Having reached the conclusion of the series of successful articles, we must examine the culmination of this journey. Specifically, we must analyze it from the following perspective: success is assessed by the prosperity of your inner being (the prosperity of your soul) as opposed to material gain.
3 John 1:2 (KJV)
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
It has been never about material things; it is about the success that comes from bettering oneself. The inner you needs to be well no matter what happens externally.
Mark 8:36 (KJV)
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Growing internally means you overcome obstacles that prohibit your ability to progress beyond what you have endured. Simply put, you cannot remain stagnant because of what you have suffered. So, as we bring this journey to an end, we will focus on a few final touches needed for our internal growth to be successful. The Word of God says this:
Ruth 3:5-6 (KJV) And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. 6And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
Ruth, a widow, was determined to be a part of her mother-in-law’s life. She worked hard trying to provide for them both. Ruth differed from Orpah, her sister-in-law, who left. Ruth could have easily given up at her husband dying or her brother-in-law’s passing. She did not have to live with a bitter mother-in-law, but Ruth did not give up. She did not let anything stop her. Ruth never let her situation hold her captive internally. She moved beyond it. Similarly, for each of us to progress, we have to move beyond the limitations of the experiences we have had and push forward to improve!
I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.
Ruth was gleaning in the field of Boaz. And Naomi recognized that Ruth had gained his favor. So, Naomi, who had wisdom in relationships, instructed Ruth on how to position herself to be discovered by Boaz. Importantly, Ruth listened.
You just do not know it all! There are people in your life now, or who cross your path during this life, that have answers you need to progress! Ruth did not want to remain a widow forever. And Naomi had the wisdom to teach her…all Ruth had to do was listen to that instruction.
I heard a saying by a good friend, Pastor JT Wilkins, who said, “It’s amazing how much you can learn by using your ears and not your mouth.”
Listening can teach you more than assuming. It can prepare more than any book and guide you better than feeling your way through a dark situation. Do not reject EVERYTHING; have an open ear and listen to wisdom.
- Commit to the Process
To do something different, you have to be fully invested in the steps it takes to achieve it. You do not trust the process if you refuse to follow it…so COMMIT!
Verse five implies that Ruth listened to what Naomi said and the verse offers evidence of Ruth’s commitment to the process. Ruth says, “All that thou sayest unto me I will do.”
Ruth knew where she had been in life and had done enough to become a permanent fixture in the field of Boaz. She did not, however, have any idea of what it would take to go forward and get Boaz to REALLY notice her. So, not only did Ruth listen to what Naomi said, she committed to do what she heard!
Listening is of null effect if you are not committed to the process you are listening to! In actuality, commitment is the difference between hearing and listening!
The process of change does not happen overnight. It is often strategic, calculated, progressive, and consistent. It takes work! The work that needs to be done is inside of us. It takes commitment to move beyond the hurt, fear, rejection, failures, mistakes, and even the successes of your past. Despite all the work it takes to overcome internal blockages, you are not without help!
Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…
There is something often misinterpreted in this scripture. “Begun a good work in you” has one direct definition, which means to put one’s hands on it. So, as you commit to the process, God literally puts His hands on you in order to work IN you. He does not JUST work through you as in the use of the gifts, callings and/or anointing(s) God has placed in you…but literally works ON you from the inside out! Commit to the process of growth and change internally and externally!
- Follow Instructions
The most important part of direction is the follow through — follow the steps and watch success manifest itself!
1 Kings 11:38 (KJV)
And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
Every sport has a follow through from basketball to football and hockey. The absence of follow through significantly decreases the efficiency and effectiveness of the process!
Verse six says “…and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.” Ruth listened, committed, and followed through. It was her follow through that put Ruth in position to get everything she wanted.
God desires to bless you. But, because of what you have gone through, there is a process in place to obtain it. As difficult as it sounds, God intends to use this process to bless you!
Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
An overlooked part of this scripture is that God was actually telling the children of Israel that they were headed into bondage, but do not take bondage the wrong way. He had a plan to bring them to an expected end!
And so, God tells us the same. You have endured situations you cannot believe you have had to face, but God has a plan. Do not quit in the middle of it. Listen, commit, and follow through! The blessings you have prayed for lie on the other side. Peace, strength, love, support, and encouragement…all are waiting for you to overcome what you have to go through. And once you become the better version of yourself, you will appreciate and enjoy what you asked for so much more!
Elder Warren G. Smith, Sr., a native of Gary, Indiana, serves as the Senior Executive Pastor of True Faith Church Ministries of Gary, Indiana and Assistant Pastor of Southwind Church in Michigan City, Indiana.
He has been serving diligently under his pastor, Apostle Anthony Goffin, Sr., for the past 20 years. He has grown in multiple areas of ministry; including outreach, evangelism, Christian education and leadership. Destined for ministry from birth, Elder Smith has grown to become a wise and knowledgeable man through experience and revelation, leading him in becoming a published author of the book entitled “A Ministry Led Lifestyle”. This profound and Godly inspired writing was published in 2010, and He is already set for his second book to be in 2019!
An anointed preacher and teacher, he draws on his own failures and life’s challenges to deliver God’s Word. Elder Smith embraces technology and real-life application to illustrate Biblical teachings and principals to assist in conveying God’s plan; including his newest vocal recording on the latest song release, “Destined For Greatness” by Brandon McCallister and The Sounds of Overcomers, upcoming internet radio show “The Open Book”, and now contributing writer with “Hidden In God”!!! Through venues such as marriage seminars, conferences and revivals, he is committed to winning souls for Christ so that marriages are restored, families are healed and real world issues are overcome by the understanding of God’s Biblical principles!