How to Be Successful In Your Christian Life

How to Be Successful In Your Christian Life

in Christian Character

It’s possible. Success is obtainable, but it depends on the type of success you want. Money, power, position? Accolades? Plaques on the wall? Advancement? The furthering of your own agenda? These types of human achievements are fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying. They leave you craving more and are essentially narrow-minded and purposeless.

God never promises such success. But He does promise that we can live successfully when His agenda becomes ours and when His goals are our goals. God has placed a roadmap to success within the pages of the Bible. We don’t have to live clueless lives or spend our days just surviving. We can actually thrive because He not only tells us how to be successful in life but also gives us the power to live it out.

If you have a relationship with God (or want one) and desire to live your life successfully for Him, then this article is for you: read on!

Know God. Know Your Purpose.

Success Means Living Purposefully

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

Why are you here? What purpose do you serve? We can’t live purposefully if we’re not asking these questions and seeking the answers in the right place.

It’s impossible to live a truly successful life without having an understanding of the Creator who has ordained everything. This is where a lot of people go wrong. They cut God out of the equation and expect to achieve meaningful success.

It. Can’t. Be. Done.

Because just like there are physical principles in the universe, we call them scientific laws, there are moral laws in the universe. It doesn’t matter what you think about gravity, it does exist. And if you ignore it, you ignore it at your own peril. The same is true for moral laws. There are moral laws in the universe, and it doesn’t matter if you think they’re good, bad, or irrelevant, they are there. You ignore them at your own peril.

If we want to live successfully within this moral universe, we need to understand who God is, and how He runs it so we can align ourselves with His purpose for us.

We live in a world of tremendous temptation and pressure to conform to the thinking and spirit of the age. If we’re not careful, not diligent, we’ll sacrifice our purpose. We’ll not live it out consistently.

This means we will live godly and purposefully in certain areas of our lives and not others. Living consistently godly lives requires us to be vigilant and intentional. We are living in a battle and must be vigilant as a guard on duty.

How to Live Purposefully?

You can’t wander mindlessly through life, ignoring God’s will and Word.

Here are the tools at our disposal to help us live out our purpose:

  • The Holy Spirit (given at salvation)
  • The Bible (God’s Word)
  • Prayer
  • Wise and godly counselors
  • Prayerful understanding of circumstances

But the key to success in life is to employ these tools consistently, daily. Otherwise, we’re floundering rather than thriving.

Are you walking with God regularly? Does it matter? Yeah, because otherwise, you’ll be ignorant. You’ll be mindless in living YOu won’t understand what the will of the Lord is for you as life and decisions continue to unfold daily.

If you are simply coasting through life, responding to stuff as it comes, rash in your reactions, mindless in your plans and efforts to know God, then you won’t be prepared for the opportunities He brings your way. Success means living purposefully.

Don't Play the Fool

Don’t Play the Fool

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Ephesians 5:15

Since we live in a world full of lies and deceit, it’s not difficult to act like a fool at times. We start believing the lies and start deceiving ourselves. We begin to look an awful lot like a fool.

A fool is someone who begins to trust in themselves more than in God. You become foolish when you begin to despise true wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). You're convinced that your way is best.

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we’ve all played the fool at some point in life. We didn’t listen when we should have. We did it our way, and it hurt. There are two ways to learn in life:

  • Listening and learning (the easy way)
  • Find out for yourself (the hard way)

No one is perfect. Occasionally, the most vigilant and consistent of us can give way to moments of foolishness. But the goal is that our purposeful, consistent godly living will help us be successful in life most of the time.

Characteristics of A Fool

But what does a consistent fool look like? Here are some characteristics you might find in your own life or in the lives of others when they live less for God and more for themselves:

  • Dominated by wrong or immoral desires
  • Self-righteous, trusting in their own hearts/own way
  • Resist God
  • Hates correction
  • Live immorally (in part or whole)
  • Not restrained or guided by God’s moral laws
  • Not concerned with right or wrong
  • Lying, empty speech
  • Unbridled anger, explodes at the slightest offense
  • Prideful, prone to fighting
  • Lives like sin is a game, plays with temptation
  • Lives as a hypocrite
  • Laughs at the empty and frivolous
  • Seek empty amusements to distract self from the emptiness of life
  • A literal or practical atheist

This last characteristic is probably the foundational trait of a fool, the one that all the other traits spring from.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a literal atheist, which is someone who doesn’t believe God exists. But it’s possible to be a practical atheist, someone who believes in God’s existence but lives life with little or no thought for God. This is self-dependence, not God dependence. It’s the foundational trait of a fool.

If you want to be successful in life, consider how often God is in your thoughts, your plans, and your decisions. Don’t play the fool, thinking you’re handling it all without Him.

Be Teachable

Want Success? Gain Wisdom.

