Lesson 12




Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Write the Key Verse from memory.

C Define success.

C Explain how success in God’s Kingdom differs from that of the world.

C Summarize basic principles of success.

C Do further study on Biblical principles of success.


This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt

meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)


Successful people are often asked, "What is the secret of your success?" Those in the

world system often list education, position, ambition, talent, power, and money as secrets
of success. Many books have been written on the subject, but the true principles of
success are revealed in the Bible. In this lesson you will learn Biblical principles of

It is assumed that you have already laid the foundations of faith identified in Hebrews 6:1-3. A proper spiritual foundation is necessary in order to apply Biblical success principles in your life and ministry.


In God’s Kingdom success is "the maximum use of one’s gifts and abilities within the

range of responsibilities given by God.” You are successful when you properly use your spiritual resources for the work of God.

Success in God’s Kingdom differs from worldly standards of success . The world views

success materially. God views it spiritually. In God’s Kingdom there is a different

standard that defines success. The world sets its own standard. The standard set by God is called "faithfulness.”

There is a different basis of success. The basis of success in the world is changing and

temporal. In God’s Kingdom, the basis of success is stable and eternal because it is based
on revealed truth. There are different motives for success. In the world, people are
motivated by greed, pride, and the desire for fame. Believers are motivated to succeed for God’s glory.

There is a different model of success in God’s Kingdom. The world looks to rich and

powerful men. Our model is the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a different goal of success. Money, power and position are stressed as worldly goals. The goal in God’s Kingdom is Christlikeness.

Success in God’s Kingdom emphasizes giving instead of getting, serving instead of position , humbleness instead of pride, weakness instead of power . The world views success in terms of what you are doing. God views it in terms of what you are.
Excellence of character is stressed rather than excellence of achievement.

In God’s Kingdom, success is not measured by what you are. It is measured by what you are compared to what you could be. Success is not measured by what you do for God . It is measured by what you do compared to what you could be doing.


God wants you to be successful in ministry. He wants you to accomplish the purpose and
plans He has for you. Spiritual "secrets of success" are not really secret. They are openly
declared in God’s Word. They are only "secret" because people refuse to seek and find
them .

We cannot cover every principle of success in God’s Word because there are so many.

The "For Further Study" section of this lesson provides guidelines for continued study of other Biblical principles. But here are some very important basic principles:


Success begins with the hidden man of the heart:

…For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

A proper heart attitude includes love, humility, obedience, a serving spirit, and true



It is not what you know, but who you know that makes you successful. Relationship is based on who you know, not what you know. All of life is based on relationship. Who you know (Jesus) not what you know gets you to Heaven.

Knowing the Lord results in success:

Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in His wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches.
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth
me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and
righteousness in the earth… (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

The people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits, and they that understand among the people shall instruct many. (Daniel 11:32-33)


Seeking the Lord means waiting on Him by inquiring of Him, praying, and studying the Word in order to know Him and do His will. The benefits of seeking the Lord were
proven by a godly king of Judah called Hezekiah. He sought God and this is the reason for his success:

And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God.

And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek His God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered. (II Chronicles 31:20-21)

It is also said of a king named Uzziah:

…And as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. (II Chronicles 26:5)

It is important to seek the Lord because God desires to reveal His plans and purposes to leaders (see Amos 3:7 .)


Success is promised to those who meditate on the Word of God. The Lord told Joshua:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt

meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

"Meditate" means "to think about, dwell on, recall, and study in detail.” One who

meditates believes God has spoken to man, that the Bible is a record of what He has said, and that God’s Word is true.


It is not just meditation that results in success, it is also obedience to the Word …

…that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

Before Solomon became the King of Israel, David gave him this counsel:

Now, my son, the Lord be with thee; and prosper thee, and build the house of the Lord thy God, as He hath said of thee.

Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God. (I Chronicles 22:11-12)

Every commandment in God’s Word is important. Keeping these commandments will make you successful.

Not only must you personally meditate on and obey the Word of God , you must elevate it to its proper place of authority before the people you lead. Read how Nehemiah restored the authority of God’s Word in Nehemiah 8:1-8. The reforms Nehemiah made would not have lasted apart from the authority of God’s Word. A ministry based on the authority of the Word will always succeed.


You learned previously in this course of the importance of being called of God . You will not be successful unless you know and minister in the specific calling of God, using the

spiritual gifts which He has given you.


It is the presence of God that prospers ministry:

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. (Genesis 39:2-3)

God can only be "with you" when you are walking in fellowship with Him , ministering in your specific calling, and living a holy life.


Chapter Three of this course explained the importance of the anointing of God. You need this anointing to be successful in ministry.


Refusing to face problems and decisions leads to failure. Confront problems promptly and make decisions wisely using the strategies you learned in this course.


God has a specific purpose for each believer. Knowing your purpose involves having

spiritual vision , a knowledge of why you exist and what God has called you to do. (You can learn more about this in the Harvestime International Institute course, "Management By Objectives.”)

A man with a vision does not live in the past, fretting over mistakes and failures or

gloating over success. A vision and clear knowledge of purpose helps you focus on the future . As Paul said:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before… (Philippians 3:13)


You will never achieve your purpose unless you have a plan to do so. You can learn how

to plan in the Harvestime International Institute course, "Management By Objectives.”


Having a good plan is not enough to achieve your purpose in ministry. You must also implement the plan. You must be able to organize, delegate, and supervise. One test of good spiritual leadership is whether or not it results in the successful achievement of God’s purposes and plans. You can learn how to do this in the Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Management By Objectives.”


You will only be successful in ministry if you live a holy life, meeting the qualifications for leaders discussed in Chapter Four of this course. Sin guarantees failure. Holiness assures success.

He that covereth this sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)


Human wisdom is not sufficient to make good decisions and lead others. You must have wisdom from God to be a successful leader:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)


Do not settle for "good enough.” Strive for excellence:

…Approve things that are excellent. (Philippians 1:10)


If you do everything for God’s glory instead of your own , you will be successful:

And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God… (Colossians 3:17)


You will be successful if the Kingdom of God is your priority:

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things (including success) shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

Kingdom priorities can be set through proper organization . (See Acts 6 :1-7 .)


As you learned in this course, Jesus is the example of the greatest spiritual leader. Jesus

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:15)

When you compare yourself to anything other than the example of Christ, it is not good . Jacob compared Joseph to his brothers and set in motion events motivated by jealousy and hatred. The people of Israel compared themselves to other nations and adopted their wicked ways. Saul heard a comparison of himself to David and was poisoned by jealousy.

Comparison may be useful to stretch your vision and challenge you to fulfill your

potential . But another person’s achievements are not the standard for your life. Your

success is not measured in relation to the performance of others. For this reason Peter’s question to the Lord about John, "Lord, what about this man,” received the rebuke, "What is that to you? You follow me." (John 21 :21-22).


Actually, success can be easily summarized in one statement:

Follow the example of Jesus in decision, discipline, direction, and determination.

The Apostle Paul did this:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any

means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:24-27)

Paul made a decision. He wanted to be successful. He wanted to win the "race" of life (Verse 24) . To do this, he realized he must be disciplined, which means to be temperate in all things (Verses 25 and 2 7 ). He had direction. He did not run or fight aimlessly . He was not uncertain about his purpose or plans (Verse 26 ). He was also determined to
obtain, to be successful (Verses 2 4-25).


Are you willing to pay the price of success? Here it is:

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be

beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)

The more successful you are, the more God requires of you. This is the price of success.