7 Ways A Christian Can Prosper

James Preston Reply 6:59 AM
Quick Prologue:  My wife rightly pointed out to me this AM that us preachers are always criticising the latest "7 ways to success" principles, and here I am doing exactly the same thing!  After much thought I've decided to keep the title for a number of reasons which I can explain later, but I would love to hear your thoughts about the title in the comments section!

So how do you claim the promises of success we spoke about last week?

Passages like Isaiah 60 make promises that other nations will bring their wealth to you!  But how will this happen?  Surely if it's a promise from God, it will "just happen"?  I'm not so sure.  If Noah thought that, we might not be here today.  If Abraham thought that, he might not be a fore-father of Jesus.

This is a faith and works issue.  The very issues raised by James (ironically) when he says "I will show you my faith by what I do."  (James 2:18)

If you really have faith; IE. if you really believe the promises of the New Covenant, then you will get out there and do what He has placed on your heart because you somehow know that it is going to be blessed.

So you're starting to believe the promises of the New Covenant.  What now?

Let's use the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus (which you can read here) as an example of "stepping out" into the promises God has for us.

1.  Think Bigger Than Yourself
Walking on water is a simply ludicrous thought.  But Peter saw Jesus doing it and he thought "why not?"  Stop thinking small.  Break out of your own little world.  See what Jesus wants for you.  See what He plans for you!  See the bigness of what is available to you!

Dream big.  Don't dream small.  God is a big God.  And He is not limited by your capabilities or talents.  If you have a vision of something, but have never before seen yourself in such a position, then don't discard that vision!  Think about it.  Dwell on it.  And if the idea doesn't go away, it may well mean you need to pursue it.

2.  Dwell On Your Idea
I decided to make this a point, because sometimes really successful ideas are the ones that wouldn't go away.  If your idea goes away after a few weeks, there could well be other ideas more suited to God's purposes for your life.  But if your idea won't leave you, that's a pretty sure sign God's placed it in your heart and it's worth exploring!

3.  Act On Your Idea
Peter had a crazy idea.  The rest of the disciples must've thought he was mad.  But Jesus clearly liked Peter's idea, and told him to act on it!

It could be to start an orphanage, a new ministry, a new business, go on a mission trip, praying for someone....  It is only by acting on an idea that you start to see what is involved in making such an idea a success.  You start to see unforeseen problems and issues.  These unforeseen issues can now be dealt with accordingly, or you gain priceless experience for the next crazy idea.

4.  Calculate Your Risks
I would say that Peter's risk was calculated because He could see Jesus out on the water.  If you can see Jesus amidst the haze of rain and wind, then it's calculated.  Evaluate your idea, this passion you have in your heart, ask yourself these basic questions...  

- Is it feasible?  (Do I have the time to pursue this?  If not, is this something that I should pursue full-time?  If so, how will I sustain my income?  Etc.)
- Is it profitable (if it is business-related)?
- Is this an overly used idea?  (If so, do I have a fresh way of doing it?)
- What is required to see this happen?  (What training / skills do I need?  Do I have the necessary skills?  If not, where can I get help?)
- Get advice from friends and mentors  (Their advice will all be part of making up your calculation in the risk)

5.  Keep Your Eyes Fixed On The Prize
Peter took his eyes off the very Person who's Presence allowed him to walk in the water, and instead focussed on the challenging waves around him.

Remember, the very reason you took the risk in the first place, is because you had a vision of what could be.  If you start to get discouraged because things aren't going as planned, lift up your head and revisit your vision!  If need be, ask yourself "what is possible if this becomes successful?"  Those possibilities alone should inspire you to press on through the tough times.

6.  Admit Your Need For Assistance
One of the primary reasons so many Christian ministries and businesses are, simply put, "average" is because these Christians think that their idea is the idea and they don't need help seeing it become a reality.  If Peter hadn't grabbed the hand of Jesus, he would've had to swim back to the boat.  Too many Christians are swimming while others have their hands out to help them.

This is a humbling thing, and requires you to get over yourself and your pride.  Admit you don't have all the answers, and seek advice.  I am not saying you have to take the advice.  I am saying at least get some advice!  You could sit through an hour-long conversation from a mentor or a friend whose advice seems completely unhelpful, but they could say one thing that could change your entire idea around and set it on a course for guaranteed success.  If you hadn't sat through the hour of nothingness, you would never have got to the gold.

Also, get advice from more than one person.  Perspective is an invaluable commodity in stepping into God's promises for your life.

7.  Never Give Up
If the perspective you receive encourages you that this idea is not dead, or you strongly feel in your heart that there is more to this, then do not throw it away!  Do not give up!

Not only in that specific dream, but in general.  God has promised you success.  It is your destiny.  Don't give up pursuing that for which He has called you.  Believe you are born for greatness, no matter what you go through.

Peter faced a number of challenges and even rebukes from his Master, but after some encouragement, he pressed on.  He kept fighting.  And today he is one of the greatest heroes of the New Testament.  An imperfect hero, sure.  But a great hero nonetheless.  We all have imperfections Jesus is working out in us.  But that doesn't stop us from stepping into greatness.

Don't let anything hold you back!  Don't believe bad news and discouraging words!  You are born for greatness!  Greatness is in your DNA.  All that is required for you to do is believe it, and act like it.

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