By Roland W. Keith
Over the years we have probably all seen articles, infomercials, and books that have proclaimed that they will divulge “the secret of weight loss,” “the secret of happiness,” or the “secret of success.” Many of us have also discovered that there really is no secret. Success comes from educating ourselves on sound methodologies, techniques and doctrines within the field of endeavor and then diligently and appropriately applying those things with a lot of hard work.
In business a person speaks of business principles and work ethic. A sports person talks of conditioning, rules, sportsmanship and game plans. A scientist speaks of hypotheses, theories, models and methods. In each case these road maps to success require discovery, innovation, failure, correction, adaptation, application, evaluating, and sometimes going back to square one and starting over. And, in the end if one does not find and apply a sound strategy or approach failure is almost certain.
The same is true for life at large. You can’t just blunder through life with no moral compass or plan and expect to find success or happiness. Good parents understand this, which is why they spend considerable effort in teaching their children the difference between right and wrong, good sportsmanship, the importance of hard work, respecting others, sharing, being a good neighbor, and protecting home and community. In our country these principles, on which we base our worldview, are based primarily on the Christian principles laid out for us in the Bible.
When Jesus came to earth, He established a new covenant between God and man, known as the Law of Liberty (James 2:12), the Law of Faith (Romans 3:27), and the Law of God (Romans 7:22), among other things. The old law (of Moses) was man’s guardian until Christ came (Galatians 3:24-26), and redeemed us through His blood (Ephesians 1:3-7). It was in Christ, that God created a new man, reconciling the world to Himself and establishing a new way of life, based on grace, faith and obedience (I Corinthians 5:17-19).
For those who become a Christian God has provided a roadmap, not only to a successful life on earth, but to the very gates of heaven. The Law of God, as recorded in the New Testament, sets forth the principles of a godly life. Within it we learn that we can communicate our needs directly to God, laying aside our anxieties in life by trusting that God will be with us and guide us through life’s difficulties (Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 6:25), and that ultimately when this life is over we will be welcomed into His eternal rest (John 14:1-3).
Whatever we face in life the scriptures offer a path to success. Not a magic wand to wave our problems away, but a way of life that leads us to right decisions and understanding, even godly wisdom (II Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:5; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9). It is on this path that we can find true happiness in life, not defined by circumstance, but by our attitude and determination to overcome the world, and find satisfaction in doing God’s will in our lives.
In that sense it is best to have a short memory, or at least one that does not dwell on past failures or disappointments, as Paul wrote, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (Philippians 3:13-16).
Like Paul we can learn to rejoice and give thanks, even in the bleakest hours, trusting that all things will pass and work according to the will of God and to our ultimate benefit (I Thessalonians 5:16-18; I Peter 5:6-7). Unlike the apostles when they found themselves in stormy seas, we need to trust the One Who is Master of all things, believing that He will see us through the storm (Matthew 8:23-26).
Well, I see the end of the page approaching with more verses to discuss than space allows, so I will have to continue our study next week; I hope you will come back for the conclusion next Monday!
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.