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Redefining Success

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
August 25, 2021 8:00 am

Redefining Success

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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August 25, 2021 8:00 am

Society’s view of success usually boils down to a list of things we ought to have. But, in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will explain why spiritual success is becoming what God wants us to be. Discover how the Lord can use the growth in your life to carry out his agenda.

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Your success is directly tied to your experiential knowledge of God. Dr. Tony Evans says that's just one more reason to be close to God. He lets you see things that you would not otherwise see and understand in your personal life, family life. He lets you work through things. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

Society's view of success usually boils down to a list of things we ought to have, but spiritual success is becoming what God wants us to be and using that growth to carry out His agenda. Let's join Dr. Evans as he explains. We're in a time of what I call divine reset, coming out of a divine disruption. God has allowed a pandemic for a purpose. And while all of us are focused on the various kinds of pandemics that we have been wrestling with and facing, not enough attention is being given to its purpose.

And through this divine reset, I'm trying to get you and me to focus on not only the destruction of God's remodeling process, but what He's trying to do in the remodel to take us to something new and different and fresh. But one of the realities of the situations that we have been going through, you take the virus, for example, the virus doesn't care how much money is in your bank. The virus doesn't care whether you are GED or a PhD.

The virus doesn't care where you work or what position you have arrived to in your employment. It is an equal opportunity infector, because what it has done is it's revealed to us the limitations of our humanity. So if you and I, if we don't look at what we are dealing with from the purposes of God rather than merely the problems in the world, then we will miss it. And you know how it is when you keep failing a test, you got to get a retest.

I don't know. I don't know about you, but I want to learn everything I got to learn, so I'll have to keep going through retesting. In Jeremiah chapter 9, we have two powerful verses about a divine reset in the area of how you are viewing success. To be able to learn one of the remodeling lessons about success and how you're looking at your life is very critical if we're going to get back on track if Christ be not come.

I will read the verses and then set the stage for us. Verse 23 says, Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, and let not the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things, declares the Lord. He says there must be a reset of your priority and you must stop defining success by cultural norms and rather replace it by Kingdom norms. When your pursuit for your success is driven independently of God, you are losing the God you need to benefit from, enjoy, and keep what you thought you earned.

Because all it takes is a bad day and what you thought you had can be gone overnight. He says you are boasting. The Hebrew word for boasting is the word halleu, which is the word for hallelujah. So it's talking about patting yourself on the back.

It's called self-praise. He says, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom. So we need to talk about, first of all, educational progress.

You've gone through high school, you've made it to college, you decided to go on for a higher degree and get your master's, then that some have gone on for their various other graduates degrees, PhDs, and you feel good about what's hanging on your wall. He says, Don't brag about your degree, not because knowledge is wrong and learning is wrong, but it can make you a fool when you do it independently of God. The knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom. Biblical wisdom is not merely information. Biblical wisdom is your ability to take the right information and apply it to the decisions in life.

So if you can't make life decisions, you haven't learned much, even though you may have an educated degree. Second thing is, he says, Let not the mighty man boast of his might. Now, might can be personal strength or positional strength.

We spend a lot of time and money on our personal health, only to discover new things can show up that we don't have medicine for. He says, Don't boast about your might, your power, that is independently of God. Thirdly, he says, Let not the rich man boast of his riches.

Oh, couldn't we talk about this? Psalm 62 verse 10 says, If God allows you to be rich, don't set your heart on it. Don't set your heart on it. Don't make the accumulation of stuff your identity. That's why in Proverbs he says, Don't give me so much that I forget you. I want you to give me enough, but I don't want you to give me so much that I think, Look at this great wealth that I have accumulated.

He's not downing legitimate success, but what he is downing is where you make what you have define you to be successful. In fact, when we had less, we were more dependent. When you get more, you become more independent, even in the church.

We have whole theologies that are creating evil mindsets in Christians through an illegitimate prosperity theology. And you hear it all the time, I'm coming for my blessing. Now, is that wrong?

Absolutely not. You should also be saying, And I'm also coming to be a blessing. See, but you don't hear that other—you don't hear often that other one tacked on. It's, I'm coming to be blessed. I love the story in Luke chapter 12 verses 13 to 21. This man is arguing about the will, about the, about, he didn't get his share of the money, and he calls on Jesus. He says, Jesus, fix this problem between me and my brother, because we're not, we're fighting over this money.

Jesus says, Wait a minute. You want me to give spiritual support to your greed? Greed is not having money.

