Exo 20: 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
Exo 20: 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
I remember watching on TV a controversial preacher preaching, a brother walked in the room and on seeing the TV and hearing the conversations around the room, he sat near me and told me ‘I don’t know about this preacher but I have seen live where this man prayed for a deformed child and the child immediately became whole, he must be a true Man of God’.
The stories change but the theme remains the same, the christian business man was able to get the most unlikely deal and make such a huge profit it must be that God is with him! The lady out of a thousand people got the job, God must be with her! The student was the only one selected from his country for the scholarship, God must be happy with him! she wrote the exam and passed, this is a proof of God’s presence! It goes on and on, and generations of church people have always looked to success in a venture as the authentication of a living walk with God, alas this is not always the case.
The simple principle we must learn from this lesson is this fact; Success in a venture is not the proof of God’s approval of that venture or of the persons life in every case. Just because it works, doesn’t mean God is happy with its method or with the person working it nor does it mean that it is God who worked it. Too many people have been deceived by success and blinded by victories both personal and those of others.
Scriptures is laden with examples like Moses’ above; where people walked in disobedience and yet got results. God does many things for many reasons, similar response to God on a matter does not mean He did it for the same reason or it has a similar approval. Do not judge success in your life by results alone, even positive results. When we do this we subconsciously also believe because a certain venture didn’t come out as we might define success, therefore God was not there; this was the same mistake the friends of Job made in trying to judge his apparent failures.
In an earlier article I stated how God may resist a believer (A Different Set of Rules) walking in wrong paths but a few reasons why a venture may still succeed:
1. The purposes of God
2. External Influences
3. Spiritual Authority
4. Choice/Energy of the flesh (It does not work because of God but inspite of God)
The Purposes of God
The purpose of God comes with such a force that God many times will not because of, but in spite of an erring believer still work out His will. As in the case of Moses, God who willed to quench the thirst of the Israelite’s and show His power to provide in spite of Moses’ disobedience still manifested the miracle and the Israelite’s drank not knowing what had happened behind the scenes still perceiving Moses the same, God however in a private interaction confronted Moses and rebuked him (Num 20:12). So also it is very possible for God to use a man who is not clean for His clean purpose like the men who preached to contend with Paul (Phil 1:15-18). So the purpose of God has such force it can cause it’s manifestation and sometimes using the most unlikely vessels, like the doubting priest and his aged wife to birth the forerunner of the Christ.
Solomon broke the Word of the Lord and the Law of the Lord and yet he lived in peace & prosperity, simply because God had promised so to David his father. Some very wicked things were done by some of the kings of Judah, yet altogether God did not cut the tribe off, because of his promise to David (1 Kings 9:5). They are many people who experience certain success and victories not because of who they are or what they have done but because of the intercessions, agreements & vows of others on their behalf, maybe grand parents, parents, friends or leaders.
I explained in the article “Suffer not the Witch?” that it is not the will of God for us as believers to wish evil on fellow humans even if they walk in ways contrary to God that even seem to oppose the will of God but that it was possible for a word spoken to harm such a person to prevail because of the use of the God given authority by a christian. Like money given for a particular purpose will still work when used for another and maybe even wrong purpose. So also a Christian might constrain a venture to work by that authority, through declarations of faith and the like.
Choice/Energy of the flesh
Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots, some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord
What we fail to realize is that some people will succeed because of their chariots, others may succeed because of their horses, yet for the believer even though he has horses or chariots, yet his trust must be in the Lord. Horses and chariots represents energy from the flesh, ability based on the physical, who you know, how much resources you have, size of bank account, IQ, beauty, charisma etc.
Some Christians will succeed regardless of how faulty their deeds or hearts are simply because they chose to join a particular venture and they have enough resources and intelligence to make it come to pass, especially when the withholding hand of God is taken from them. So they will succeed in that venture not because of God but in spite of God, not because of His Grace but because of their might, they will succeed as far as the energy of the flesh can take them and no more.
A venture by a Christian may succeed not because of God but in spite of God
And they will always be those who will succeed because the good hand of the Lord is upon them (Neh 2:8), they will be believers who will win simply because God is on their side(1 Sam 17:44-47) and those who will succeed in whatever venture as a proof from God(like Elijah & the prophets of Baal-1 kings 18:21-39, like Nehemiah and the life, ministry & resurrection of Jesus).
A good point of wisdom is to judge nothing before its time (1 Cor 4:5), it is not our calling to from a distance judge who is faithful and who is not, scriptures says each man before his master rises or falls (Rom 14:4), if you are not responsible for a person like a pastor is to the flock and you are not in a position as a friend or brother to correct in love, do not give your energy to finding out if or if not a successful venture was brought about by God, be content it is a good work not opposing the gospel.
Measure your life by your consistency in outgrowing your own self everyday and in your faithfulness in what God has called you to do and the motivation by which you do it. The greatest times of weakness for most people is in their times of greatest victories, during or just after, you overcome this by maintaining a focused and humble spirit.
Many persons who have had an encounter with God at one time, have over the ages come up and declared themselves to be more than they are and some have spoken things contrary to Scriptures and yet many a Christian followed them because the acts of an apostle was still at work in them (Signs, Wonders & Mighty deeds – 2 cor 12:12) and as such have gone into error, don’t make this mistake. In the sight of God, who we are will always outweigh what we do.
Many times pain is not the problem but an indicator there is a problem, an indicator which was designed not to be ignored. This is why failure has been for many a wise people some of the most life transforming experiences and why success can be very blinding for the immature or untrained soul. Do not follow a spiritual leader because he gets results or manifest gifts alone, follow him because there is a consistency of his life and teachings with scriptures, the Word of God remains the ultimate standard by which we must measure our lives. Don’t succeed in life in spite of God, succeed because of Him and you will find out in time and eternity that this is true success.