Success and excellence in your career are opportunities to pursue righteousness or opportunities to pursue narcissism. There is no middle ground.
In your pursuit of success you can either choose to follow the path of piety or the path of self-centeredness. Both paths will take you through seasons of abundance and seasons of struggle. You will encounter family crises and health issues no matter which path you follow. Along both paths you will meet loving, caring people who will walk beside you and cheer you on. Along both paths you will encounter people who will be jealous of you, who will malign your character, or who will do whatever they can to destroy you. But, these paths lead to opposite destinations.
When you choose the path of righteousness, God makes you alive in Christ and seats you in the heavenly realms with Christ. Choosing to pursue righteousness is choosing to anchor your life in the same mighty power of God that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and seated him at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Choosing to pursue righteousness is a choice that enables you to experience God’s great love, mercy and grace. Choosing the path of righteousness is choosing to believe in God’s promises. God has promised blessing for curse; fullness for emptiness; Eden for wilderness.
God is the one who takes the unproductive and make its fertile, God is the one who brings order out of chaos. God is the one who takes waste and turns it into abundance and riches. God is the one who enables you to be successful.
God took Abraham, one man, called him, blessed and made him into a great nation (Isa 51:2).
Abraham’s life was like many of ours. He had moments of close intimate fellowship with God. In the years between those moments Abraham continued day in day out with the normal routine of life. He survived famine. Twice he feared for his life, afraid that he would be killed by foreign kings who found his wife Sarah attractive. He knew family strife, and the heartache of a wayward child. He faithfully trusted God for 25 years before God fulfilled his promise of a child. He dealt with jealous people who tried to steal his property. He went to battle to save his nephew. He lived alone for 38 years after his wife died when he was 137 years old. He pursued success in everything he did, accumulating great wealth and hundreds of servants. He was well respected as a successful leader and well known where he lived.
Yet Abraham isn’t remembered for his success or his wealth or his leadership. Abraham is remembered for his righteousness (Gen 15:6). Abraham lived his life in such a way that God is acknowledged as the source of his success. God did the impossible and made Abraham to be a blessing for all nations (Gen 18:18).
Consider how amazingly powerful God’s strength is that He could create a vast people out of nothing. If God could create a great nation from Abraham and Sarah, a barren couple past the age of child bearing, what could God do through your life?
Pursuing Success while glorifying God!
Choosing to trust God for his blessings on your work, your business and your career is a choice to glorify God with the outcomes of your efforts. This sets you free from comparing yourself to others and from shame when you stumble or fail. Choosing to trust God, gives you the courage to step out and do the next task that needs to be done, even when it seems foreign, uncomfortable or scary because you know that God will be glorified by your obedience.
When you acknowledge what God is doing in your life, God’s light shines in the world around you. The choice to acknowledge God as the source of your blessings, is the choice to be free from all the things of this world that could enslave you (money, people, possessions, fame), and to enter into true freedom as God’s child.
Pursuing Success and Pursuing righteousness
Choosing to acknowledge God as the source of your success before you start each day, is a choice to walk down the path of righteousness.
To be a pursuer of righteousness, you need to listen to God as you strive for success. This means you don’t listen to yourself or try to justify yourself before God. The only righteousness that you can ever produce in your life is that which is gifted to you from God.
During those seasons of life when you experience success remain steadfastly committed to follow what is right and to hear God’s voice. During those seasons of life, or moments when everything seems to be conspiring against you continue to practice God’s righteousness and listen to God’s voice.
In your pursuit of success don’t be slow to hear God’s voice. When life settles into a predictable routine don’t impatiently reject God, rather earnestly seek God to enlarge and sustain your heart.
Choosing the path of righteousness while pursuing success and excellence in your career can be a platform for you to glorify God for blessing you and making you a blessing to those around you.
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing. (Isa 51:1-3)