Joshua 1:8 KJV: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Here God tells Joshua and us by extension by the Holy Spirit how to get ‘good’ success.
This implies that there is ‘bad’ success, ‘better’ and ‘best’ success.
God gives us a definition of ‘good’ success in
3John 1:2 KJV: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Good, divinely defined success is holistic: spiritual, intellectual, physical, financial and material.
What then is ‘bad’ success?
It is intellectual, physical, material and financial success, without the prosperity of the soul: the spiritual well being of the will, mind and emotions.
It is possible to prosper intellectually, physically, financially and materially but not spiritually: your soul: will, mind and emotions do not prosper.
What is the prosperity of the soul in detail?
Please recall that when you get born-again, your spirit receives the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4): eternal life and you literally become a child of God: having as it were God’s ‘DNA’ in your spirit!
However, your soul: will, mind and emotions is not born-again; you have to use the blood of Jesus, the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to gradually (Mk. 4:28) ‘save’ your soul. As your soul gets saved your
1. Will becomes more humble or submitted to the will of God (Phil. 2:8; Mt. 2:39) especially when you don’t feel like it.
2. Mind becomes more enlightened with the revelation knowledge in general and of the Christ life in particular, from the Holy Spirit through the written Word (2 Cor. 4:6).
3. Emotions become more controlled by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
This saving of the soul is the whole essence of spiritual growth: in fact it is the end or the goal of our faith:
1Peter 1:9 KJV: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The degree to which it is accomplished is the degree to which your success is divinely (not humanly!) defined as bad, good, better or best!
The truth of the ‘saving’ of the soul is expressed in
James 1:21 KJV: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Observe that it is the Word of God received with an attitude of meekness that gradually saves the soul: so as the soul gets saved its attitude becomes meeker: more humble.
This is why the Lord Jesus said:
Matthew 11:29 KJV: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Now sadly, what happens is that many Christians in their quest to succeed intellectually, physically, materially and financially neglect the saving of their souls by allowing the ‘cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts (desires) of these other things’ (Mk.4:17) to ‘enter in’ and ‘choke’ or squeeze out the time they should have given to the Word and prayer in order to save their souls.
Consequently they get intellectual, physical, financial and material success to a degree (though very limited compared to what God has in store for them) but get ‘leanness to their souls’: this is ‘bad’ success.
Psalms 106:14-15 KJV: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. (15) And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
In our article next week, we will see how to avoid ‘bad’ success and get good, better and best success!