“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
I saw a post last week on success. It made me think about what being successful means to me. According to Websters, success is defined as favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. If you ask me how I define success, I would probably say that its achieving your goals, dreams, and heart’s desires, fulfilling your life’s purpose. I did not begin doing those things until after my transplant. I had goals before then yes, like graduating college and getting married. So you can easily see how I was attacked by discouragement even then: I got sick my junior year of college, threatening my graduation, and I am still not married.
That discouragement was something serious–because I allowed it to be serious. Now, it could not attack me with school, I was determined to finish no matter what. But when it came to getting married, and recently with everything in my life in general, it had me whipped to the point that I would not call on the name of Jesus to be freed from those thoughts. I sat there and had a pity party because things were not happening fast enough for me. Yep…that microwave effect again.
I was more comfortable wallowing in self-pity than shaking it off and getting back in the fight. So I sat that way, for a week recently. Angry. Bitter. Disinterested and discouraged. But I was ashamed of myself for feeling that way. I allowed the thoughts, those voices (again your mind is the battlefield) to influence me; I allowed myself to become discouraged in the pursuit of my dreams. I know I’m not alone here.
Too often nowadays, once a person is faced with some obstacle hindering their progress they give up. Now I will not attribute this lack of perseverance wholly to the microwave effect–because it isn’t just that, but an overall lack of faith. The residual side effect of never having to endure, be obedient or wait for things to manifest is that it creates a poor backbone. Want an example? Let’s look at King Saul.
In 1 Samuel 15, up until this point, Saul was victorious, prosperous and had found favor in the eyes of the Lord–God selected and anointed him to be king over all of Israel out of all the people. But God instructed him to do something very specific in battle against the Amalekites: to destroy all of the people, men, women, and children, their livestock and kill the king. But Saul disobeyed God, which served as a critical turning point in his life; he left the king alive along with the some of the livestock. Here again is that ‘going about things your own way’ attitude instead of following through and enduring. He failed his test which cost him everything. Because of this Saul was stripped of God’s favor, and David was anointed king in his place. Saul, instead of staying in a place of repentance, became vengeful towards David, and eventually died a very cruel death. Saul, who was the king of a united Israel, ended up living the rest of his natural life separate from God. Instead of the kingship continuing with Saul’s family, his rights were transferred to David and his family line. He allowed the evil thoughts in his head to keep him discouraged after his failure, instead of rebuking them and getting back in line. What’s worse, all of the success of his earlier years was overshadowed by the shame that followed.
Don’t be like Saul. Don’t get outside of God’s will and do what you want to appease the world. Don’t allow that setback, whether of your own doing or not, to permanently knock you out of life. Don’t even allow it to take root in your mind. Yes we all go through, whether trials and tribulations or temptation, because that is the nature of life. Don’t believe the person that says we aren’t going to experience difficulties, because we will. Life is seasonal, and just like we have Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, we have seasons of rain and drought, abundance and difficulty, and storms and sunshine in our own lives. Be like Peter was when he stepped out of the boat–in faith and eyes focused on Jesus. Get back up and stop pouting! Just because a squall rolls up, don’t lose sight of the Lord and His promises. Speak to your storm and call forth your success in faith!
But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26