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Living a Good Life: Guiding Truths to Define Success, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
February 20, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: Guiding Truths to Define Success, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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February 20, 2024 10:00 am

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? The book of Mark reminds us that we can be wildly successful in things that, once we have them, turn out to be utterly meaningless.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? The book of Mark reminds us that we can be wildly successful in things that, once we have them, turn out to be utterly meaningless.

Are we striving for the wrong goals, all the while neglecting true and lasting success? Today, Pastor Rich shares seven ways that we misdefine success and seven guiding truths from Ecclesiastes 5 to help us realize our true purpose before God. You're listening to the second part of a message from Ecclesiastes 5, 8 through 20. It's part of a series on the book of Ecclesiastes called Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey.

It was originally preached on April 29th, 2018 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Brute over the past and worry about the future and you're preoccupied with, if I had this, then I would be happy, I would be satisfied, I would be comfortable, whatever. If I had, how much of your life is governed by that thought? If I had, it could be material, it could be immaterial.

How do you think your life would change for the better if you had X, if you had fill in the blank? You're asking the wrong question. You have the wrong aim. And here's what that leads to is snag number five, Sorted Character. A snag of misdefined success becomes Sorted Character.

Verse 13, There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun. Riches were kept by their owner to his hurt. Character is shaped by pursuit. Your character is shaped by your pursuits.

Now think about that for a moment. Your character is shaped by your pursuits. You become like what you devote yourself to.

You become like what you devote yourself to. It's the biblical truth. And when it says hurt here at the end of verse 13, by their owner to his hurt, that word hurt means evil, misery, discontentment. Because his preoccupation is with himself and his pursuits are for himself because the underlying question of his pursuits is, how am I doing?

And it leads to Sorted Character. And very easily a person can become bitter about people or about the hand that you've been dealt. I don't deserve this. I deserve better.

I've worked hard. Bitterness can very easily settle in. And what one doesn't have robs them of the joy of what they do have. It's so common, isn't it?

It's so common. We have so much and yet we can be so easily preoccupied with all the good that we have. We can be so easily preoccupied with that one thing that we don't.

May God rescue us from that. If that is the case, then oftentimes that leads us to the sixth snag of misdefined success. And that is Squandered Influence. Squandered Influence verses 14 and 15. And those riches were lost in a bad venture and he is a father of a son and he has nothing in his hand.

As he came from his mother's womb, so he shall go again naked as he came and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. Squandered Influence. Those near you can become destitute because of your selfish ambition. When how am I doing is the question. The we in your lives can suffer from that and they will.

They will. Others are put at risk by one's pursuit of more. Because he's focused on me instead of we. And in this case, relationships take a back seat to success. Listen, please. When relationships take a back seat to success, it is failure.

Because things are never more important than people ever. And God has entrusted you with relationships in your life. You see, all this leads up. This can lead us to the seventh snag. Number seven, Sadness.

A real snag of misdefined success. Look at verses sixteen and seventeen. This also is a grievous evil. Just as he came, so he shall go. And what gain is there to him who toils for the wind.

Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger. There's loneliness in there. There's sadness in there. You see, if things are your aim, then you will lose real life. That's what I just said. If things are your aim, then you'll lose real life.

Because relationships take a back seat to success. Now think about this. If you're created for God, and you are, you are created for God. But if you are created for God, but devote yourself to material things, then you'll suffer emptiness and confusion as to why you're not satisfied. You will live in worry, anger, self-importance, and pettiness when life with God is all around.

You're missing out. This is why Jesus said, it is impossible to serve God and money. And one of the key words, it's easy to pass over it, but the key word is serve. Who's serving what or whom? You cannot serve God and money. It does not say that you cannot serve God with money. It does not say that you cannot serve God and have money. It says that you cannot serve God and serve money. If you're serving money, it means money is your master.

It means it is your aim. It is your source of satisfaction. And whatever your source of satisfaction is, is your master.

You become like what you devote yourself to. Jesus said, is it impossible to serve God and money? God cannot be your master if money is. And money will not be your master if God is. Do you serve your wealth or does your wealth serve you? Do you serve your wealth or does your wealth serve God through you?

I want you to ask that question. Do you serve your wealth or does your wealth serve God through you? Because that's stewardship. And we are called to a life of stewardship. Consider these seven snags of misdefined success. Be very careful that you have the right definition of success. Because you know, in your context, we live under the sun.

And most people in the world are simply living under the sun with earthbound thinking. And all the messages that come to us are about how to define success. To rise up to this position, to this prominence, to this influence. To acquire these things.

To look for these for your satisfaction. And it is misinformation because it is a misdefined success. Now you say, Rich, you've been talking about all misdefining success all this morning, so let's define success.

Okay? Because we're going to talk now in the rest of this chapter, seven guiding truths for your occupation. But before we do that, before we get to number one, we have to define success. What is success? Two things. Realized purpose.

Remember what I said before? You cannot define success until you have identified purpose. What is your purpose? And listen, you can't look under the sun to define that or to determine that. You have to have a reference from beyond the sun. No person is sufficient in themselves to determine their own purpose.

You have to have a reference from beyond the sun to do that. Success is realized purpose. It is functioning according to design. Functioning according to design. Realized purpose functioning according to design.

That is success. What is it that informs this? You and I have to understand that. We have to acknowledge the self-disclosure of God where it says, all things were made by Him and for Him. That one little phrase in Scripture, in Colossians 1, all things were made by Him and for Him. Two key prepositions in that sentence. And if you don't get it, you will experience these snags, these seven snags of life.

All things were created by Him and for Him. So now let's talk about the seven guiding truths for your occupation. Your generation of wealth or what it is you invest yourself in.

What it is you give yourself to through the normal course of the day. Number one, thinking we not me is the place to begin. Thinking we not me is the place to begin.

And as I've said before, how are we doing begins with God. Look at verse nine. You say, Rich, you skipped over verse nine before. I did.

I'm coming back to it. Here we go. Verse nine. But this is gain for a land in every way. A king committed to cultivating fields.

Now think about that illustration, right? A king is thinking he's sovereign. He is free to do whatever he wants to do. And he lives to indulge himself. And many kings in history did. They just live to indulge themselves. Right.

But look what it says in verse nine. This is gain for a land in every way. A king committed to cultivating fields.

That is a king thinking we instead of me. Because who cultivates the fields? The people do. And what do you get from the fields? Sustenance. Guess what?

If the king is not creating a society where people are able to cultivate their fields, instead he's oppressing them, but if he's not oppressing them, the people are able to cultivate the fields, then those people have wealth generation and the king does too. Thanks for joining us here at Delight in Grace. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 10:13:36 / 2024-02-20 10:18:02 / 4

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