Success is a relative term. It means different things to different people. Your definition of success will be different from another person’s definition. For a student, success may possibly mean acing the exams or being at the top of the class. For a homemaker, success may mean being a good spouse and raising up good kids. For an athlete, success may mean winning the next accolade, trophy, or medal. To a career person, success may mean getting a promotion, a certain remuneration, or status. In fact, our definition of success changes as we grow and mature.For a Christian, the definition of success is doing God’s will. Click To Tweet
It is important to note that I did not say knowing God’s will but doing God’s will. Most people hear God’s voice and know what they ought to do but do not act. Faith is all about doing.
James 2:17-19 NIV – In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.Good intentions/thoughts do not change the world. Good deeds do. Good intentions without actions are futile. Click To Tweet
Surprisingly, the world is full of people with good intentions but barely make them come alive through actions.
Acts 10:38 NIV – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Matthew 5:16 NIV – In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
People who are doers are agents of change in this generation and the future generations. Martin Luther King had good intentions. He believed that all men are equal and are created by God. He quotes “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. (1963)”
Martin Luther changed the world through his actions! He was murdered for being an agent of change through standing against racism, inequality, and discrimination. A day (Martin Luther King day, 17 January) was set apart to celebrate his heroic acts.
Do not be deceived. God speaks to his children. A Christian hears God’s voice. The Bible contains God’s thoughts and will for us. The holy spirit quickens us through our intuition. God also plants his thoughts in our minds. God may send somebody to minister to you. In short, there are various diverse ways that God speaks to us. What we need is to perceive and understand.
The just/righteous shall live by faith. The just/righteous are not instructed to live by hope but by hope. This is because faith yields hope.
Romans 1:17 NIV – For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Isaiah 66:1- NIV – This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD.The Power of Obedience: Why You Should Obey God Click To Tweet
People love to be recognized and esteemed by mere mortal men. What of the living God, the king of kings, the creator of heaven, earth, and everything in it?
God esteems those who are humble and contrite in spirit and who tremble at his word. He takes up their cause as his. God esteems the person who trembles at his word. I would define such people as those who esteem and treasure God’s word, who are prompt to act when they hear God’s voice. Delayed obedience is disobedience.You cannot please God without faith. Faith is a prerequisite for intimacy with God. Click To Tweet
Abraham is a concrete example of one such man who had these qualities. God constantly referred to Abraham as his friend.
James 2:23-25 NIV: And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. Click To Tweet
Abraham is referred to as the father of faith for a reason. He was prompt to obey even when it did not make sense.
You do not have to see the entire staircase to go up the stairs. Faith is bringing invisible things into being.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
God appears to Abraham in a dream and asks him to leave his native land and go to a foreign land. Abraham and his entire family had dwelt in his land for all their lives. Most people in Abraham’s shoes could have been reluctant or hesitant, but not Abraham!
God also asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, the son of the promise. Abraham and Sarah had waited for his son for years. I expect Abraham to sleep in that day and be demotivated. On the contrary, on the day Abraham is supposed to sacrifice Isaac, he wakes up early and starts the journey to Mount Moriah. The journey takes them about three days. I would think that he could get second thoughts along the way and turn back. But this is not so.
Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Here is God’s response to Abraham’s obedience to sacrifice his only son:
Genesis 22:15 NIV – The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Jesus instructs Simon Peter to casts the nets into the deep. Simon responds by saying that they had not caught any fish all night long, but at his word, he would obey. They caught a great catch. If Peter did not obey Jesus, they would not have gotten any catch. He ignored his exhaustion and despair and went ahead and obeyed.
Luke 5:4 NIV – When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
There are numerous promises for the people who obey God’s voice. These blessings are enjoyed even by the next generations.
Isaiah 48:17-20 This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”Proverbs 21:3 NIV - To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Click To Tweet
Here is part of the lyrics to the song Respond by Travis Greene. These lyrics minister to me:
You see all
Still You’re searching
For someone who will respond
I’m right here
You sit high
Still You’re looking
For somewhere You could abide
I’m right here
I’m the one
You don’t have to search no more
Oh, I’m the one You’re looking for
When You call me, I will respond, yeah
When You call me, I will respond
When You pull me, I will come running to Your arms
I will respond to You