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The Heart of Success

After God's Own Heart Part 3

After months of being out from this blog, I’ll continue on the series I began five months ago. This time we will be talking about success.

The reason I’ll be talking about success today is because we are in the season when many young people are entering into the new chapter of their life, the chapter of chasing after success. This month is Graduation month in the Philippines.

Many people are spending much of their lifetime chasing after success. And success by the world’s definition is having much money, becoming famous, having good connections, insured life, insured car, insured body parts, etc. This problem has even infected many Christians. Charles Spurgeon once said: “One reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”

If we look at the lifestyle of the world and compare it to how “Christians” act today, we can seldom see a difference. We spend money as much as the worldly people spend. We look at the same entertainment the world is enjoying. We spend as much time as unbelievers watching materialistic and morally polluted programs in the television and in the movies. We download the same apps. We play the same games. We spend more time in the pleasures of this world than in the presence of God. We even allow the world to control our life by chasing after success according to the expectations of the world and not of God.

I’m not saying that striving to become successful is wrong. What I’m saying is becoming successful in the temporary things is stupid. Remember Jesus’ parable about the rich man who thought that he has everything he needed (Luke 12:20). God said to him: “You fool! Don’t you know that tonight you will die? Who’s going to take care of what you’ve earned?” What good is a man even when he gains the world yet forfeits his soul?

A Look At David’s Success

Wordly Success1 Samuel 18 talks about David’s rise in favor of the Israelites. It follows right after David defeated the giant Goliath. We will be looking on David’s life with two scopes. The first view is the outward look at David’s success:

1. He has friends (18:1-4; 6; 16). – Not just ordinary friends, he is the prince’s friend, king’s friend, women’s friend, and people’s friend. Who would not like to be friends of everybody?

2. He has fame (18:6-7; 16; 30) – David became very known to all the people of Israel. They made songs for him. He was even more famous than the king! Imagine yourself like him. Imagine it when people make a song about you.

3. He has family (18:18; 20; 27-29) – Not just an ordinary family but a royal family! If David is alive today, we can liken him to someone like Kate Middleton. Imagine yourself marrying a president’s daughter. That’s success!

4. He has fortune (18:4-5; 27). – He was given gifts. He has men with him.

5. He has a good future (18:27; 30). – He was given an important job. He would be the king’s son-in-law.

These five things—friends, fame, family, fortune, and future—are what the people of this world is chasing after. David had them. But are they the measure of his success? Are these things the only evidence of David’s success? I’ll give you a hint: in the next chapters, these things were taken away from David!

Not let’s have an inward look at David’s success.

The word “success” or “successful” or “prosper” in Hebrew is “SAKAL” (saw-kal). It appears three to four times in this chapter: 18:5; 18:14; 18:15; 18:30. The use of this word is very interesting. The word “success” in the Hebrew, particularly in this chapter means “act wisely” or “behaved wisely.” That is why, to some of the Bible versions, it says there “behaved wisely” or “act wisely” or “skillfully” (e.g. NKJV). Verse 14 tells us how David was this successful/prosperous/wise/skillful: “The LORD was with him.”

So What Now?

The first lesson is this: Success always involves character! And character comes because of God’s abiding presence. Read verse 14. David was successful or behaved wisely because the “Lord was with him.”

If you want to be successful in life take this: Be successful in character! You may not have all the things in the world but if you have character, the character based on God’s standard, you are more successful than any other people. The greatest obstacle to success is your own self. And the greatest obstacle to enjoying God’s presence is you. No wonder David, in the height of his success, was able to humble himself. He was able because he is after God’s own heart.

Interestingly, the English word “success” comes from the Latin which means “come after.” Success “comes after” following God’s own heart.

The Mark of True SuccessSecondly, success is not measured by our ability but by how we act wisely! Remember what made David this successful. What made him prosper, act wisely, behave wisely, or skillfully? Look at verse 14 again: “And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him.” This gives us the main principle: Success is not measured by gold, glory, or girl’s presence but by God’s presence. It is not about the pleasures of the world, but about the presence of God in our lives.

We must remember that worldly pleasures and success is always a struggle. It is always what the enemy is throwing at us. Remember Jesus’ temptation, it is the same thing that Satan throws at him: “Just worship me and all the kingdoms and riches of the world will be given to you,” says Satan.

But our response should be like that of Apostle Paul’s:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.     Philippians 3:8-11 (ESV)

 

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in After God's Own Heart, Series, Sermons

 

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Things To Think Before I Marry

w2wuThoughts Art Ransomed (TAR) are random reflections I regularly post on Facebook. They are thoughts from my personal meditation of God’s word, songs, and statements I find from friends and other sources. This week’s series talks about marriage.

#TARSeries 009: Marriage is a bond, not a bondage.

#TARSeries 010: I am marrying a human being, not an angel. Humans need forgiveness, angels do not.

#TARSeries 011: I am an imperfect person marrying an imperfect person. I should not expect a perfect marriage.

#TARSeries 012: A husband should love his wife as Christ loves the Church, that includes dying for her when necessary.

#TARSeries 013: If I can’t give my heart fully to God, I won’t be able to fully love my (future) wife.

#TARSeries 014: How I perceive women today will affect how I perceive the woman I’ll marry.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Wrap Ups

 

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TAR Week 1 Wrap Up

Week 1 Wrap UpThoughts Art Ransomed (TAR) are random reflections I regularly post on Facebook. They are thoughts from my personal meditation of God’s word, songs, and statements I find from friends and other sources. This week’s series is all about being all in for Christ and what it means to be a Christian.

#TARSeries 001: Oftentimes I work driven by many things learned from the Bible school to the point of exhausting myself trying to be approved by men when only God’s approval matters. O that my heart would burn with the passion only for God’s name!

#TARSeries 002: I know nothing of the battles everyone is fighting through. So, I should be kind to everyone. Always. (From To Save A Life‘s Facebook post.)

#TARSeries 003: I’ve caused enough unnecessary hurts to many people for me to learn to live by this principle: SPEAK ONLY WHAT’S NECESSARY WHEN NECESSARY.

#TARSeries 004: I find it always necessary to speak about my Lord Jesus Christ everywhere everytime.

#TARSeries 005: I want this to be my epitaph: Here lies a stranger who wants to meet you in heaven and he wants you to know that the ONLY  WAY TO HEAVEN IS JESUS CHRIST.

#TARSeries 006: I should take my worth from the cross of Christ, not from my critics.

#TARSeries 007: I don’t wanna say a word unless it points the world back to You (taken from Hawk Nelson’s song, “Words”).

#TARSeries 008: I’m sorry for passing judgment instead of extending love (from a post by All In Power).

Follow me on Facebook to get the everyday posts.

Next weeks series: Things To Think About Before I Marry

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Wrap Ups

 

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