Measure of Success

Genesis 39:2

“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.”

This is an unusually insightful story for today in our ‘name it and claim it’ spiritual climate. Joseph was successful [an alternate word can be prosperous]. He worked hard with integrity in all he did. It is so easy to see that the Lord was with Joseph and miss the fact that Joseph made it possible for God to operate freely in his life. Materially Joseph was prosperous and successful but it started with his spiritual life.

Becoming successful in area of life can be quicksand for the unwary. One of the take-away lessons of Joseph’s life is being successful is not a guarantee that all will be pleasant and nice. For Joseph, it started when his brothers at first wanted to kill him but instead sold him into slavery. By the world’s standards, he had ample grounds for being revengeful and rebellious. But instead, he rose above the conditions he found himself in [and they were all unjust] and maintained his integrity before God. Maybe he knew that proverb that says: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” [Proverbs 16:18 NASB]

Key word            successful

definitions:   ● turning out well: having the intended result

● popular: popular and making a lot of money

● record of significant achievements:

● having achieved much, especially wealth, fame, or power

synonyms:   ● acknowledged, ahead of, influential; authoritative

antonyms:   ● unsuccessful, failure, loss

 

Something to Ponder:

Just because we are spiritually successful; that is, we live and act as Christ in us acts, does not exempt us from temptation. Paul wrote to the church gathered at Corinth: Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” [1CO 10:12 NASB] Be careful to measure success by God’s standard and not by the world’s.

Having said that, consider the charge given to Joshua by God Himself:  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you maybe careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you willhave success.[Joshua 1:8 NASB] Our success, as measured by God, is directly proportional to the time and effort we put into internalizing His standards for living.

So what are the disadvantage[s] of not following God’s protocol? 

Just because it appears that God “is on our side” seeing as things are going so well, should not be an occasion for us to let down our guard. Satan will always look for ways to strip us of our integrity. When bad things happen, allowing Satan to play the “blame game” on our minds will cause us to become victims because he will convince us we have lost our entitlements. God does not care about our entitlements but does care about our obedience regardless of our circumstances.

There are definite Advantages and Benefits:

There is a saying that goes like this: “The real test of a man’s character is what he is like when no one is around.” Joseph was obedient to what he knew God expected of him even when no one was around to know. He consistently lived this way as a slave and as a prisoner. Jesus, by His very nature, was entitled to more than we will ever comprehend but He turned that all over to His Father who in turn was able to use Him to restore you and I.

There is another benefit we can learn. Potiphar’s wife was persistent. She tried to entice Joseph not just once but ‘day after day.’ Joseph was not a superman. He like all of us had his up days and down days. There were days when he felt strong and days when he felt worn down. It is the temptations that occur day after day that will be the toughest battles. Alcoholics know this well and hence learn to live one day at a time. Joseph lived one day at a time and that was his secret to success with God. Sometimes success means running for your life!

Here are THREE Applications to consider:

A1:      We cannot see our future and God’s plans for us now. Are you a character like “Joseph” and live and work in obedience as God expects of you?

A2:      No matter what we have lost and how bad the conditions we find ourselves, are you maintaining your success before God by being obedient even when nobody is around.

A3:      Real success is measured by what Jesus taught: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” How are you doing in advancing His kingdom by doing His will when nobody knows but our Father?

Leadership Formation

Posted to Summit Notes by WCAblog on 8/13/2012 6:00:00 AM – ADAPTED

What transformation [a complete change, usually into something with an improved usefulness] have you noticed in your life thus far, if any? I seem more open and willing for God to lead me to new places and take on new things that before I only dreamed about. And it all seems to tie back to our willingness to leave family and employment security to go where we felt God was calling us. I seem to be thinking more differently; more other focused. Not that I have arrived. But there seems to be a God-driven thing going on in my spiritual life. 

How have you experienced any relationship between your transformation and understanding God’s will for your life? (verses 1 – 2) The focus is more on how I can serve others. I recognize the sin of grabbing the reins and trying to elevate myself to someplace not at the right time or manner. I am learning to lead where God puts me. Patience plays a big part in the process. I have to be at the right place of experiential knowledge so that I have the God-given skills and understanding needed for His next step for me. It is all about initiative. Am I taking my own initiative or am I taking the initiative that God is setting before me? That is the thing that I have struggled long and hard with. It has been about my getting to the same place [not arrival but continuing process of learning] that Jesus stated [John 5:30 NASB]. I am learning to be content with where God has placed me. I am learning to be patient and wait for his calling and initiative.

What spiritual gifts have you received from God to serve the body of Christ? During your time of solitude, ask if God has anything to say to you about the way you’re serving with those gifts? Why do you think leaders are challenged specifically with diligence? What might that unique challenge suggest about particular temptations of leadership? (verses 3 – 8)

God is not saying that I should not think. I need to think 360° – looking at all of the angles and not just my particular bent. “Thinking more highly” borders on grandiose thinking. Where has God put me to lead? That is where I am to lead. Let God expand the borders of my ministry. Think within those borders. Serve well the people He has placed in front of me to serve. So the only accurate understanding I can get of myself is through who God is and what He does though me; not by what I think I am or can do for God!

God has bless me to do certain things well. Under God’s grace He has given me the gift of teaching. I am to exercise that gift, remembering that it is a gift and not an entitlement. Accordingly I am to seek to grow the church. Teaching is the mechanics but it is the grace of God that energizes this gift.    

God has also given me leadership abilities. I am to take that responsibility very seriously.

Romans Chapter 12 ends by highlighting the call to live a life of service with the characteristic of Christ’s love. How does this passage speak to your current circumstances of living out your God-given assignment? Take some time to talk with God about what you need from him to live into this vision of leadership marked by love. (verses 9 – 21)

Let love – let my love for God’s people be without hypocrisy. On the outside I can be very friendly and yet in my heart can be harsh and unaccommodating to God’s love. That is hypocrisy. It is pretending to love without really loving.

“Do not be wise in your own estimation.” My translation: Do not be overconfident and show my self to be a fool in my rough idea on how wise and important I think I am.

Being finite in knowledge and power the best I can do is revenge. That is a human action. As far as I know God is never cited in the bible as taking or will take revenge on us. He exercises justice, not revenge. When I take revenge, I excerpt God’s prerogative to bring justice and therefore slam the door for shut for restoration. Revenge thinks only of self satisfaction … not restoration of another.

 “My Morning Prayer” introduced during the Summit.

 God, this is a new day. I freshly commit myself to the role you have invited me to play, as you are building your church in this world. I am awestruck again today that you include me in this grand life-giving, world-transforming endeavor. So today I joyfully offer you:

My love, my heart, my talents, my energy, my creativity, my faithfulness, my resources and my gratitude.

 I commit all of myself to the role you have assigned me in the building of your church so that it may thrive in this world. And I will “bring it” today. I will bring my best. You deserve it. Your church deserves it. It is the Hope of the World.

Leadership is an intentional year round process.