Greed is having the wrong attitude toward money. He says, You want me to help you with your greed? So Jesus says to him, he says, uh, he says, Let me tell you about a man. He says, That was this man, and he was a successful farmer, and he built a big farm, and he was so successful he had to build bigger bonds to handle all of the stuff he was producing, and this man's business was going up and up and up and up and up, and he said, I'm gonna retire. He said, I got enough to retire, and I'm going to live the rest of my life in ease. He says, I got it made. In other words, I'm successful. My 401 is working for me. My, you know, my retirement accounts, my investments, my Dow stock market, you know, it's my Donaz deck.

All of that is working for me. I'm good to go. It says, And then heaven opened up. And guess what heaven said? Heaven said, You fool. You fool.

Wait a minute. He got a big bank account. You fool. Your retirement is intact, you fool.

Your company is successful, fool. Tonight your soul is required of you, and now who's gonna have what you built up? See, when you accumulate wealth independently of God, not accumulating it, but when God is on the back shelf, he says, You're nothing but a fool. And then the story concludes by saying how foolish it is to live your life accumulating things, and then it says, and not be rich toward God. In other words, the question is, how spiritually rich are we?

So that's the the issue here. The boasting, the hallelujah to yourself, and not recognizing the need for dependency. So Jeremiah chapter 9, in fact the whole book, is weeping because everything is falling apart.

And I don't know about you, but if you look at the news long enough, it doesn't take long to see everything's falling apart, not only outside the church, but inside the church. He's resetting things. He's saying, Hey, the spiritual has gotten lost here. I'm on the back burner. I think I want to create something where you're gonna need me a little bit more. So where do we go from here?

Well, Dr. Evans will come back with the answer for us when he continues our message shortly. But first, as you've heard, the urban alternative is celebrating 40 years of ministry this year. In a recent conversation, Tony recalled how God opened doors, leading to a path that would ultimately better prepare him for the work that lay ahead. Well, I was so excited about learning the Scripture, studying the Scripture, that I decided to go to seminary, and I planned to go to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana.

We went up there, found a place to live. I had been accepted, and so that was where we were gonna go, until a professor named Doug McIntosh asked me one day had I ever considered Dallas Theological Seminary. And I hadn't. I thought it was gonna be too difficult to get into there, even though I studied from many of the professors of DTS in some of my courses in college. So he said, If I pay your application fee, would you at least apply? And, you know, I did apply. I didn't expect to receive anything because it was late in my year of graduation, so it would have been too late to be accepted.

But when he paid and I applied, they provisionally accepted me. And then in consultation with my wife, it was decided that it would be better for me health-wise as well as community-wise, because Winona Lake is a little small community as opposed to Dallas, a big city, urban city, where I could interact more with the reality of issues of the day. And because I was acquainted with so many of the professors there through my study and the reading of the books, we decided to go to Dallas. So in 1972, we got in our Green Nova and drove from Atlanta to Dallas Theological Seminary to continue our biblical training. Through thick and thin, Dr. Evans and the Urban Alternative Ministry have always endeavored to put together resources relevant to the times we're living in and beneficial to our listeners' spiritual growth and kingdom impact.

And today's offer is no exception. The message you've been hearing today, Redefining Success, comes from Tony's brand-new teaching series, Divine Reset, a look at how to respond to God's reminders to focus on the truly important, to leave the past behind, and to live a life consistent with your identity in Christ. You'll discover ways to develop a tighter focus on God, enabling you to enjoy His presence more as you live a life with crystal-clear clarity, free from cultural and worldly confusion. Along with that, we're including Tony's popular booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. This quick read offers down-to-earth guidance on using the tools and tactics God has provided to give you victory over the spiritual challenges in your life. We'll send you all 10 messages in the Divine Reset series and the Winning Your Spiritual Battles booklet as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry. This offer is only available for a short time, so visit us right away at, or call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222 for details before time runs out.

I'll have our contact information again after part two of today's lesson and this. Whether you're facing a decision or a dilemma, it's smart to ask, what would Jesus do? But first you have to know what Jesus did and what God has to say about the situations you face. Well, if building your biblical foundation is your goal, the help you need is as close as your computer or mobile device, thanks to the Tony Evans Training Center. It's packed with online courses covering core concepts of the faith and in-depth scripture studies you can work through anytime you want, at any pace you want. Along the way you'll explore key teachings and learn how to apply them in real-world situations. There's lots of exclusive content from Tony to keep you interested and motivated and an online forum where you can ask questions, get answers, and collaborate with other students. It's almost like having a seminary on your smartphone. Visit today and connect with the Tony Evans Training Center where you can explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere.

So what's the solution? He says in verse 24, but let him who boasts boast in this. Ah, guess what he just said? It's okay to brag. Let him who boasts. He tells you verse 23, don't boast about your degree, about your position, your power.

