Is God In Your Success Story?

Is God In Your Success Story?

Success is quite an elusive topic to extensively cover considering we all have our individual pre-determined scoring cards of what is an achievement and the lower threshold of what is a failure. I have an enormous quest for knowledge and a thirst to really understand some of the unconventional ways we all, as different persons view and conclude in matters of life in general.

Armed with this desire, i have come across different authors, all who inspired and impacted my general outlook on success…but one kind of altered the entire spectrum of how i have been viewing and understanding the whole concept of success – Malcom Gladwell in his famous bestseller title Outliers – The story of success.

Gladwell seeks to uncover the untold elements of famous grass to glory encounters we hear and stumble upon frequently. He clearly points out the discrepancy and popular notion of self-made success. In this book, he argues success is hugely influenced by our place of birth, values surrounding us,timing and most importantly the people we surround ourselves with.

I like it. However, as i progressed it got me thinking…where does God stand in all this? Does he have a role too in the whole picture of success and future accomplishments? Joseph’s story of grace to glory has been highlighted in the book and how the other factors played a role in his rise. So i went back to the original passage- Bible of course- to try and see if i could get extra information or an overlooked fact of the whole story.

First, Joseph from the beginning gets a head-start by being the most loved and favored of his father Jacob. Since he begot him in his old age.Obviously, this pitches him against his brothers who later, due to jealousy, sell him off into slavery. Now i want us to look at Joseph’s predisposed character, environment and the culture he held dear- in relation to his future success. I would like us to also keep an open eye and mind on whether God predominantly played in his progress.

By nature, Joseph was a dreamer. His dreams sure got him into trouble earlier in his teen life but later on they also turned out to be a blessing in disguise. First, he ends up a servant in an Egyptian officials’ house called Potiphar, as the story unfolds; his master notices that the Lord is with him hence ,he prospers. So Potiphar makes him in-charge of all his servants and possessions. Something negative occurs when he turns down the seductive offer of his master’s wife, which inadvertently ,throws him in prison. The place where the Kings prisoners were confined (wondering if this is a disguised blessing too!). The same pattern still continues…there he finds favor in the eyes of the prison warden who shows him kindness and grants him favor because the Lord was with himJoseph is put in charge of all those held in the prison and made responsible for all that is done there.

Still with me? It does not matter how well-trained, bred and mannered or richly endowed we are for us to be automatically pivoted to success; some greater invisible force has a major role behind the scenes. Which according to me, is a stark contrast to what we popularly hold true and close to our hearts- self made. It is all Gods will and favor upon us daily. Other things are well beyond rational explanation in the way they happen.

Another idea in my current read is the Matthew effect- a bible verse in Matthew that states; ‘whosoever much has been given, much will be added in abundance and whoever has little even it will be taken away.’ Looking at it generally it seems true. The richest get huge tax pay cut offs, the smartest get scholarships, the most talented get popular and so on…what about the rest? Are they locked out of the success curve? Some, like Joseph, have risen in much unconventional ways because the bottom line lies- God is with them. They do their part and let Him handle the rest as he did with Joseph.

We tend to look at success from a skewed point of view that most times we fail to recognize the role of God in it all. We give credit and overplay certain aspects of the whole circumstance that even though they have contributed to the whole achievement, cannot overshadow the will of the Lord.

Fast forward to Joseph’s success story. The climax is when the Pharaoh, pagan, admits that Joseph is surely being led by God. This unseen power is what makes him discerning and wise. He goes on to place him in charge of the palace and his subjects. Joseph a foreigner. Pharaoh is so amazed that he exclaims, ‘ can we find anyone like this man? One in whom is the spirit of God?’  Its an indirect admission to the works of God despite the individual brilliance, determination and a great character.

It does not matter your place of birth, who favored you or did not, how rich or poor you are ( disadvantages and opportunities still do create the gap); but one thing stands out…do His will and he will Lift you up. No philosophy can go round it. No intellect can go beyond this simple reasoning. God has and still reveals it in all who choose to be led and guided by him daily. Yes He does play, and actually casts the final vote in who he wants you to be. More like the Jonah analogy…eventually he ended up in Nineveh.Is God in your success story?

But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth,and so confirms his covenant ,which he swore to your ancestors as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18

REF: 1. OUTLIERS-The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

2. NIV BIBLE Genesis  chapter 37 & 41


Expect The Best And Get It (continued)

Expect The Best And Get It (continued)

So far we have seen how our thoughts influence outcomes in our lives from the previous post. This begs me to quote famous William James who became a very successful businessman, he said – ‘ our belief at the beginning of  a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that insures the successful outcome of the venture.’ When you expect the best, you attract to yourself the best. It is more like a magnetic force in your mind and often times works with a sustained expectation of the best setting in motion forces which cause that best to materialize. That’s how universal science would put it , but from a christian point of view, i simply call it faith. Believing in what is yet to be and trusting it will come to pass.

