Fast Devotional #6 – Success

By David Breen – General Manager of Training, Discovery Community Care

Scripture

Nehemiah 1: 5-10; 2: 17-2

“The God of Heaven will grant us success”

Insight

Success! What does that bring to mind? Is it financial like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett? Is it fame and fortune like U2 or Nicole Kidman? Maybe success for you is recognition in your career, business or ministry. Success may be getting to work this week and not stuffing up again. Success can be any number of things but it can also elude us. It can be subtle and seductive, but it is also biblical. The difference is critical to our faith and spiritual growth.

Nehemiah prayed for success before he went before king Artxerxes (who wouldn’t if the outcome might be death!?). Nehemiah’s prayers were filled with scripture and history – he knew what God had promised to do to them if they disobeyed. They were in captivity because they had disobeyed the commandments of the Lord – to love him with all their heart, and to love their neighbour as themselves. He recounted what Moses told them regarding success or failure – obedience to the Lord is essential.

Worldly success and Christ centred success are not the same thing. Success for Nehemiah was not a right but a result. His motivation to approach the terrible king and risk his neck and compel the people to work was the result of his heart being completely committed to the Kingdom of God. Success for Nehemiah was directly related to God’s gracious hand being upon them – his favour at that time to do that work.

When we pursue worldly success God may allow it but it may become a snare and lead us away from Him. When God leads us to do his will it may not always look like success but he will always have his gracious hand on our lives. Nehemiah was successful because he was on track with what God was doing – it was not his big idea to build a big city and get his name in lights. It was to be a man who led people to do what would restore the dignity of the people of God – to move them from disgrace to grace. That is success from the biblical point of view. When we act to obey God and it impacts positively on our wellbeing and God’s people, we are truly being successful.

Prayer

Father thank you for the truth that your Word brings to me about what real success is. Please help me to reject the worldly temptation to crave for success at the cost of my soul and relationship with you and others. I want to live a life of success in your eyes not for any other reason.