I don’t know about you, but I often contemplate how to be more successful. What little tweaks, adjustments, or new ways of doing things will increase my visibility, bring more clients, up sales, and allow me to do more of what I love. My heart is to help others and to be consistently improving. I want to thrive – and be successful.
As these thoughts swirl in my head, I see what thousands of other motivated people are doing to chase similar goals compliments of Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media avenues. The temptation is to compare myself which only leads to dissatisfaction or pride – neither is very comely.
God is working on my perspective and freeing me of thinking in ways that do me more harm than good.
The other day I was driving in the car listening to a sermon on the radio. I honestly can’t remember what the sermon was about. I just remember what God was saying to me when Enoch’s life was mentioned. Very little is said about Enoch in scripture. No major achievements, no amazing successes, and no noteworthy moments. We don’t even know what he did for a living or how much money he made. What we do know is that he had a number of children, he “walked with God for 300 years,” and then God took him away.
In scripture, the idea of walking with God is used metaphorically to suggest a way of doing life or way of conducting yourself. It could be said that “Enoch stayed in step with God or followed after God’s way of doing life.”
Enoch is mentioned again in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith who pleased God. That’s powerful! From God’s perspective, success means trusting Him enough to stay in step with Him. That is quite different from the world’s idea of success: prosperity, wealth, fame, gain, happiness, victory, and honor, among other things.
In light of Enoch’s life, here are some things to consider regarding success:
1. Trust in God leads to success
Enoch walked with God for 300 years. He trusted God, and God was pleased!
For me to trust anyone, I have to be sure that they have my best in mind; that they are “for me” and love me. The same is true when it comes to trusting God. When I take control of my life, even when I might not be conscious of it in the moment, I doubt God. That lack of trust tends to lead to problems – rarely to success.
It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (MSG)
2. Surrendering leads to success
300 years is a long time to do anything, especially stay in step with God! To accomplish this, Enoch had to match God’s pace and head His direction. That means walking with steady surrender.
I adore walking and my pace is brisk. Walking with someone else often means slowing down or going in a direction other than I had planned. Staying in step with God means I must surrender my pace and direction to His. Most of the time God’s pace is s-l-o-w, much slower than mine, with brief moments of hustle that generally take me by surprise. I must remember that He is still leading me even when things don’t go as planned. His perspective is bigger and much longer term than mine.
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” Mark 8:34b (MSG)
3. Watching and listening leads to success
In order for Enoch to live God’s way, he had to keep his eyes on God and listen to God’s voice for direction. Maybe that happened in actual walks and talks, I really don’t know for sure. For me, watching and listening to God means, spending time in His presence and hearing His heart for me. It means connecting with Him throughout the day with eyes and ears open to what He might be whispering to me.
The more I am attentive to Him, the less the success stories on Facebook, Twitter and etc. have power to discourage me.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)
4. His purpose for my life leads to success
I am constantly amazed by how creative God is. He made me unique and special. God’s plan for me is unique, so it is silly to think my journey will look like yours. The more confident I am in who God made me the less I will need to copy you. I will enjoy being me!
The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever–. Psalm 138:8a (NIV)
5. When God is glorified – that’s success!
Sometimes I forget that as a child of God everything I do is to bring Him glory – not me. It isn’t that He doesn’t care about the desires of my heart; it is that He plans to fulfill those desires in a way that makes it abundantly clear that He made it happen. He knows me better than I know myself. He knit me in my mother’s womb. When I obey Him, I discover new passions that I would not have discovered on my own.
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Psalm 139:15 (MSG)
… do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. I Corinthians 10:31b (MSG)
Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4 (GNT)
I don’t imagine Enoch’s life being easy. No doubt he encountered hard times, frustrating moments, and obstacles just like I do. He was human and yet he pleased God by successfully walking with Him, and God took him!
Settling into God’s view of success – a life that follows after God in obedience is a safe place to be. The pressure to perform is off, and I feel accepted and loved. The little things that God does each day to care for me become more obvious. My gratitude soars. I am more content and confident when I am following His lead.
What path to success are you walking on? How do you define success? What does it mean to you to “walk with God” like Enoch did? How might this perspective make a difference in your life or leadership?