What is True Success?
What is True Success?
Kristen Leigh Evensen
The knots in my stomach became increasingly tighter as the hours passed. Anticipating that evening’s rehearsal, I moved throughout my day attempting to calm the nerves flaring up so wildly within me. I was conducting my very first choir that night and simply could not shake the fear of messing up, looking like a fool and losing future opportunities to serve in that way again.
Apparently, as revealed by my pulsating heartbeat, my delight was bound and determined to be found in how well I performed, and my success dependent on a set of circumstances over which I had very little control. No wonder my nerves were spinning so chaotically within me!
The question that often plagues the human mind is, “Do I measure up?” We long for some sense of security and approval that will bolster our self-esteem and give us ground on which to stand…even if only momentarily. For Christians experiencing this common worry, the problem starts with the question asked; we know that we have already been redeemed and approved in Christ. So why all the longing for confirmation and success, when in Christ we have been bestowed upon all the riches of eternity with God?
I think the question that begs an answer is in what do you find your delight?
“…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
There are so many substitutes for the Lord through which we try to find our delight. We seek satisfaction from earthly things—comfort, entertainment, physical rest, being loved by others, pursuing our gifts and passions, wealth, body image, etcetera. While all these are good gifts from the hand of the Lord, our true delight yearns to be found, not ultimately in these, but in knowing Christ Jesus.
The Lord is the only unchangeable one upon whom we can rely. True success—godly blessedness—is to follow hard after the Lord because of overwhelming delight in His greatness and gospel!
Psalm 1 offers believers a wonderful template to pray for true success. Will you pray with me for the godly blessedness of the Lord’s children, in everything we pursue?
“He is like a tree planted…” (v.3) O Lord, plant us in Christ! Make us immoveable in the faith, founded on your unchanging truths and promises. You alone are the Firm Foundation upon which we stand; we shall not be greatly shaken. We desire to be planted in the truth and not easily uprooted by the circumstances of our lives or by cheap worldly substitutes. Open Your Scriptures to us, teach us Your nature, and fill us with insurmountable joy because of the good news of Jesus. May we be planted in the truth.
“…by streams of water” (v.3) Not only planted, Lord our God, but infused and strengthened by streams of living water! In Christ, we shall never thirst again for what You alone can satisfy, a deep longing to know You forever and be restored to You through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross.
“…yields its fruit in its season” (v.3) Being planted in You and drawing from Your riches, O Lord, help us to bear fruit in Your timing. When we delight in You first and foremost, then we will see the Spirit at work within us, conforming us to Christlikeness. May the soil of our hearts be tilled and ready for a harvest of righteousness. Help us bear fruit by Your Holy Spirit powerfully at work within us. We desire to look more like Your Son today than we did yesterday.
“…he prospers” (v.3) In all that we do, we seek to delight in You, and to delight You. Our gain is Christ! May our great success be found in what is of utmost importance—in aiming to please You. Strengthen us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called in Christ. Give us wisdom in every earthly situation, so we know what most pleases You. Help us to obey You with joy and gratitude, no matter the circumstance.
“…for the Lord knows the way of the righteous” (v.4) God Almighty, You have set apart Your children for a chosen inheritance forever with You in the heavenly realms. Thank You that we know the way to new life in Christ, and it is assured. We approach You with confidence, trusting in Your grace to approve us in Christ and gather us in Your arms, like a shepherd tends to his sheep. And this amazing grace allows us, compels us, to delight in Christ all the more! The glory of Your salvation is beautifully planned and perfect.
Help us to delight in You first and foremost, O Lord. We want to be planted, nourished, bearing much fruit, always knowing You more deeply. We long to find our every success in delighting in You, aiming to please You in all that we do! Help us, Holy Spirit, this day and all our days.
Kristen Leigh Evensen is a writer, blogger and singer/songwriter. She writes on faith and identity at The Identity Project and keeps a column at WHOLE Magazine. Her desire is to see women transformed by the Gospel! Follow her on Twitter @kristenlevensen and on Facebook.