Most want to live successfully in this life. No doubt there are exceptions. The definition of “success” varies in different cultures and the people in them. However, most everyone has some standard to which they want to conform. I want to suggest some principles and concepts which can help us live successfully during this year.
There are countless obstacles to living successfully. Temptations of every conceivable type work to draw us away from godly living. Doubts, fears and confusion threaten to lead our minds from the truth and destroy us spiritually. Peter was right. Urging that Christians seek to be “sober-minded” and “watchful,” the apostle warned that our “...adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This enemy of everything spiritual continually seeks to keep us from living successfully for the Lord, even as God seeks daily to encourage us to live by the success-assuring wisdom made possible by the all-wise creator of the universe.
Despite those roadblocks thrown in our path, intended to overcome those of us trying to live successfully, we can be assured of divine aid. God will do everything possible, short of living our lives for us. We have been created with free will; the choice is ours, whether to serve God or the Devil. As Joshua challenged the Israelites to choose between God and the false deities of the Canaanites, so we are urged to “choose...this day whom [we] will serve....” (Joshua 24:15).
We need to not be afraid as we seek to meet the challenge. God has promised to give us help when we need it. The scriptures are full of examples of those who, in spite of difficulties and enemies, still lived successfully in the greatest sense of that word. Look again at those witnesses to God’s strength in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11.
Now, regardless of the definition men give for success, no one can say he or she has lived successfully unless it is in accordance with the light given by God. This certainly isn’t the standard of success in the thinking of irreligious people. Many unbelievers scoff at the Christian viewpoint, but they do so largely because they have a limited, erroneous attitude toward life and its values.
Many places in holy scripture assure us of the vital need to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The apostle Peter said of him, “...there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The apostle Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ....” (1 Timothy 2:5). The Biblical historian Luke records a sermon by Peter in Jerusalem designed to convince the Jews of their need for forgiveness of rejecting Jesus. He proclaimed, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). Their response was immediate and sincere: “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). The apostle’s response was equally sincere and immediate. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
The only way we can successfully live life is to follow the highest standard possible. Learn and obey the Lord’s will and you cannot fail!