a winner. This is true for every person, regardless of what has happened in the past. God has never destined anybody to live a mediocre life.
Jeremiah 29:11 says,
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
This verse says that God knows His thoughts toward you, and His desire is to give you an expected end. That end is promised in the Word of God. You can walk in victory like Moses. He was 120 years old, and his eyesight wasn’t dim nor his natural force abated (Deut. 34:7). He actually climbed a mountain the day he went home to be with the Lord.
These things are in the Word, and God is no respecter of persons. What we have today is superior to what Moses had in the Old Testament. We can be guaranteed success. Now, I’m not saying success can always be achieved without a fight or without effort, but we were destined for great things.
God created every one of us to be something special, but I also feel that we live in a culture that has totally misrepresented true success. As a matter of fact, I looked up the meaning of the word. The American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) defines success as “The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.” That’s a pretty broad definition. I mean, some people are aiming at nothing and hitting it every time. The second definition I found is “The gaining of fame or prosperity” (AHD). I hate that definition. That is not a godly definition of success at all. Lots of people have fame and prosperity, but they do not have true success.
In my opinion, success needs to be redefined. It’s not just doing something grand or big. In fact, not everybody is called to do something big. I try to get this across to our staff all the time. We have 300 people on staff here in the U.S. alone, and if it wasn’t for every one of them, we couldn’t do what we’re called to do. They may never be the one in front of the camera, but they are still a big part of what we’re doing. We really count on and appreciate those who keep our facility clean and looking good. And without the individuals who keep the roads ploughed and sanded in the winter, we would be in trouble. We need all of these people to help us be good stewards of what God has given us. Their jobs may not seem as significant as others, but they are being faithful in what God has called them to do. That’s what I call a success. Those who are faithful in a few things will also be faithful in much.
Matthew 25:23 says,
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
If we are good stewards of what God gives us, He’ll increase us and give us more. The way that success has been presented is not a godly concept at all. I want to encourage anyone who feels like they haven’t done much: God’s got something more for you, and you can succeed. Your faithfulness will be rewarded. And for those of you who think you’re awesome, I hope I can help you recognize that success is not based on all of these temporary things that will pass away. God judges things differently than we do.
First Samuel 16:7 says,
For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Many people look amazing on the outside, but in their hearts, they’re miserable – they don’t have joy or peace and certainly don’t have success. Understand this: There is nothing in this world that will minister to you or satisfy you more than knowing that you are in the direct centre of God’s will.
Many of you reading this can’t say for sure that you know you’re doing what God has called you to do. You may love God and want Him to use you and bless you, but you don’t know for certain that you’re where you’re supposed to be. This is one of the reasons people aren’t happy and satisfied. In some cases, I believe God has given certain people a holy dissatisfaction. He’s trying to stir them up. This is one of the ways God motivates you and lets you know that there’s something more.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1 Corinthians 3:10-13
This is describing that as we go through life, we are either building with gold, silver, and precious stones or with wood, hay, and stubble. It does not say that everybody is building with gold, silver, and precious stones or that everybody is building with wood, hay, and stubble. We have a choice. The sad fact is that many of us build things in our lives and accomplish things that aren’t what God intended for us. And we count these things as a success. But one day, we’re going to stand before the Lord, and He is going to put a fire to everything. It says in Matthew 12:36 that we’ll give an account of every idle word that we speak. So, God will hold us responsible for every action and for every word that comes out of our mouths. Anything of wood, hay, or stubble – even if it looks good to man and conforms to the world’s standard of success – is a work of the flesh and will count for nothing.
A lot of people think wood, hay, and stubble are referring to adultery, fornication, and drug addiction. But did you know that people have done things that would appear to be godly – started churches, been in a foreign mission field, and written worship music – but none of it was led by God? For instance, my good friend Arthur Meintjes recently shared with me on an episode of The Inside Story that he once pastored a church and later realized he was doing it in his own strength. His life became so difficult that he was ready to take his own life. That’s when God taught him grace and really turned his life around.
It doesn’t matter whether the end result is good or not. God wants you to do what He has called you to do, and He wants you to do it out of His ability. I think what some call burnout is just people doing good things in their own strength and power. God’s never had anybody qualified working for Him yet, so stop relying on your own ability. If you don’t trust in the Lord, you can’t accomplish the things He’s planned for you and you won’t be a godly success.