Are You Expecting Success?

by Lester Young

I think it’s safe to say that all of us can name at least one thing we know God wants us to do. Even though we may not have the full outline of His Master Plan for our lives, we all can probably put our fingers on one particular step – whether big or small – that we know we should be taking. But, if this is the case, why are we often so slow in responding positively to Him?

Society in general would probably lump that ‘dragging-of-the-feet’ attitude and behavior under the very broad heading of procrastination. But, why do we procrastinate, really? What’s at the core, the very heart of such activity (or, non-activity, as it were)? Modern psychology notwithstanding, God’s Word is very clear and succinct about just what it is that actually holds us humans back.

Allow me to draw a quick analogy. Just about all the world has heard the old saying, “Money is the root of all evil;” and a lot of them will attribute those words to the Bible. Well, money ain’t the root of all evil, and the Bible never said it was. It’s the ‘love’ of money (i.e., covetousness) that’s the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) – all evil, every stinkin’ bit of it. Not the money itself, but a man’s sentiment toward it, his wrong attitude about it.

Now, using the very same logic, Hebrews 2:15 tells us that Jesus came here in order to “deliver [us] who through fear of death were all [our] lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). So, it’s not death itself that keeps us bound, but the ‘fear’ of it – our sentiment, wrong attitude about, and general ignorance of it. Fear of death is the great shackle; and if you drill down deep enough, you’ll find it at the core of every area in which a person is not prospering.

How can I come to such a conclusion? First, we need to be aware of a couple of things about ‘fear.’ It’s not always recognizable as ‘a feeling that scares you,’ because it doesn’t always show itself in that form. The word ‘fear’ also means reverence or respect, as referring to something that you give great heed or attention to. Literally speaking, fear is actually ‘faith’ that’s pointing in the wrong direction. In other words, it’s a belief more in someone or something’s ability to harm or diminish you (in whatever way – big or small) than in God’s ability or desire to protect and bless you.

We must also consider death – but not so much the final ‘act’ of the body falling over lifeless (and the mortician subsequently making it look anything but ‘natural’ because of all the rouge…but I digress…). Now, Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan had the power (the strength, might, dominion and authority) of death. And, Jesus testified that the thief (Satan) has come for one – and only one – reason: to steal, kill and destroy. He has come to harm and to diminish, i.e., to make you less and less, until you’re no more at all. All lack, by definition, diminishes you. All destruction and calamity takes something away from you, diminishing you. All sickness diminishes your body and/or its strength. Indeed, all the curse (as described in Deuteronomy 28:15-68) is meant to diminish and decrease you until there’s nothing left of you – in other words, until you die and are no more. It’s death in progress.

This ‘progressive’ death is as much what we humans fear as the actual final act of ‘crossing over’ to the other side. We don’t want to ‘lose’ what we have. We’re often slow to ‘try’ because we might fail. And if we fail, we risk losing something – self esteem, the esteem of others; or perhaps something physically tangible, such as money or other possessions. We perceive that failure will somehow diminish us, so we fear it. And ‘fearing’ failure is really no different than believing and expecting it to happen, and that ‘twisted’ (i.e., perverted or corrupted) faith can manifest in all kinds of rationalizations, including procrastination.

Instead of looking at and respecting the losses (whether real or imagined) we might incur, we as Christians should focus solely on God’s Word and the integrity of His promises to us, knowing that we have the Greater One with us – along with all His help and abundant power (Ephesians 3:16-20; Colossians 1:11; 1 John 4:4). We should remember that if He tells us to do something: 1) it’s a command and out of fearful and loving reverence we ought to just go ahead and do it, and; 2) it’s really for our own blessing and benefit (whether immediate or long-term, or both), because God doesn’t have a selfish bone in His body; everything He’s ever done and said has ultimately been with us in mind. Besides all that, if God tells us to do something, it’s His will and so He aims for it to succeed – and that’s the attitude we should have about it, too.

Just think (now, I can’t take personal credit for these next words; I saw them on Darlene Wiggins’ blog, My Journal of Praise – ‘thanks’ to her as well as to the original ‘say’er): “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Well, in Christ Jesus, we have such a ‘guarantee,’ and it’s exactly what we should be expecting! (Deuteronomy 28:8, 12; Galatians 3:14)

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8 Comments to “Are You Expecting Success?”

  1. Yes, focusing on God’s Word and His promises is the key to success, although it may also take time to develop and strengthen our spiritual muscles; however, we are given exceedingly great and precious promises to help us live a life of victory. Thank you, Lester, for these instruction. Dee

    • Thank you, Dee…and you’re quite right; just as it takes effort and time to strengthen our physical muscles, our spiritual muscles must also be exercised over time…and they’ll produce the spiritual force of stronger faith.

      Lester

  2. I look forward to your teachings. Your words ‘respect losses,’ that concept is going around in my head. It is not the outcome is it – it is the experience. I remember going to my first writers group meeting – it was my 45th birthday and I wanted so much to connect with other writers – but I knew no one. The experience was wonderful and almost three years later we are a tight knit group – but that first meeting – my writings infront of strangers – I was terrified. It was wonderful – and euphoric about two hours afterwards – and I still love going.

    • Hi Sandra.

      Right. The ‘losses’ that we find ourselves respecting (fearing) almost never happen. It’s our perception of them happening…we expect it to happen, and so we get frozen in our tracks from proceeding forward – which is precisely what the devil is trying to do – to keep us from ‘advancing.’ (I’ve always found it interesting that they – whoever ‘they’ are – did a study a number of years ago, the results being that about 90% of the stuff people worry about in their lives never actually happens. Wholly ‘secularly-minded’ folks delivered these conclusions, mind you.) We get bogged down staring at and paying more attention to (respecting) the thought of those potential losses than we do thinking about God’s promises of deliverance and provision.
      Self-consciousness is certainly just another way fear manifests itself – “What will people think of me, or my work?” I’m really glad you didn’t allow yourself to be stopped by it (I’m sure many folks don’t get past it). I read your works and I find them very genuine, open and full of emotion. As always, thanks for your comments…

      Lester

  3. Makes you think of Job when he said, “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” In theory everything we go through should be so easy, all we have to do is rest in His love for us and trust Him that all our trails will turn out in victory, but in reality that is so hard to do.

    • Hi Pat.

      We as humans typically have a disturbing tendency to make things harder than they need to be. Not saying that many trials of life won’t be difficult regardless, because they will be. But we make them more difficult – if not impossible, and causing us to fall – by paying more attention to the problem than we do to our deliverance. That’s what the pressure is designed to do, to keep our focus off Jesus and His Word – and it’s a recipe for failure every time. Thanks for your comments…

      Lester

  4. Awesome message about freedom and bondage. Truely God’s word is key to success in every area of our lives. Love these words: “fear is actually ‘faith’ that’s pointing in the wrong direction. Surely, I think we would all attempt to do many things if we didn’t have a fear of failure. I must stay in the direction that faith in God is leading my life to go. I appreciate this meaasge! THANKS!

    • Hi Darlene,

      Yes, once we find that path He wants us to take, we should put the ‘blinders’ on and not deviate from it, because that’s where our true ‘success’ lies. Thank you, Darlene, for your encouragement, and for your writings!

      Lester

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