Everyone pursues success. To many success means the accumulation of enough wealth that will enable one to buy what he wants. To others success means having an army of adoring fans or followers. To others success means the possession of great authority or having the power to shake and move people and events. These are some of the world’s definition of success. However, the spiritual meaning of a successful man or woman according to the Bible is simply someone commended by the Lord as a good and faithful servant who having been faithful with a few things will receive charge of many things. Success in the biblical sense means sharing the happiness of Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:21). In our study sessions, we will consider six steps toward achieving success as the Bible defines it.
Step 1: Ground Your Worldview on What is True, Good and Right
Everyone has a certain outlook on life. A perspective on things. A way of interpreting the events that take place around us. Sometimes this perspective is referred to as a worldview, sometimes a belief and value system. Everyone has a worldview. Some are aware of it as such. Some are not. But everyone has a certain outlook on life.
What we believe to be true will determine what we value, that is, what we believe to be good and right. And what we believe to be good and right will determine how we act or react to things or to what takes place around us. Our worldview is who we are. For example, if we believe in luck, we will likely frequent the casino or the racetracks or religiously buy a lotto ticket every time there is a draw. We will also consider ourselves “lucky” when good things happen to us. If we do not believe that women are equal to men, we will not give them the respect they truly deserve. If we do not consider a fetus a human being, we will have no problem with abortion-on-demand. If we do not believe in God, we will not bother to go to church or restrain our behavior because He sees it.
Ordinary people usually believe something to be true simply because they choose to believe it. Successful people first examine a proposition and after being satisfied with its soundness or validity, then and only then, will they accept it as true. The question begging to be asked is this: “Can truth be known?” “And if truth can be known, will it come to us by way of reason or revelation, or a combination of both?” “Will it come by way of intuition or impression, or through a strong emotional prompting within us?” Underlying questions to our inquiry, therefore, are, “What part in me do I trust most?” “Is it my reason, is it my intuition, or maybe my feelings?” “Are they all that is needed to provide me with a worldview that is based on what is true, good and right?“
Everyone acts at times on reason, sometimes on intuition, or sometimes on emotions when making a decision, and we make decisions continually. But no matter how fast or deliberately we come to our decisions, we reach them through the doorway of our worldview. How important is it then that our worldview be such that it will bring success? Obviously, very important.
The starting point, therefore, in ensuring success is a reality check on your belief system. “Are your beliefs grounded on truth?”
After Jesus had delivered His lengthy sermon on the Mount of Olives, He had this to say: Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).
In order to succeed, it is important that we make sure that our beliefs are grounded on the rock, on what is true (what conforms to the word of God), so our values may be grounded on what is good (what pleases God) and right (what conforms to the will of God), and so our actions will, likewise, be good and right. It is important, therefore, that we ground our worldview on the words of Christ.
Lets go back to our first question, “Can truth be known?” Yes, truth can be known because it pleases God to reveal Himself to us. God does so in two ways. First, in a general sense, through His work of creation. Through the study of nature, the physical properties of things and the physical laws that govern them, knowledge can be acquired. General revelation is available to men everywhere for all times.
Second, God also reveals Himself in special ways – through the spoken word, through the living word, and through the written word of God. Through Old Testament prophets, God instructed the Israelites on how to live a righteous life. New Testament apostles and prophets spoke to the church concerning the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, particularly the coming Messiah. For 30 years, Jesus lived on Earth and spoke about God and His kingdom. All this special revelation has been supernaturally recorded in the Bible (men wrote under the supervision of the Holy Spirit) and is made available to those who particularly care to seek God.
The next question we need to ask ourselves is, “Why is reason not sufficient in knowing the truth we need to know?” Jesus said to his disciples, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. This statement presupposes a kind of bondage; one that holds us captive to lies, half-truths, or downright ignorance. Romans 1:18 tells us that although God’s natural revelation has been made plain to us, we suppress truth because of our godlessness and wickedness. If we are to know and understand the truth we need to be set free; we need God’s illuminating grace applied on our reasoning capability. Our understanding must be revelation-driven, not reason-driven. Revelation must take the driver seat and reason the back seat, and never the other way around.
Another question, equally important, is this: “Why is knowing Christ necessary in acquiring the truth we need?” Simply put, spiritual growth will not take place without knowledge of the truth concerning Christ. And lack of knowledge of truth means one has little faith which always ends in disobedience to God. In turn, the consequence of disobedience is always suffering. Therefore, hearing, learning, and believing the words of Christ are essential to our well-being. When we embrace the truth of Christ, our faith in God grows. When we become more faithful to Christ, we become more obedient to God. Obedience produces an abundant life. Knowing Christ is knowing the truth that leads to success and to an abundant life.