How wisely are you living? Wise living, that’s what will determine your success in life.

Wisdom says, “I need God. I want to know His will and the next step He would have me take.” That is the attitude of a wise person. Success in life depends on how closely we follow God. And to follow Him, we must know, understand, and apply His principles.

When you live purposefully (using the tools God gave you as listed above) and avoid playing the fool, you’ll grow in wisdom and good success. You will intentionally pursue God and have a teachable spirit. Unlike the fool, a wise person wants to learn and receive instruction, understanding that it’s the way to wisdom, growth, and success.

Here’s a litmus test:

When you’re making a decision in life, how much time do you spend in prayer about it? How much time do you spend in His Word? Are you fearing the Lord, in the sense that you don’t want to go against His will or way? When you fall into temptation, are you quick to give in or do you pull back, saying, “I don't want to do that. I want to please Him, and I certainly don’t want His correction.”

Wisdom Is Active: Building A Successful Life

God’s wisdom isn’t theoretical or abstract. It’s practical. It’s a walk. It’s a practice. Wisdom equates with behavior. Wisdom is a combination of knowledge and application. You take the biblical knowledge you gain and skillfully apply it to your everyday decisions.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:2

This suggests that wisdom begins in our everyday, private living…in our house! (Ephesians 5-6) If we can’t live wisely there? If we can’t be successful in our intimate, daily lives, then how can we expect to be successful in the larger world?

As you grow in wisdom, you’ll continue to refine your choices, and what you give your time, attention, and life to pursue.

Time Is Precious

Invest Your Time Wisely: Be Prepared for Opportunities

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16

If you’re living for empty success in this present age, then you’re probably consumed with promotion, advancement, position, wealth, luxury, and pleasure.

But deep and lasting success comes when we’re not living for the here and now but living for the age to come, living for an eternal kingdom, and investing our time wisely for that purpose.

How are you investing in the regular routines of your daily life?

We have a limited amount of time. God says our lives are but a vapor, here and then gone. If you choose to spend your time on the wrong things, you’ll lose time for the things that you should be spending it on.

Time is a highly restricted commodity. Every choice we make costs us something concerning other opportunities. And some opportunities are highly purposeful, divinely appointed by God. Are you ready for them? Have you invested your time rightly so that you are prepared for what He has for you next?

Where we put our focus and how we spend our time will determine if we seize or miss the opportunities, the divine appointments God sends our way. If we live purposefully, avoid playing the fool, gain wisdom, and invest our time wisely, God will be able to prepare us for the plans He has next, allowing us to fulfill His purpose in the present.

Be Thankful In Tough Times

Gratitude: The Key to Lasting Success

Not all divine appointments are pleasant. Not all circumstances of life are easy to accept. Jesus Christ had a divine appointment with the cross of Calvary. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was necessary. It was God’s will. Do you think Jesus Christ lived a successful life? According to God the Father, He lived a life so successful that He is highly exalted and is given a name above every other.

Sometimes the path to success isn’t easy or comfortable as you conform to God’s purpose. BUT your attitude in these situations will determine how successful you are in living out God’s will.

If you’re not living a consistently purposeful life, seeking wisdom, avoiding foolishness, and wisely investing your time, these difficult circumstances will likely knock you off course with God. If you don’t actually believe that God is always good and working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28)…and if you forget that He is wise, just, and loving, even when you’re going through a very hard situation, then you probably won’t be thankful.

Rather, you’re more likely to be angry and bitter, lashing out, not trusting God, and isolating yourself from others.

But to be successful in your Christian life, you’ll need to persevere through these trials with a faith that clings to the overwhelming goodness of God. Be thankful. Be thankful that you can have confidence in Him, and that He has a purpose in even this.

Your Daily Walk with God

Success Is Lived Day-By-Day

Living purposefully, avoiding foolishness, gaining wisdom, wisely investing your time, and always being thankful, it seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

It is a lot. But don’t forget the tools and empowerment that God has given to His children:

  • The Holy Spirit (given at salvation)
  • The Bible (God’s Word)
  • Prayer
  • Wise and godly counselors
  • Prayerful understanding of circumstances

Make using these tools a regular habit for daily living, and your relationship with God will thrive, provided that you are open and yielded to His will and not yours.

And ask God for help. Pray that you will understand His purpose, grow in wisdom, and invest your time wisely. Pray over your decisions, your schedule, and your daily life. Ask for God to guide you in these areas and seek Him in His Word.

Live for God one day at a time. You can’t live out next year, but you can live today and tomorrow for God’s glory and know a truly successful and satisfying life.

Feeling uncertain about your relationship with God? Watch this video.

Adapted from Pastor James Wooten’s Sermon, Getting Ready: How to Be Successful In Your Christian Life (12.31.23)

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