10 Things God Wants More Than Our Success

10 Things God Wants More Than Our Success

“Doesn’t God want me to succeed?” 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that question – or lament – after someone didn’t get a promotion, missed an opportunity they thought was golden, or suffered financial setback from a bad investment. 

Sure, God wants us to succeed. But God’s definition of success is often different than ours. He wants us to succeed in our obedience and faithfulness to Him and His Word (Joshua 1:8), and in our development of Christ-like character.

Do you want to succeed in the areas that are important to God? Do you want to impress Him rather than others? Then take a look at 10 things God wants more than our success: 

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  • 1. God wants our humility.

    1. God wants our humility.

    God knows better than we do how personal success can cause us to praise ourselves, rather than Him. Scripture instructs: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10, NASB). Rather than handing us success, God wants us to live humbly, according to His Word, and wait for His promotion (Psalm 75:6-7, KJV). 

    Instead of praying for success in your job, finances, or personal life, pray for a humble heart so God can trust you with whatever He blesses you with. 

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  • 2. God wants our spiritual fruitfulness.

    2. God wants our spiritual fruitfulness.

    Throughout the New Testament, we are exhorted to grow spiritually and in the character of Christ (Colossians 1:10). In Galatians 5:22-23, we are given a list of the fruits of the Spirit –  character traits that emulate Christ and make up God’s measure of success for our spiritual life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These traits are evidence of one’s spiritual growth. 

    If winning the lottery, succeeding at our business, gaining recognition, or even achieving a desired personal level of success keeps us from exhibiting these characteristics, God may do what it takes to prevent that type of “success” in our lives. His goal is that we be mature and display spiritual qualities. When we display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we are living “successfully” in God’s eyes. 

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  • 3. God wants our obedience and surrender.

    3. God wants our obedience and surrender.

    The Prophet Samuel told King Saul “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). God took the kingdom of Israel away from King Saul and gave it to David, whom He described as “a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22). God equated obedience and surrender with success and the ability to be a great leader. 

    Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21). According to Jesus, obedience to God is evidence of our love for Him and a formula for spiritual success. 

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  • 4. God wants our complete dependence on Him.

    4. God wants our complete dependence on Him.

    Personal success can make us believe we are doing pretty well on our own. We can even tend to think we don’t need God. Wise King Solomon knew this tendency of ours if we were given everything we wanted. In Proverbs 30:7-9, he asked for two things before he died. In addition to his request that God keep deception far from him, he also prayed, “Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’”

    Are you asking God for a deeper dependence on Him? It seems contrary to a prayer for success. But wants us to depend on Him for everything we have, success included. Instead of praying for a certain measure of success, ask God to make you so dependent on Him you become a success in His eyes. 

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  • 5. God wants our faith.

    5. God wants our faith.

    Hebrews 11:6 tells us “without faith it is impossible to please God.” If you are highly successful  do you still  need faith? Of course you do. But if you have plenty of money, people standing by to take your orders, and the belief that you can take care of yourself, it’s easy to get comfortable without exercising faith on a daily basis. 

    God wants you to seek Him first and discover that He supplies everything else you can possibly need (Matthew 6:33). When we are successful in our eyes, we sometimes think we have all we need. Don’t pray for the ability to do all things, but for a deepening faith in the One who can do all things. 

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  • 6. God wants us to be like Christ.

    6. God wants us to be like Christ.

    Success isn’t the best teacher when it comes to becoming more like Christ. In fact, we can relate more to the Man of Sorrows through our disappointments, loss, pain, and even failure, as it makes us more dependent on God.

    When you experience a disappointment, loss or failure, instead of asking God why He didn’t want you to succeed, ask Him “How can I become more like Christ through this?” Then you may discover His route to success. 

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  • 7. God wants us to walk in newness of life.

    7. God wants us to walk in newness of life.

    Sometimes we strive for success to make up for what we feel we are lacking in our lives (love, a sense of purpose, affirmation, a sense of identity or worth). Yet God wants us to realize those things are found only in a healthy relationship with Him in which we know who we are in His eyes. 

    Are you desiring personal success as a fix to a wound or to compensate for something you feel you’re missing? Seek healing and wholeness in Him so you can walk in newness of life and leave the past and your old wounds behind you (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is successful living in God’s eyes. 

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  • 8. God wants us to be servants.

    8. God wants us to be servants.

    When Jesus’ followers were arguing about which of them was the greatest, Jesus gave them a dose of reality by stripping down to His underwear and taking on the role of the household servant and washing their dirty, grimy feet. Then He told them, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master” (John 13:14-16).

    He’s the same Jesus today. Does He desire your success? Sure, if you consider success like He does – being an obedient servant of God who is willing to get dirty to help someone else. Focus on leadership as an opportunity to be a servant and you may find that God wants that kind of success for your life, too. 

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  • 9. God wants us to fulfill our calling.

    9. God wants us to fulfill our calling.

    Sometimes we get hung up on God’s specific will for us. And we generalize it with the statement “God wants me to be successful.” A more biblically accurate phrase would be “God wants me to be thankful and content in everything.” 

    In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Fulfill your calling by being open, teachable, and grateful for all things – painful or not – that God allows into your life. You can ask Him what He wants for you, specifically, and as you do, pray that your desires will reflect His. As His desires for your life become your desires, you will find that He delights in granting them (Psalm 37:4). 

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  • 10. God wants our intimacy with Him.

    10. God wants our intimacy with Him.

    More important to God than our investment portfolio, our job resume, or our list of accomplishments in this life is the deepening of our union with Him. He desires intimacy with you and me and will, at times, allow whatever it takes, for us to find that depth of relationship with Him. 

    God’s desire for us to truly know Him is evident in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” and Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” As you pursue intimacy with God and find that earth has nothing you desire besides Him, you will be able to say as the Psalmist did “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Seek intimacy with God and you will ultimately find He is your prize and your success. 

    Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and with others. She has authored more than a dozen books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, When a Woman Discovers Her Dream, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and her newest release, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. She and her husband, a pastor, co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. For more on her resources to help you live more successfully in God’s eyes, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.  

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