Learning to succeed at this thing called life


I want to succeed in life, don’t you? We all have dreams we’d like to see come true. We all have goals we’d like to achieve. Each one is as different as the next because we’re all different. Some of us want to lose weight. Some of us want to be financially independent. Some of us want to have creative liberty. And for each and every goal or dream, there seems to be at least six different 12-step programs to making them a reality. Have you noticed?

Celebrities offer workshops. Doctors offer seminars. Television show hosts offer not-available-in-store miracles. But do any of those programs actually work?

I’m sure they do, but what it really comes down to is your definition of success. Because any program will work for a little while. It’s what happens when the program is over that’s the problem. My definition of success is lasting success, and a 12-step program rarely helps with the long term.

But I’m learning that regardless of your dream or goal, there’s one thing we can all do that will help us achieve success, both for right now and for the long term.

hand-534867_1920Today’s verse is James 4:10.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Thirteen little words. Just be humble, and God will take care of the rest. That’s what it means, really. So surely that wouldn’t be difficult, right?

Oh, if only it were easy! Being humble is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

First, we need to understand what being humble means, though, because I think we get it mixed up. Being humble isn’t necessarily coming from humble circumstances. As with everything else, your circumstances really shouldn’t have a bearing on how you behave or how you choose to live. Circumstances change; convictions should come from Scripture.

What being humble means is acknowledging that God knows better than you do.

Ouch.

Anyone else wince at that? Because that’s the hard part right there. That’s the point where a lot of people get tripped up. Because does God actually know better than I do? How can He? I’m the only one who’s running my life. So where does God get the right to tell me what I can and can’t do?
That’s where humility comes in.

Humility is quietly accepting the truth that God is greater than you are. It’s agreeing to obey Him even if you don’t understand why He wants you to do something. It’s backing down when you feel like fighting Him, because you trust that He knows what He’s doing.

See? Not as easy as it sounds, is it?

It’s completely backward from our world’s perspective on life. In our world, if you want to succeed, you have to be cut throat and vicious. You have to look out for yourself. You have to fight and struggle to get what you deserve, and nobody has the right to tell you what to do with yourself except you. The world tells us that if we live like that, we’ll succeed, but it’s a lie.

Sure, we might get fame and money and wealth and status and power. But none of that lasts. You can gain all the wealth and power in the world and still not take it with you.

But if you come before the Lord in humility, acknowledging that He is God and that He alone has the right to command your life and your steps and your dreams, God will lift you up. He’ll exalt you. He’ll take you from a low place and take you higher so that you can bring glory to Him in whatever situation you may find yourself.

That’s the point. That’s what life is about. Bringing glory to God, who made us, who made everything.

So if you want to succeed at this thing called life, remember you need to start first with being humble before God. Go to Him and tell Him what you want, what you need, what you dream, and be willing to turn it all over to Him. Let Him take your dream. Once you hand it over, He will make it into a reality for you. You might not recognize it at first when He gives it back to you, but eventually you’ll see that the path He has you on is the one you should have been on all along.

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