All of us want to be successful in life…but so often, when we chase our own version of success, we wind up with a huge mess on our hands. That’s why we need to look to God’s Word in the Bible for an eternal definition of success––one that’s never going to backfire and get us or others hurt. In fact, God’s plans for our future are always beyond our craziest dreams, guaranteed to satisfy the longings of our hearts, and sure to glorify God and bless other people too!
1. We build our lives on Jesus
- God instructed Jeremiah to tell the children of Israel that he was doing a work of restoration in their hearts before he would do a work of restoration in them physically, to bring them back to their homes. So often, when we can’t see God at work in our physical circumstances, we assume that he is distant or silent. In reality, he is at work in our hearts and in ways we could never imagine.
- God is most interested in restoring us on a heart level first and foremost. God doesn’t just want what is good for us, he wants what is best. He knows that in order for us to understand or grow in our circumstances, we need to first experience a transformation and restoration of our heart.
Spend some time in prayer and reflection. What areas of your heart need restoration? What steps is the Lord prompting you to take to work toward restoration with him?
2. We live upward, inward and outward
- Trouble happens for us when we get these things out of order. When we love God first, all our other “loves” fall into line. Jesus talked about this in Matthew 6:33. When seek God’s kingdom first, “all these things” will be added to us. The problem is, we wait to let God restore us until we feel stable and secure in our circumstances.
- Loving God with all our hearts helps us love ourselves accurately and love others without burning out. If we try and love people with our own strength, it won’t be good for anyone. Eventually we’ll burnout and grow resentful. When we love from a place of knowing we are fully loved by God, we can love like Jesus did.
Examine the prioritization of what you love. Is anything out of alignment? What result is that producing in your life? How do you need to address that?
3. We remember that we are better together
- God never saves us for isolation––he saves us into the church! God uses the existing relationships in our lives to speak to us and work through us. Every day that we enter into relationship with others, we are giving God the opportunity to do a work of transformation in us, and in those we love.
- In our current day and age, which is rife with division, we need to pursue unity. We need to be proactive peacemakers and bridge-builders with one another. We are one Body with many parts. We need to honor the different gifts and experiences
God has given each one of us, while remaining together in Christ. Describe a time in your life when having the right people around you made all the difference. What is one thing in your life you should invite others into this week?
4. We are transformed people who transform people
- The love of Jesus always overflows the boundaries of the church, into the community. As Jesus transforms people, those people take steps of faith that end up being a part of his transformation work in the lives of others.
- Jesus is always doing a restoration work, and it’s always for everyone who wants to be a part of his plan. You don’t need to meet a predetermined set of standards to qualify for this movement. All we need to be is willing. If we are willing to be transformed by the saving work of Jesus, he will do the work of restoration in us.
How is the Lord transforming you right now? How can you share your transformation with others?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?