Who will have success? Who will be successful? These are two similar questions but with very different answers. The answer depends on the vantage point. Success is determined by what others see, being successful is determined more by our intent. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A successful endeavor is different for each of us. Not everyone has the same standard of success. What might be a failure for some, in turn, can be a success for someone else. Look at it this way; how do we judge success in sports? Some will judge the season a failure if they don’t end up with the championship. Some are looking just to improve over last year’s performance. Some are looking for game action and for some completing the season without injury is judged a success. Our standard defines being successful.
The standard for success however, is different and depends on our view of life. You know there are two different ways of looking at things, our way and God’s way. When we judge success in earthly terms we focus on accomplishments, possessions and status. We look at awards and recognition. When we look at success from a Biblical viewpoint, we focus on whether we have submitted ourselves to God and have done His will.
Will we have success? That depends on the standard you use. Many thought Jesus a failure as he hung on the cross. They challenged Him to save Himself. They hurled insults at Him and questioned His claim to be the Son of God. In the end Jesus was successful, He accomplished what He came to do, He gave His life so that we might have life.
Luke 5:1-11, One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Luke tells us about the calling of the first disciples. We read about the first encounter of Simon Peter with Jesus. Peter had just finished a night of fishing; he caught nothing and was cleaning up his nets. Along comes this guy who wants to use his boat for a pulpit. He did not have much success the night before and he’d rather just clean up and go home. Then this guy tries to tell you how to fish. Who is this guy?
Let’s examine what has to take place. First, we have to let Jesus in. Whether it’s our boat or our life, we cannot be successful without Jesus being a part of it. If we refuse to let Jesus in, we sealed our fate from the start.
Once Jesus is a part of our life, we have to follow His commands, do what He leads us to do. It is not much good to have Christ in our life if we don’t listen to him? He will guide and direct us to what is right and just. He will guide us to places we would not go on our own. We need to listen and follow.
Let’s take a look at Peter’s dilemma. The best time to fish was at night and in shallow water, but contrary to this, Jesus instructed Simon Peter to put out into deeper water in the middle of the day. Peter, like us, questioned if Jesus knew what he was talking about, but Peter followed. Jesus provided a large catch of fish, greater than Peter had ever scene
Here are our first set of directions on the road to being successful;
1) The first step to being successful is including Jesus. He must be a part of our life.
2) Then we need to allow Jesus control of the direction and decisions in our life.
3) The result; Jesus will guide us to people, places and things that we wouldn’t have considered and provide abundant blessings.
I find it amazing that Peter walked away from everything he had accomplished, everything he had built, his entire business and followed Jesus. What would it take for us to leave everything and follow Jesus? It is hard to imagine what it would take, to just leave everything and follow Jesus? That’s exactly what Peter did.
Peter and his associates had been out fishing all night. They caught nothing. They went back out during the day and caught so many fish their boats were sinking. They had never seen so many fish. Can you hear the questions that were running through their minds, “Who is this man that knows where all these fish were?” Peter came to the realization that with Jesus failure was not an option. Peter decided he was worth following and his associates, James and John, followed along.
Here are some additional steps on our road to being successful;
4) Realize failure is not an option when we follow Jesus, He will not fail.
5) Expect Jesus to do great things. He will amaze us with His blessings.
6) Accept our new direction in life. Follow Jesus with all you have.
If being successful is more important to us than being judged a success then we need to follow Jesus. These steps that guide us only serve as reminders that we do not have control over what happens in life. We need to follow someone’s direction, someone’s example. Who we follow determines if we will be successful.
When all is said and done by whose standard will we be judged; will we be judged a success by the world or will we be successful according to Jesus. I encourage you to let Jesus into your life, give him control, follow him with everything you have. You will be successful.
Philippians 4:13; I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Luke 1:37; For nothing is impossible with God.