13 Ways to Achieve Success (Lessons from God’s Dealings with the Israelites)

From the previous four posts, you learned that God doesn’t want you to fear anything, that God wants you to demonstrate your faith in him like the man with the withered hand demonstrated his faith to Jesus, and that God wants you to do your part before he steps into your situation to do his. You also saw what faith + doing your part looks like. Today, Dr. Darrell Scott discusses how to achieve success. [This goes out to all of my fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs.]

1. Think You Can Become Successful

you have to think of yourself as a success“You have to understand … that you will never be able to overcome conflict or difficulty or obstacles or hindrances in your life if you are unable to see yourself overcoming,” Scott said. “You will not become successful if you do not think that you can become successful, or if you give up or give in or resign yourself to defeat when you are confronted with what you perceive – notice that I said perceive – you perceive to be impossibilities or at the very least perceive to be very difficult.”

2. Follow God with Your Whole Heart

After God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he sent them into the wilderness “so that they could become accustomed to worshiping God freely and worshiping God in freedom,” Scott said. “They had never worshiped God in freedom prior to their sojourn in the wilderness. … They were able to worship under restrictions, they were able to worship under restraint, they were able to worship by permission of their captors. … [H]e wanted for them to learn how vital and how important it was and is for them to follow God [with their whole heart].”

their whole heart

3. Don’t Settle for Less Than God Promised You

don't be reluctant“Israel’s problems began when they chose to remain in the realm of provision rather than advancing into the realm of promise,” Scott said. “They were reluctant from moving in — they were reluctant to move from trusting in what had become familiar to them into an attitude of total trust in God.

“I’ll make it plainer: they were motivated to remain where they were by fear and unbelief. What happened was they found security in a desert place. They found a certain type of security in that wilderness when they believed God to provide, they knew that God would send a cloud to provide shade during the day and a pillar of fire to provide heat and light for them at night. They had learned to manage themselves in the wilderness, they had learned how to navigate in that wilderness, they had learned how to trust God to supplement their nutritional needs with manna and become to them a water source when their supply would fail, but to advance, to move forward, to step out meant for them to go from trusting God in the known to trusting God in the unknown.

“So, they agreed to remain in the place of provision. God said for them to go into the promised land. They had 10 people tell them that they couldn’t go in, and they believed the 10 rather than believe God.  In fact, some of them said, ‘Look, we’re going back to Egypt. Skip that. Y’know what, I’m tired, I can’t do this.’ They agreed to remain in the place of provision rather than to advance into the place of promise because they had become so accustomed to provisions that they would not follow the initiative to press on into something greater. They had become so accustomed to their current level of living that they did not even desire to attempt to better themselves because they did not want to deal with any difficulty that they might experience or encounter along the way.”

4. Let Negative, Pessimistic People Exit Your Life

negative people“[E]ventually that faithless generation – those that succumbed to the negative, pessimistic mindset that influenced and paralyzed their entire nation — pretty soon, they passed away,” Scott said. “And that mindset and that perspective and that attitude passed away right along with them.

“That’s why you have to be willing to allow some people to pass out of your life. They may pass through your life, but you’ve gotta let them keep on moving out of your life if their negativity and their pessimism influences you to the extent that it demotivates you from ever attempting to better yourself.”

5. Believe in God and Yourself or You’ll Regret It

god will never lead you into an arena where you won't be successful“When Israel advanced over that obstacle of the Jordan River and came into contact with the people of the land, they realized they could’ve advanced a long time ago if they had only believed God and believed in themselves,” Scott said. “[B]elieve God and believe in yourself at the same time so that you can live the life you desire to live. Because, see, oftentimes we don’t have a problem believing God as much as we have a problem believing in ourselves. But if you believe God, God will never lead you into an arena where you will not be effective. Notice that I said ‘lead.’ God will never lead you into an arena that you will not be effective in. So you’ve got to do what you can do and let God handle what you can’t do. … Because, like I said last week, God’s blessings are supplementary. They are not substitution-ary. God will supplement what you can’t do, but God will not substitute what you can do.”

6. Don’t Look at Your Competition and Give up

couldn't look at competition and give up“Think about it: God providentially directed Esther and placed her into position to be selected as a queen in order to fulfill her purpose in preserving her people. However, she still had to spend 12 months in preparation. She had to spend 12 months in training. God did not supernaturally bypass her training. He did not supernaturally put it all on the inside of her. He did not supernaturally bypass her being able to fulfill all of the necessary requirements of queenship. She was not allowed to be lazy, not allowed to be slack and unprepared and still be selected as queen. She didn’t roll up in there lookin’ like somethin’ the cat drug in with her nappy hair all over her head and with some old gunnysack on … rollin’ up there with some attitude, not lookin’ good, not smellin’ good, talkin’ about, ‘Yeeah, I’m ready – I’m ready to be queen.’ She had to get herself together first so God could use her the way God desired to use her. She had her part to play, and God had his part to play.

