Excerpt From The Book, Keys To A Revolutionary Life
“There is only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way.” (Christopher Morley)
Others paraphrase it, “Do your own thing.” When it comes to success, that viewpoint enjoys great popularity. It says,
- “Look out for number one.”
- “Build it our“
- “You only go around once in your life, grab all the gusto you can.”
- “I built this with my own two hands.”
We evaluate options and opportunities in life by asking, “What’s in it for me?”
To add to the confusion, these attitudes offer apparent advantages. They imply that possessions and prestige become ours, and our net worth will increase. The good life brings many pleasures. We soak up the attention of our friends like a sponge.
Although our possessions increase, they do not satisfy our unquenchable thirst for more. It’s like a mirage—what we think we see is not what we get. Emptiness permeates our lives. Our lives carry dusky, empty souls. Heartache and anxiety arise in the midst of our “success.”
This kind of prosperity brings nothing but vanity and void. We can build a measure of success like this without God. Or, we can submit our own desires to God’s glorious purpose for our lives.
Daniel faced these two choices. He found himself a captive in a foreign land. He could walk the way of the world, and who would have blamed him? Why fight city hall? Why not give in to the pressures of the world? What difference does it make? Few, if any, will ever know the difference.
Or, he could walk in obedience to God and His word. That path could mean rejection. It could also bring poverty and death.
God says that true prosperity springs from obedience to Him and His word. Then and only then would Daniel experience the success that God gives.
Daniel refused to walk the way of the world. Instead, he chose to obey God and His word. As a young prisoner of war, he faced the temptation of the king’s table.
The king offered Daniel a portion of his meat and drink. However, he gave it to Daniel after he had sacrificed it to his idols. Eating that food, which included many foods forbidden to the Hebrews in the Law, would have caused Daniel to disobey God’s word.
He had to choose between the advice and counsel of the world to follow pagan practices or to obey God’s word. Daniel remembered God’s commands not to eat the forbidden foods or foods offered to idols. We read in Daniel 1:8:
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
His decision to obey God in this test set the pattern for Daniel’s life. As a result, Daniel experienced the prosperity of God in his life.
We Christians, too, can know the prosperity of God in our lives. But we must obey God and His word.
What’s In It For Me?
“What’s in it for me,” you may ask, “if I choose to follow the counsel of God?” Happily, God’s word tells us what we can expect.
In Psalm 1, we find a description of the believer whom God calls successful. It says:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
In God’s eyes, the successful man bends his will to the commands, instruction, and teaching of God as revealed in the Bible. The Psalmist likens a prosperous, blessed man to a tree, which illustrates God’s prosperity.
God’s Prosperity Brings Poise.
Poise is stability under stress. It keeps its balance between opposing forces. It keeps calm under pressure. In the midst of storms, a tree stands firm. Daniel’s life demonstrates it.
He resisted at least 5 storms in his life. In Daniel 1:8, he encountered the dilemma of the king’s diet. On two occasions, he faced the fierce problems of interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. The drawings on the wall in Daniel 5 challenged him. Finally, in Daniel 6, he defied the decree of Darius and landed in the den of lions.
Through each storm, Daniel remained calm. Unperturbed, he rejected the king’s food. Calmly he interpreted the dreams of the king. He firmly and confidently explained the writing on the wall. Finally, when thrown into the lion’s den, he faced it without wavering.
Christ provides poise in the midst of the storms of our lives. He stills the rolling sea and replaces our sorrow with joy. Through Christ, faith dispels doubt and insecurity, and hope for eternity supersedes our fear of death. In Colossians 3.15 Paul reminds us to let the peace of God rule our hearts.
When the storms of life assail us, we will remain steadfast and settled. Its winds will not sweep us aside like chaff. We will have the stability we need when we obey God’s word. God’s prosperity brings poise.
God’s Prosperity Provides The Prerequisites.
God supplies the essentials of life. The Psalmist compares God’s blessed ones to a tree, planted, not in the desert, but by streams of water. Rivulets of water flow beside it. That tree has an unending source of supply for its needs.
Daniel experienced the provision of God in his life. When he needed physical strength, he received it from God. At the king’s demand for interpretations from him, Daniel found wisdom from God. Though danger stalked his life, he stood secure.
Scripture reminds us in 2 Peter 1:3 that Christ provides all that we need for life and Godliness. He satisfies life’s daily necessities. We have His promise of comfort for our distresses, healing for brokenness, His presence and power when desolate.
Greater than that, Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to live a Godly life. He prospers us in our physical and spiritual deficiencies.
God’s Prosperity Enables Production.
Further, God assures production. The life within a tree manifests itself as the tree grows. Daniel’s life demonstrated such spiritual fruit.
His life proclaimed the virtue and nature of God. The Babylonians saw in him a visible expression of God’s invisible power at work in his life.
Christ teaches that very truth in the parable of the vine and the branches in John 15. You cannot tie the fruit on the tree. As we allow Christ to express Himself through us by the Holy Spirit, we bear fruit. Our lives show evidence of His Life present within us.
Finally, we have prosperity and success God’s way. We accomplish God’s end and purpose for us. We flourish when we bend our will to the precepts, instruction, and teaching of God’s word.
We can know the same success today that Daniel knew so many years ago. God does not limit His prosperity to positions of prominence. He can make us thrive even though we may be nameless exiles. We can triumph in the lion’s den or savor success as the counselor to a king. We can prosper in poverty or plenty. It begins with the decision to bend to the word of God.
“What’s in it for me?”, you ask. Delight yourself in His word. Meditate upon it. Obey it as Daniel did. Then you, too, will begin to discover success in your life…God’s way.
Biblical Law #5: The successful man in God’s eyes bends his will to the commands, instruction, and teaching of God’s word.
© Thomas P Hill.