Below are seven facets of our life that we can hone to ensure that we are living the most successful life we can possibly live. These are areas that I try my best to pay attention to…. many times I fail miserably….. but my intention and goal is always to be better, do better, and live better.
So much comes down to positioning ourselves for great things. Often times, we wonder why the cards just don’t fall our way. The truth may be that we simply don’t position ourselves for positive outcomes. For example, in the story of Jacob and Esau, you find that Jacob strategically positioned himself in a place to gain his brother’s birthright. This story is usually laid out in a much different light than how I interpret it, insomuch that Jacob is described as a deceiver and a thief of his brother’s birthright. However, I believe that Jacob found success that day and received his father’s greatest blessing, because he was diligent to prepare and position himself for the right opportunity, at the right time. Had Esau done the same, he may not have found himself so easily bartering his most valuable possession. Every step, every decision, every opportunity you face is an occasion for you to position yourself for success.
A person’s posture tells a lot about them. As a kid, my mother would always stress to me how important it was to stand up tall and not to slouch. Was she worried about the curvature of my spine or did she understand something even more significant about the power of posture? An individual’s posture can reveal tremendous insights to their character. When you see someone who slouches as they walk, you may get the impression that they are lackadaisical, or perhaps suffering from low self-esteem. Or when a kid in a classroom is anxious to be picked and she throws her hand up in the air and yells out, “Pick me, pick me!” This child’s anticipation and eagerness to be chosen permeates through her posture. What does your posture say about you? How do you present yourself when you walk into a room? What does your disposition exude? What is the direction and flow of your conversations – are they upward or downward? This is posture. It reveals our priorities and our heartbeat. When we posture ourselves with excellence, we exude a confidence and a brilliance that is hard to miss. David, in the Bible, is a great example of someone who postured himself well. Time and time again, David is found wholly (mentally, physically, spiritually) posturing himself toward God and excellence, and because of this, he experienced honor by God and favor by men.
While the word “potential” has positive implications, all it really means is that “it hasn’t been done yet.” When someone is said to have potential, they bear the ability to perform something, but they have yet to actually do it. It’s a grievous thing to hear after someone’s death that they had the potential to accomplish something great, but they failed to seize the opportunity. In the book of Judges, God calls Gideon a “mighty man of valor.” Based on the resume of Gideon, this acknowledgment would have seemed preposterous, because, c’mon, Gideon was nothing of the sort. Gideon, along with the rest of the Israelites, was hiding cowardly in the mountains from the Midianites. Nevertheless, God knew Gideon’s potential and He declared to him that he would overthrow the Midianite army. Initially, this awareness of his new found potential frightened Gideon. He was baffled that someone who came from such a poor home and who was the very least of his family could bear this kind of potential. Yet, when the Lord said to Gideon, “Surely, I will be with you,” I believe Gideon trusted the potential that God had placed in him. As the story unfolds, Gideon did overthrow the Midianites, making his potential, not just a possibility anymore, but a fulfilled reality. Just the same, when we dig deep into the awareness of what God has called us to be, and we exercise our faith and ability to perform it, we can fulfill the potential inside of us, no matter how great or seemingly impossible it may be.
My son’s middle name is Zeal. My wife and I chose this name because of a fascinating story in the Bible about a man named, Phinehas. In Numbers 25, Phinehas is noted by God for his zeal. As the story goes, Phinehas turned away God’s wrath upon Israel by eradicating the source of sin that was infecting the camp. Phinehas was driven by his passion for the Lord. He had placed an incredible value upon the covenant relationship that Israel had possessed with God, and anything that was going to threaten it, he was willing to fight for. When it comes to living a life that is noteworthy and successful, you must find yourself willing to fight for those things which are noble, worthwhile, true, and right. You must be eager to act and to crush the obstacles and offenses that serve to threaten them. Phinehas’ driving passion to preserve the things that he deemed right and valuable proved to be a rewarding fight, in which God bestowed a blessing of peace upon Phinehas and the generations that followed him. When you have a passion for something, and that passion drives you to noble action, there is nothing under the sun that can prevent you from accomplishing the task. Passion is the fuel that leads to victory, and you can never reach the finish line unless you have possessed that passion all along the way. Hebbel, a German poet from the 1800’s, once said, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
What drives your life? In order to really know true success, you must be able to answer this fundamental question. Unfortunately, many people lack the kind of clarity, or even desire, to know with certainty what their life purpose is. This is sad, because it shows that a person can move through their life without possessing meaning or significance to anything they do. It means that there are those who merely wander around this world just biding time, not really ascertaining what it all amounts to. Some claim to find their purpose in personal pursuits of achievement or tangible success, but I submit, focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life purpose. In fact, your life purpose isn’t about you – it’s about what God made you to do. Our life purpose can be summed up within the parameters of the Great Commandment: Love God and love your neighbor. This goes far beyond just feel-good emotions toward God and mankind. It is about living a life of service. It is about building a relationship with God and building relationships with others. There is no greater significance in this world, no higher measure of success, than to live out your life motivated to serve God and man in everything you do. This is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all purpose, this is an ageless principle that will guide you in all matters of your life to do the things that truly matter and that will give you the greatest fulfillment.
What is prosperity? Is it having an abundance of money and assets? Or is it possessing an assurance that your needs will always be taken care of? Joshua 1:8 says, “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.” When you observe and diligently obey the principles that the Bible lays out, you are gauranteed prosperity and success. That’s preposterous, you say? Allow me to clarify – you are not gauranteed millions of dollars in your checking account, but you are gauranteed a fail-proof system for successful living. Does this mean that men and women who follow Scripture whole-heartedly do not experience problems or failures? Absolutely not. What it means is that when you employ the principles of stewardship (the management of the resources God has given you), you will experience the assurance that God will honor His promises to take care of your needs. You will have a peace that will guide you through every struggle and pitfall. When you honor God with your resources (time, money, relationships, etc.), you will be prosperous in every facet of your life.
2 Peter 1:10 says, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Everyone possesses some skill, gift, or quality that is unique and beneficial. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to figure out what it is, but it is so important to keep digging until you find the treasure that lies within you. I can recall years ago, when I was aspiring to go into the nursing profession, my father and I were discussing my future and the direction of my life. At the time, I was taking some nursing courses, working as an aide in a nearby hospital, and thinking I was pursuing a noble career in touching people’s physical and spiritual needs. Nonetheless, after my Dad heard me out, he so candidly admonished, “Jeremy, this nursing thing…. it’s a nice coat, but it just doesn’t fit you.” Umm, okay…..thanks Dad…..I think. His comment was a hard thing to swallow at first, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. I was ignoring the voice inside of me to pursue something that I thought would be a “smart choice.” My Dad was not trying to discourage my ambitions, he was challenging me to pay attention to the direction of my passions and the things that flowed out of me naturally. In all reality, I never really wanted to be a nurse. I had other ambitions that spoke louder and talents that were much more obvious to me. These ambitions and giftings were placed within my DNA when God created me, and they were the voices urging me to pick up the coat that was custom suited for me. You see, success is not found when you choose a profession that pays big money – it is found when you find your unique coat and you wear it. I believe there is power in wearing the proper coat. David couldn’t wear Saul’s armor, but he knew how to throw a sling. He stuck to what he knew and he was victorious. When you stick to what you know and follow your giftings, you will be successful, too.