I love to watch, hear and read success stories. It is one of my favorite pastimes. I think that may be one reason why I love social media. People tweet it out or Instagram or Facebook their successes. I love to see and enjoy the happiness of others, especially when they find love, graduate, get into an MBA program or win their first swim meet. You see the joy, the excitement of accomplishment. In fact, I really don’t know of anyone who doesn’t enjoy succeeding. :o)

Recently I compiled a long list of people I am meeting within the next year, God willing. I have questions for them, questions that will take me deeper with them and give me a chance to learn from their lives and their experiences. I want to ask three questions.

How has failure shaped your life?
What do you consider to be your greatest success in life so far?
What books have you read that I should read?…LOL…you know I am going to ask that!

I am loving this project and I am learning a ton. Recently I talked to a young woman who was not on my list but I was so interested in her that I just started the list of questions with her. It was amazing to learn that her story was very similar to Collins’ story in the area of college athletics. In her first business adventure she lost over 100 grand and now she is enjoying a successful career in sports marketing. My time with her was so enjoyable and profitable. Already, with just the few people that I have been able to interview and “go deep” with, I have found they all have three things in common:

extreme adversity,
and success!

Another really cool thing I am learning from these people is that they have a “bias for action”. They do not let grass grow, especially when it comes to being used by God. They say “Yes” willingly and quickly when they know God has moved and spoken. They also don’t blame their failures on God. Funny, they all look back and have determined that their failures resulted from their poor choices and a lack of filtering their decisions through His fingers……:(

A few have experienced painful circumstances from the actions of someone else who has harmed them. Someone else’s sin required months and years of counseling for them in order to heal and redirect their emotions and thinking. I have been pretty stunned by those things. I am so thankful that God has directed me to take on this project. I am learning so much and God is doing a new thing in me.

Point of post…God’s plan is for His children, people who invite him to be Lord of their lives, to have life and have it abundantly, which includes success.

God’s definition of success can be very different from the world’s definition. God defines success as following His will, His plan for our lives, which entails “dying to self” and, yes, “taking up our cross” and following HIM.

Salvation is a free gift; it makes us “righteous”. Then comes obedience, which means an attitude and desire of “I want to!” Side note: defiance is “I want!” and compliance is “I have to!”

Obedience to God is a desire of ready feet with a happy heart that says…READY….SET…..GO! Yep, that is the what brings the godly success that He has for everyone. This is already looking like a long post…so stick with me. God is speaking through these fingers and scripture.

Let’s look at the life of Gideon. I love this real life story. It teaches me three things about God’s definition for successful people.
1) He uses ordinary people.
2) He desires for us to be faithful in the little things before He can entrust us with the big things.
3) He requires obedience, even if it doesn’t make human sense.

Just read the whole account of Gideon in the book of Judges. Gideon was hiding threshing wheat in a wine press when God called him to a success story. Of course Gideon didn’t know the end. He had to begin before he could have the ultimate success of victory over the Midianite army. He had to go home and tear down the idols that his dad, a compromised Jew, had erected to Baal.

Gideon was fearful so he tore the idols down at night. Note: his fear didn’t stop him. Then, as he assembled the army, he had to obey God by cutting down the size of the army to the “right people”. This made no sense to Gideon, or me as I read the account, assuming and placing myself in the position of not knowing the outcome…like Gideon. The army was cut from 32,000 men to 10,000.

Do you think when God told Gideon to tell the ones who were afraid to go home (small step–he just had to say, “Go home if you are afraid”) that he expected a stampede of 22,000 to leave? Very important point here–God usually doesn’t use people who are paralyzed by fear. Why? Because they lack trust/faith in Him.

On with the story of Gideon’s continued OBEDIENCE. He then was told to make a second cut of the army. God needed men who were not self-seeking so he made the cut to 300 by having Gideon conduct a simple test (an unknown test to the men) with the men. The ones who made the cut got down on one knee but kept their heads up and cupped the water to their mouths rather than getting down on all fours to consume the water in a very self-serving way by guzzling the water and giving no thought to keeping watch for the enemy.

Then, to make the story even better, God tells Gideon to take the mini army and gather clay pots, torches and trumpets. They were to crack the pots at His command, light the torches and blow the horns. It so frightened the enemy that they turned on each other in fear and started stabbing each other. Needless to say, Gideon and his small army were victorious when it didn’t make human sense. That is usually how God gets all the glory…when he takes it out of the realm of our understanding. :))))

To sum it up…God desires success for all His children. He loves people who have a bias for action–quick and total obedience. When we lack faith and trust, we tend to not obey fully. We are leaning on our own understanding. Scripture is clear. Lean NOT on your own understanding but IN ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge HIM (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

So, if you are lacking success in life, look at the areas and get honest with God. Is there an area that needs obedience, even if it doesn’t make human sense? There is no time like the present to experience the abundant life that Christ has for you. :)))

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