Wednesday, October 10, 2012

#1 Key to Succeeding at Great Things


Everyone wants to succeed and do great things. We're wired to for it. Remember those commercials about drugs. "No one said they wanted to grow up to be a junkie." I would agree with that.

Last week, I taught on Daniel. A wonderful model for us to live lives of worship, praise, and prayer. A boy taken captive from his homeland. Full of uncertainty. Possible doubt about where God was in the circumstances that he found himself in, and surely some fear and anxiety. That's a lot of miles to walk to Babylon with nothing but your mind to keep you company. I know what my mind does when I’m in uncertain times or feel imprisoned.

But Daniel held fast to his faith, even when others directly targeted it. He didn't compromise, not when offered the king's food that was offered to false gods and not when an unchangeable decree went out that he couldn't pray or petition any god or man, but the king, for thirty days. That's what sealed him in the lion's den.

Instead he prayed. He lived a lifestyle of worship. Everything he did was offered to God. And when we live of worship, we'll excel. But even that's not the #1 thing you need to know.

Daniel was faithful with little things. He was made ruler over much. (Matthew 25:21) God gave him abilities and gifts, and he used them for God's glory. But even that isn't the #1 thing you need to know. And don't think Daniel was perfect.

Daniel wasn't a perfect man. "While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sins…" Daniel 9:20 But he honored God with whatever was put before him. His job. His responsibilities. Even his friends and his people. "…confessing my sins and the sins of my people, and presenting my supplications before the LORD my God…"

So what is the #1 thing we need to know to be successful and to actually accomplish all of those wildly big dreams God plants in our heart?

How did Daniel start out? A scholar? Rich beyond our imagination? Was he famous with a huge platform, an outstanding twitter tribe, and facebook following? Did he have a few books under his belt that he self-published first? Did he put an amazing YouTube out that went viral?

He started out in captivity. He started out far away from what he'd ever known. He started out half-naked (vulnerable). He started out walking…one step after another…in the heat.

Daniel worshipped, praised God (even in the uncertain times when he could have grown bitter and cold), he prayed every day--3 times a day looking out toward home,  with the window open, he studied the word (in scroll form but had he not, he wouldn't have realized a prophecy was about to be fulfilled), he interceded for others, he asked God for some things (probably to get them out of captivity). And he never took for granted the favor God gave him with those who could have made life difficult--the gatekeepers, if you will, to his life or death.

Daniel, over the course of his years, learned something that we all need to learn. When the enemy lies to us, plants seeds of doubt in our mind, taunts us with roars of fear, brings us face to face with uncertainty, tries to cut our knees out from under us…all things he did to Daniel…he discovered this:

"The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." Daniel 11:32

That's it. That's all.

Should we study and learn? Should we be knowledgeable about the things we want to accomplish? Yes. Am I telling you not to go to college or get your Master's Degree, or read craft books, or to practice at what it is you want to do? No.

"Study and be eager…correctly analyzing and accurately dividing rightly  handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of Truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 God expects us to learn, grow, mature and be knowledgeable about many things. We have a partnership. "Carry out" that lets us know, He's not going to do it all. "know their God" that takes effort. We have to actually spend time with Him to know Him!

What I am saying is it really is about Who you know. The #1 thing you need to know is Daniel 11:32.

How does this verse change 
the way you may feel about success and doing great things?

17 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! I definitely hear those lies from the enemy and those seeds of doubt that he puts in our minds. Thanks for this wonderful reminder to "be strong." Anxiety and self doubt isn't from God. Those are just distractions. God wants good things for us.

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    1. You've got your own many sermon going on right here! I'm shouting Amen over here! :)

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  2. :) LOVE! One hundred percent, it's all about HIM:) And I love that God didn't use perfect people. Just people who hungered after Him. I can't do perfect, but I can do loving God with all my heart:)

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    1. I can't do perfect, either. I'll stick with loving God whole-heartedly too!

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  3. What an awesome post, Jess. I love that knowing God is equated with success. Melissa and I were just talking about this--that so often, spending time with God and growing closer to Him fall low on our priority list more often than we would like. To me, it's probably because it isn't a tangible goal. You can never completely "reach" that goal. BUT it's just like any relationship. It's rewarding. Not only that, it's vital. For anything, really. For everything.

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    1. When you make Him #1, I promise everything else will fall into perfect place. And if you dig really deep, you'll find moments that feel tangible and they spur you on!

      You're so right, it's vital for everything!!!

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  4. Oh wow. I love, love, love this!!! I do have that innate desire to do great things. And it's so easy to get caught up in doing and doing in an attempt to, well, be doing! But it's about Who we know...really know. I soooo love this, Jess!

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    1. :) Thanks, Tagg. I think once we realize it's what He's going to do, we can breathe lighter on our end!

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  5. I really resonate with that first part of Lindsay's comment. Success IS knowing Jesus. That is success. Not the things we strive toward.

    And knowing Him...drawing closer to Him....bringing glory to Him....those things do not guarantee us the type of worldly success we might strive for in our life, but it does bring ultimate JOY and PEACE and HOPE.

    Excellent post, Jess.

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    1. You are so right! We have no guarantees but eternal life and really, isn't that enough? Love your insight, Katie!

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  6. Phew! Takes the pressure off a bit. Love it! Thanks for this great reminder, Jessica. I really needed it today. :)

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    1. It takes it off a lot! :) You are so welcome. Glad it touched you.

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  7. I love Daniel's story. Beautiful take on it, Jess.

    We must know God to resist those lies whispered into our ears. We must keep Him in our focus at all times.

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  8. I love that verse, particularly the last part in the KJV, where they will do exploits! That makes me feel so empowered.

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  9. Wow, I needed this reminder today, Jess. To follow God strong - all the day of my life. Not just when I feel like it. Or when people are watching. ALL the days. The fact that Daniel started in captivity makes it even more applicable. Love, love, love this!

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  10. I love the book of Daniel--did the Beth Moore study then the Precept one. Learned so much. Loved how he stood more than once in the face of death and still proclaimed God to be the God most High. We need a few Daniels today.

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  11. I couldn't write if I were doing it all under my own power. I lean on the Lord constantly, looking to Him as my guide, partner, and source of inspiration. Left to myself, I can be a weak, whiny wimp. He's my source of strength. There's none better!

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