Esther 6:6 “So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?”
You can look upon the shelves of many a bookstore today and find enough reading material on the subject of “How to Succeed”. Whether it is in the business realm, cooking, writing, sports and much more; there is advice from many on how they succeeded and how you can too – if you just do it their way.
But there is only one book I know of that can produce success in this thing called ‘life’… The Bible – the Word of God.
I love the book of Esther. It is a classic read of good against evil where good – or God – prevails. Time after time, you will find principles that when applied, will work because God promised that they would.
Take Haman’s situation.
He sought position, power and wealth; and for all that he sought after, it cost him his life. His hatred for the Jews and for Mordecai pushed him to openly build a gallows for which he was to hang Mordecai. The plans Haman he had made to eliminate the ‘threat’ to what he sought to gain, backfired miserably.
David knew the principle.
Psalms 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Jesus taught it as well.
Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Even the Apostle Paul sought to deflect any praise for what was done through him.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
I have had dreams, plans, and schemes that have literally been foiled by God because it was not what He wanted for me. Now, you may think I was worldly, or carnal in what I wanted.
I truly thought that God wanted me to be in full time ministry. A good thing to aspire to – right? Working full-time in the work of the Lord was where I wanted to be. Many of my peers in the church were enjoying blessing, fellowship, and fruitfulness in their ministry and I felt if I wanted it bad enough, God would give it to me.
It wasn’t until I sought the Lord’s will earnestly in prayer that I found that I was right where He wanted me to be. I put out my fleece before God to answer my prayers, but found I just needed to trust His leading.
The world’s receipe for success may work to produce what may look like increase. We may gain acceptance into larger, more influential circles, But, there is really only One who’s acceptance means anything.
Some say to clear out all other things and people who do not line up with the path chosen to get you where it is you are going. Only fellowship with those who will better you, influence you toward your goals. Be productive by silencing the ‘noise’; focus on what brings success and don’t take any detours.
Most often, those on that path are self-centered and self-focused. Their decision making is based solely on a “what’s in it for me” mentality. What does not make them better is often discarded; disposed of, thrown away and neglected.
The sad part is the thought that people are disposable as well.
Many think God doesn’t care enough for them to want such success. We think that way because we fail to read the Word of God.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
We like the ‘prosperous’ part and the ‘success’ part. But, it is the practical application: making the Word of God a daily part of our life; observing to DO all that is written therein that becomes a problem.
We want to know how it ends. All that reveals is that we want control. Take God at His Word:
Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”
God has a plan set for you and for me long before we were ever born.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
When I am not concerned about the success of a matter, I can focus on what is truly my part – humble obedience.
You may still wonder – How will it all turn out?
In God’s economy, the inward affects the outward. A full heart will overflow with whatever it is full of – good or evil; blessing or cursing.
Simply, our success is based on how well we obeyed the sweet Holy Spirit as He leads me to do the Father’s will.
We will all struggle – even our Savior was confronted with that choice.
Luke 22:41-42 “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
To be successful in God’s eyes; to hear those words:
Matthew 25:23 “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.”
We must do things the way the Lord, the righteous judge, would want them done. Then, we can be as Paul, who, when his life was completed, said:
2 Timothy 4;7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”