Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Test of 360 Degree Success

UV 2079/10000 The Test of 360 Degree Success
And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.
I Samuel 18 v 14

It is indeed interesting that in the King James version, it is written that “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways” while in modern versions, it is translated as “ In everything he did he had great success as the Lord was with him”. In today’s world, success is worshipped and placed on the highest pedestal. But from the perspective of the Lord it is not success but wisdom in all our ways that counts: wisdom in the way we live, the way we behave, the way we listen, think, speak, decide, react, work and act. This kind of behaviour would lead to all round success, a wholesome success or what scripture calls in the book of Joshua “ good success.” Obviously, there are forms of success that are intrinsically bad, where the cost in personal or familial or moral terms is too high, where the victory is Pyrrhic or painful, causing more regret and sorrow than everlasting joy.

The sole criterion for good success is the favour or the grace of the Lord. Every biblical hero had this common factor whether it was Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Joseph or David that the Lord was with each of them. That alone guaranteed good success in everything they did. Wherever Abraham, Moses and David failed, it was when they departed from the wisdom of the Lord and gave in to the ways of their flesh either in terms of lying to save themselves out of fear or in giving in to anger in the case of David or to lust in the case of David. It was interesting to hear the testimony of Benny Prasad, the Guinness Record holder for travelling to the most countries (251) in the shortest time. He said that the greatest test comes when the Lord’s blessing lifts us up and our goals are fulfilled and we are considered successful. It is at this time that we are tempted to think and feel that it was done on our own steam and strength. We do not attribute the glory to the Lord. He said this was the time when he felt “spiritually dry”, as if he did not need the Lord any more. It is at this juncture in our lives that we should be “ intentionally humble”, walk even closer and lean on the Lord for more grace. It is at this point that the Lord tests our hearts. It is not a time of triumph but of testing our spirit as Jesus was tested by being taken to the heights of the mountains and offered the kingdoms of the world. It is a time of choosing between success and the Lord. It is not a time for complacency but for recasting our goals and priorities. It is the test of whether we are “Kingdom material” or whether we are only after the things of this world.

It was said of David that he was skilful in music, a valiant man, a mighty man of war, valiant with a pleasant or attractive appearance but he succeeded in all things as the Lord was with him for his heart or character was shaped by the Lord from his early days. The Lord prospered everything that Joseph laid his hands to. The fear of the Lord made these mortal men wise in all their ways. It was the Lord who gave them 360 degree success. Success in one domain was not at the cost of another area of their lives. Our greatest test of faithfulness and wisdom would come when we are on the summit of success. If we cease to depend on the Lord, we plunge. If we increasingly seek His presence and His grace and love in Jesus, the Emmanuel or the one who guarantees and seals the presence of the Lord in and with us, the Lord will even turn our failures and weaknesses into a source of great blessing.

Prateep V Philip

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