There are conflicting arguments as to whether or not those in the Christian faith should strive to succeed in today’s world. Should Christians seek to acquire material wealth, positions of authority, or other things held in high esteem by the world, or should they simply persevere until the Lord returns?
It is interesting to note that throughout the Bible rich people are esteemed and exemplified. These people, who inherited, earned, or acquired wealth or position, include Abraham, David, Solomon, Job, Ruth, and Esther, among others. They appear to have lived in accordance with God’s will as stated in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” .”
You may be surprised to learn that a success strategy is identified in the Bible and is being practiced by people inside and outside of the Christian community. It involves making lasting, transformative changes in your thoughts and actions to achieve your true destiny.
Making lasting changes in the way we conduct ourselves is one of life’s greatest challenges. And, since we are creatures of habit, the longer we have been operating in a certain mode, the more difficult it seems to switch to something new. Think of the challenge the early disciples had in changing the belief patterns and associated actions of the people of their day. Changing beliefs that were tied to centuries-old traditions would seem like an insurmountable task, but they succeeded as the proliferation of the Church today confirms. Yes, there were many who witnessed miracles and were converted, and in later times many were ordered by law to adopt the Christian faith. But then and now there are still those who are not eyewitnesses of God’s miraculous acts, nor are they forced to adopt faith, but become believers. How does this kind of transformational change happen?
We are told in the sixth chapter of John that faith is a gift from God and so we know that people come to believe by this means. But the early Christians were also given specific instructions on how to change their lives after they became believers. In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul instructs early Christians seeking to lead a new and different life to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Apostle Paul was well aware that the first step in changing our actions begins with the mind. He goes on to say that a transformed mind will allow a person to taste and approve of God’s perfect will.
For many, distractions, confusion, procrastination, insecurity, and/or lack of focus are the main obstacles that stand in the way of living the good life that God has intended for us, as stated in Jeremiah 29: 11, Proverbs 10:22, Psalm 128:2 and elsewhere. They are the same detractors of destiny that prevent us from setting goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve them. What many don’t realize is that we have a powerful transformation tool to defeat these detractors. This powerful weapon, which when properly adjusted and used can overcome everything that stands between us and our God-given destiny, is the mind. It is the same instrument of change that Paul instructs the first Christian followers to use in the transformation of their lives.
The mind is a powerful force through which the most difficult tasks can be accomplished and the greatest obstacles overcome.
So how do you use your mind effectively to transform your life and achieve your purpose? Using the mind to make transformative changes in life is a four-part strategy that involves the spoken word, vision, faith, and action.
The first part of the transformational change strategy involves the power of words to change results. The first example of the power of the spoken word appears from creation. God spoke to bring the earth into existence in Genesis 1. In John 4, Jesus healed a sick child by speaking. These are examples of the power of the word of god. But what about the spoken word of his creations: you and me? In John 15:7 and Mark 11:23, Jesus answers this question when he states that whatever we ask or say will come to pass, if we believe it to be so. This is the power of the human word combined with faith. This is confirmed in Mark 11:24 when He states, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The second part of the transformational change strategy involves the power of vision. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that people without vision will perish. We need a dream or a goal to strive for. We need something to keep us going, but more importantly, we need a specific vision to achieve a specific goal. In the Bible, God gave Moses a description of the Promised Land; John was provided with a description of the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation. God gave them an image to put in their minds, to help them focus their thoughts and actions on the desired future. Likewise, it is important for us to have a clear picture in our minds of the goals we are striving to achieve. Having a clear picture in mind helps crystallize our thoughts and solidify our statements. It also supports the next part of the strategy which is to have great faith in the realization of your goals.
The third part of the transformation strategy is to have a firm belief, conviction or faith. Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as “being sure of what we hope for and sure of what we do not see.” Some argue that this contradicts the need for the power of vision; however, they actually go hand in hand. A vision of your desire that is firmly planted in your mind differs from the act of physically seeing that desire. In the transformational strategy, one precedes the other. You see your desire in your mind’s eye, through faith, before it materializes and is visible to your physical eyes. Jesus confirms this in Mark 9:23 when he tells us that everything is possible for those who believe.
The fourth part of the transformational change strategy is action. James 2:24 informs us that we are justified not only by our faith but by what we do. Later, in verse 26, we are instructed to act in support of the faith we have, since faith without action is dead. Taking action, even a small step toward achieving your goal, gets the achievement ball rolling. In the Bible, God usually caused people to take some type of action before divine intervention took place. For example, people had to walk around the walls of Jericho for seven days before the walls fell; the poor woman had to pick up the jars before they were filled with oil; Gideon’s small army had to blow the trumpet before the enemy army was defeated.
There are many variations of this four-part transformation strategy advocated by people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Its success has been proven time and time again. For those of the Christian faith it is comforting to know that it is backed by the Living Word and that we need not be afraid or feel guilty about applying it in seeking God’s will for our prosperity. The point to remember is its biblical foundation and application. Don’t be afraid to claim and apply God’s Word to your life.
So should Christians strive for success? Should they follow a God-given strategy to do so? The answer is YEAH!
Success has many definitions. As detailed in Habakkuk 2, it is your motivation to have it, your path to achieve it, and your application that reveals the nature of your heart. Go ahead with your dreams of prosperity and remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Copyright 2008. Gillian Williams McClean, SayingsofSuccess.com