If you type “success” in Amazon’s search bar, you will come up with over 100,000 hits! Why? Because we all want to be successful. We want success in marriage, in parenting, in business, in love, in finances…in everything!
Even churches fall prey to the scramble for success. A church staff will visit other churches that are considered “successful” in hopes of determining the secret to their success. Then that staff races back to their church to implement those success formulas…hoping to to become the “successful” church others want to visit.
But grasping for success can prove as difficult as nailing Jell-O to a tree.
1 Samuel chapters 18 and 19 give us the picture of two men…David and Saul. David steadily becomes more successful, while Saul steadily becomes less successful.
What’s the difference between these two men?
1 Samuel 18:14 tells us the Lord was “with David.” The Lord aligned Himself with David, because David aligned himself with the Lord. (1 Sam. 13:13-14) In contrast, the Lord pulled away from Saul, because Saul pulled away from the Lord. (1 Sam. 13:13-14) (1 Sam. 15:10-11) (1 Sam. 15:22-23)
It’s always easier to fall down a hill than to climb up one. It’s easy to be like Saul and allow a little self focus, a little jealousy, and a little fear to subtly send you into an increasingly downward spiral. But God calls us back from that kind of drift.
True success comes from being “with” the Lord, and He “with” you. (James 4:8) You may achieve temporal, momentary, materialistic success apart from being “with” the Lord, but it will never be a deep, abiding success that remains irrevocable in the face of circumstances.
So, always remember… in your search for success, it doesn’t matter how much talent, ability, resources, charisma, creativity, or passion you may have. If God is not “with” you, you lose.