can't look at competition“The problem is, we want God to play his part without us having to play our part. She had to believe in herself enough to enroll in and complete the queenship apprenticeship course. She had to believe God enough for favor after she completed the training. And she could not look at her competition and give up. … There were many in the contest. But she couldn’t look at the odds she faced, she couldn’t look at the competition and give up because she had a low opinion of herself and her capabilities. … She couldn’t start looking down on herself because of looking at others. And she couldn’t feel that she was not as competent or qualified as the others were. … [B]elieve God and believe in yourself. Say to yourself, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ … You’re a marvelous work and a wonder, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you, you’re the head and not the tail, you’re above only and not beneath, you come behind in no good thing, ‘I’m going out of this house today and everywhere the soles of my feet touch, I will have dominion. Everything I put my hands to is going to prosper.’ … Believe God and believe in yourself!”

7. Rid Yourself of Doubt, Fear, Negativity, Pessimism, and Unbelief

“Joshua told them, he said, ‘Sanctify yourself because tomorrow the lord is going to do wonders among you.’ That word sanctify means to separate from and to separate to. Separate yourself from that which is offensive and displeasing to God: separate yourself from doubt and fear and negativity and pessimism and unbelief, and wonders will come in your life if you separate from things that are short-circuiting your faith supply and you separate yourself to God, which means you are to fully cooperate with God in any area of endeavor that you engage in.”

8. Remember That God Only Opens Things up One Step at a Time

“The Jordan river, like the Red Sea, only opened up as they stepped out into it,” Scott said. “Because if God opened it up all at once so they could see clear through to the other side, they would’ve been walkin’ by sight and not walkin’ by faith.

“How many of you know God opens up avenues through impossible-seeming hindrances, but he only opens it up one step at a time? He opened up the Red Sea one step at a time. Everywhere they stepped, it opened up some more. When they stepped again, it opened up some more. When they stepped again, it opened up some more. He opens things up in your life one step at a time. God does not open it all up at one time so you can see all the way through so you don’t have to believe him, [and] you can walk by sight. [H]e does it one step at a time so that you can learn to trust him to make a way every step of the way.”

9. Prepare for Potential Problems

brainstorm worst case scenario to prepare for problems“When they entered into the new land, they entered into a new dimension in their relationship with God. And their role changed from that of simply following God wherever he led to one of active cooperation with God. When they began to partake in the fruit of the land, the Bible says, the manna stopped. Because they had advanced from the place of provision into the place of promise. And they began setting their course to overcome every conflict that would stand in their way. They were preparing themselves spiritually, preparing themselves physically, and most importantly, preparing themselves mentally to overcome any adversity that they would potentially face, which is why, in endeavoring to enhance your quality of living, you have to learn to be proactive rather than always being reactive. You have to premeditate all of the potential problems, [and] then pre-plan a possible solution for the potential problems before you even – or before you ever encounter them. You have to be ready for whatever comes you way. So when you’re devising a plan or strategy for your life, you have to look at all of the possible scenarios that could possibly prevent you from reaching your goal and then adjust yourself into being able to deal with them if the scenario manifests or materializes. What happens is, we oftentimes do not prepare for the worst. We prepare for the best.

“I’ll never forget Dale Carnegie’s book … What does he say? He said you look at what could be the worst possible outcome for any situation that you’re going into – any endeavor – you look at what could be the worst thing that could happen, and then you mentally prepare yourself for it. That way, when the worst does happen, you’re all right. And if the worst doesn’t happen, you’re really all right.”

10. Rest

rest“Now, as they prepared themselves for any potential conflict, we read in Joshua … that God gave them a time of rest in order for them to renew their strength, to review their plans, and to receive new insight. Because you have to understand, saints, it is vital to the progress of any vision, any plan, or any project for you to rest in God so that you can get a clear sense of God’s direction so that you are able to make any adjustments or corrections that need to be made that are easy to overlook when you are in the heat of activity all the time and have to make quick decisions. When you’re surrounded with a lot of stress … it’s easy to make mistakes. There are always some things that you would’ve done or you would’ve said differently in hindsight. People say hindsight is always 20/20. If you had just taken the time to objectively assess the situation that you were in rather than address it impulsively, emotionally, or recklessly. And sometimes you need to step out of yourself, you need to have as it were an out-of-body experience, step out of yourself and judge and examine yourself objectively and dispassionately in order to determine the proper procedures to engage in. You have to step outside of yourself and evaluate yourself truthfully and say, ‘You do need to improve on this, you do need to improve on that, you need to do this differently, you need to do that differently, you need to stop doing this, you need to start doing that.'”