Famous sport writer Hugh Fullerton in one of his stories which concerned Josh O’Reilly (one time manager of the San Antonio Club of Texas League), illustrates this faith system. Josh had a roster of great players,seven of whom had been hitting over 300. Everybody thought that his team would easily take the championships; but it fell into a slump and lost 17 of first 20 games. With this, the players started accusing and blaming each other. Expected when tension is flying high and failure looming above their heads, right?

Playing the Dallas team, a rather weak team that year, one Dallas player got a hit and that, strangely enough, was the pitcher. O’Reilly’s team was badly beaten that day and the players were inconsolable. Josh knew he had great players, their only problem was simply how they thought – negatively. They did not expect to win. They did not expect to hit. They were resigned to losing. This was a mental attitude of doubt not expectation.

It so happened that a preacher named Schlater, popular at the time, claimed to be ‘a faith healer‘ with apparently ‘outstanding‘ results. People believed and had confidence in his ‘abilities‘ (perhaps that’s why his power achieved results!). So O’Reilly asked each of his players to lend him two of his best bats and stay in the club house till his return. He put the bats in a wheelbarrow and off he went with them for an hour. He returned jubilantly to tell the players that Schlater, the preacher, had ‘blessed‘ them and they contained ‘power that could not be overcome‘. The players were astounded and delighted!

The next day they overwhelmed Dallas, 37 hits and 20 runs thus, hammering their way through the league to a championship. For years in the South West a player would pay a large sum of money for a ‘Schlater bat‘ after this experience. Mmmmh. What do you think…?

Whether the coach really visited Schlater or not is a controversial issue to contend with, but one thing stands out clearly; something significant happened in the thought patterns of of these players. They began thinking in terms of expectation not doubt. The expected the best, not the worst. They expected to win, to score and eventually, that’s what they got. You realize all along they had power within them to get what they wanted. The bats remained the same ones they had used in the previous matches, but there was certainly a difference in their minds later.

Simply amazing! Things become better when you expect them to be better. Freedom from  self-doubt allows us to put our whole self into the endeavor. Nothing can stand in the way of a man who focuses his entire self on a problem. When you approach difficulty as a personal unity, the problem tends to deteriorate. Expecting the best means that you put the whole of your heart into what you want to achieve.

We are defeated not because we lack ability, but because we lack wholehearted devotion to what we have at hand to accomplish. We do not wholeheartedly expect to succeed, we allow room for doubt and fear. Perfect faith and love drive out fear. I love children because they have that drive and can-do-anything mentality. They have a kind of  peculiar faith and belief system even when as an adult you’re thinking that’s damn impossible! No wonder Jesus advocated we be like children at heart. Believe. Trust. Hope.

” Learn to give every bit of yourself holding nothing back to whatever you are doing. Life cannot deny itself to the person who gives life his all”.

 Start today. It takes time but it pays.

Expect The Best And Get It

Expect The Best And Get It

When Wilma was a young girl, her left leg became paralyzed. Her doctors told her she would never walk again. Heart breaking. However, Wilma decided she didn’t want to be an invalid. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and resigning to her fate, she said ‘i will walk again’. Not only did she want to walk, but also to run. She began telling herself she would be one of the fastest runners in the world. Affirmative thoughts. In High school, she competed in every race despite finishing last ,until one day she came in next to last. To cut the long story short, eventually Wilma Rudolph won not only one but multiple races and went on to set a record as the first American Woman to ever win 3 gold medals in the same Olympics!

Wilma’s story is an amazing example of the powerful influence our thoughts have over our success of failures in life. This is best explained in the universal law of reaping and sowing – essentially, we are what we think. Positive, happy thoughts produce chemicals that actually strengthen the body while the opposite, is true.Words like ‘i cant’ or ‘i never’ limit our abilities  in the subconscious mind.

What are your expectations in life? Do you believe and look forward to the best or you are a doubting Thomas? When we lose insight and steer towards disbelief,negativity and lack of faith in God and self ; most definitely the best of expectations turn out to be sour. Training our thoughts to expect the best and believe it will occur goes a long way to making those dreams a reality.

Disclaimer though – We do not always get what we wish for, because for a reason, maybe it wasn’t the best or good for us as much as we wish for it at the moment. Learning to put your trust in God, He will guide your mind so you do not want things that are not in harmony with His will for your life. Trust means accepting and having faith that everything happens at its appointed time. Belief makes the impossible possible. Remember you don’t have to see the whole staircase to make the first step. Every great thing at last becomes for you a possibility…

… to be continued