Don't boast. Have it, but don't hallelujah it. Psalm 100 verse 3 says, Know that the Lord, He is God. Exodus 15 verse 11 says, Who is like the Lord?

As the psalm says, nobody. He says, I want to give you something to brag about. Let him who brags brag about this, that he understands and knows me. So he's giving you and me the secret to success. He wants us to reset our definition of success.

So here it is. Your success is directly tied to your experiential knowledge of God. Let me say it again. Your authentic success, not fake success, is directly tied to your experiential knowledge of God. And when that happens, guess what God does? He reveals things to you. He shows you things. He lets you see things that you would not otherwise see and understand in your personal life, family life, positional life. He lets you see things.

He lets you work through things. I had a very simple spiritual experience. I had written a check to pay for something, and I had then just left the checkbook and moved on with my day. I came back at the end of the day looking for my checkbook, because I had to write another check. And I couldn't find it. I'd gone a couple of places that day, so I'm wondering, did I take it?

Did I leave it? So I'm scurrying around the house for what seemed like hours. I'm sure I ain't the only one who's done this, but I am scurrying around for hours looking at this checkbook. I had two other people in my house searching for this checkbook. I called the places that I had gone. No sight for this checkbook. And so then I was gonna have to do a whole banking thing to get it all fixed up. And so I decided to go to bed.

It's like midnight. I decided to get up and look for this checkbook one more time. So I'm looking, I'm looking, and I'm looking at places that even a checkbook couldn't get lost in.

I mean, I'm just looking for all—you know, I'm just— because I knew it had to be somewhere. So I stopped and paused, and I said, Holy Spirit, you know where this checkbook is. I turned a checkbook into a prayer meeting. I said, Holy Ghost, you know where this—you know all things, and Lord, if this checkbook is here and I am not seeing it, I need your Spirit to show me where this checkbook is. So the checkbook is lost. It's not that I didn't use my own human ability to find it.

I mean, wait a minute. I have an earned doctor's degree. I should be able to find a checkbook. I got a position.

I'm senior pastor, Oakland Bible Fellowship, president of the Urban Alternative. My position should say I should be able to find this checkbook. And I had some money in the checking account, which is the reason I'm looking for the checkbook.

But with my education, my position, and my money that was in that checking account, I couldn't brag because I couldn't find it. But then I consulted, and I said, Holy Spirit, you got to show me. I went back after this midnight looking for it, and as I laid down, a thought shot through my head, a thought I hadn't thought of all day, because if I would have thought of it all day, I wouldn't have spent all my day using my doctorate degree, my position, and what was in the checkbook. A thought shot over it. It simply said, when you wrote the check this morning, you put it in an envelope.

That's that's all it said. When you wrote the check this morning, you put it in an envelope. When that thought shot through my head, I sat up in the bed, because what I had not checked was the drawer that held the envelopes.

If I tell you I ran through my house to that kitchen drawer that houses the envelope, sitting on top of the envelope was my checkbook. And I just simply looked up to God and said, You bad. You bad. You bad.

You bad. You know, I got my praise on over a checkbook. But the reason why it was so big is that it showed me God is so good that even little things are big things to Him when I put Him first.

Now, if I hadn't been so so independent and prideful, I should have talked to Him on the front end and not at midnight, and then I would not have to pull my hair out, because I could have invoked His presence earlier. If you want to know God, bring Him in on the details, bring Him in on the small things, because success is tied to the growth of the intimacy of our relationship. Dr. Tony Evans will share a final word on success when he returns in just a moment. But first, as I mentioned earlier, today's lesson is part of a brand new series called Divine Reset. Don't forget, for a limited time, we're offering the full-length version of all 10 lessons in this series on CD and digital download, along with Tony's booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles.

They're yours as our thank-you gift when you make a donation to help us continue this ministry to a world desperately in need of the good news of Jesus Christ. Call us right away at 1-800-800-3222. Our resource center never closes, so don't wait. Again, dial 1-800-800-3222 or visit to make the arrangements. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional.

Again, that's When what we believe to be best isn't 100% aligned with God's Word, how do we respond? Is it sometimes okay to correct God's will with our own desires or with the will of popular opinion? Well, tomorrow Dr. Evans will take a look at what really happens when greater prominence is given to human opinion than to God's thoughts. Right now, though, he's back to wrap up today's message. So I want you to be successful, but not because of the world's definition. Allow for a reset in your life by making your experiential pursuit of God through His Word the focus of your definition and reset of success. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 04:47:48 / 2023-09-13 04:56:02 / 8

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