11. Remember That God Is on Your Side

“Israel had to learn as a people to change their perspective about themselves. And they needed to stop focusing on what they could not do and start focusing on what they could do with the help and the guidance and the direction of the lord,” Scott said. “That’s why Joshua and Caleb had told them earlier, ‘Man, the lord is on our side. We can get these guys! We can go in! We can take them — they don’t have God with them. I don’t care how big they are, I don’t care how formidable they seem, they don’t have God with them.’

“Do you realize you have God with you? The creator of the universe, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent lord of creation — you.have.him on your side! You can’t lose unless you let yourself lose.”

12. Don’t Run Back to What God Brought You out of

to be successful don't have a negative self image“The prior generation of negative influencers had declared that they were unable, unprepared, and unequipped to enter into their promised land. … They said, ‘We were, in our own sight, as grasshoppers.’ Watch this: they allowed a negative self-image to dictate and determine their level of living. You have to understand, saints, their experience in Egypt — the place of bondage — had taken its toll on them [to the point that] when they left out of Egypt, Egypt had not left out of them. So, when they were liberated from Egypt, they continued to carry the reproach of their captivity with them, and it constantly plagued them even after 40 years of freedom from Egypt. In other words, even though they were free, they still thought like slaves. In spite of all of their experiences after leaving Egypt, they still would not allow themselves to think like the overcomers they actually were and that God intended them to be. Even though they had already witnessed the utter annihilation of Egypt’s army, they still held on to their slave mentality. Even though God had brought them into freedom, every time they faced a new challenge, they cried out to go right back into Egypt, go right back to their place of bondage, go right back into that old mindset, go right back into that old lifestyle, go right back into that old environment because in Egypt, watch this, they did not have to deal with the insecurity of the unknown. And some people would rather be — and I’m talkin’ about some of y’all, and I hope you don’t get offended — some people would rather be in a place of known discomfort, a familiar discomfort than endeavor to enter into a place of known, unfamiliar comfort.  … content to stay in a familiar bad situation than to try to go into an unfamiliar good situation. So, they will stay in a relationship, they will stay in a position, they will stay in a neighborhood, they will stay in a situation that they know is bad simply because they have become accustomed to it and are hesitant to branch out into the unknown realm of a potential new relationship or a potential new neighborhood or a potential new position or a potential new situation. Because they have surmised to themselves, ‘I know it’s bad, but I know I can deal with it.’ ‘I know it’s bad, but I can handle it.’ … ‘I know that Negro ain’t no good, but I can deal with it.’ ‘I know this neighborhood is bad, but I can deal with it.’ ‘I know this job I’m on — this position ain’t good, but I can deal with it.’ ‘I know I’m in a bad situation, but I’m used to it.’

“[L]ook at somebody and say, ‘The devil is a liar.’

“God wants you to trust him to lead you into green pastures. God wants to take you by still waters, peaceful waters, and he wants to provide whatever you’re lookin’ for all along the way.”

13. Renew Your Mind

“The apostle Paul mentioned the importance of right thinking numerous times in his epistles, and he mentioned the importance of having the right self-image, the right self evaluation — he said for us to be renewed, for us to be refreshed, and for us to be replenished where? In the spirit, in the attitude, in the disposition, in the perspective of our mind. …

you are what you think you are“The Bible says, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ You’ll become what you think you can become. You’ll achieve what you think you can achieve. You’ll accomplish what you think you can accomplish. … So what you ought to do is to think thoughts that are consistent with the word of God. you know what that means? If God says you are an overcomer, you need to begin to think like an overcomer. The Bible says a man shouldn’t think higher of himself than he is, but you shouldn’t think lower of yourself either. … Replace thoughts of defeat and words of failure with the word of God.

god freed them from slavery“Israel had known only slavery. They had been systematically programmed, generationally programmed to act, to think, and to respond like slaves. But God pulled them out of slavery in order to reprogram them to become a nation of overcomers. So then, the way you perceive conflict and the way you perceive challenges is determined by the way you’ve programmed yourself or allowed others or circumstances or situations to program you. So then, you need to modify the way that you think about yourself and begin to regard yourself in a constructive, positive way that is based upon what the word of God says, and, baby, when you do that? You’ve got to understand there’s power in the word of God. … When you allow the mind of Christ to be in you, you know what you do? You liberate yourself from past mistakes, past failures, past weaknesses, and past bad decisions. And the more your thoughts are in agreement with the word of God, the greater God’s power will be in your life. … You have a choice. You can remain a prisoner of your thoughts of defeat and inability and frustration like Israel did in the wilderness, or you can change the way you are, change the way you act, change the way you think, change the way you feel, and change the way you live. How? By harmonizing your thoughts with God’s thoughts about you.

“God said, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

 

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