I hope all of you are making New Year’s resolutions that will equate into successful living in 2009. For me, success is a continuous journey of setting and accomplishing predetermined worthwhile goals that make a positive impact on the world. Several years ago when I surrendered my life to Jesus I added the last part “make a positive impact on the world” to the definition. For years I thought success simply meant setting and accomplishing goals that positively impacted me. Today I know different as I agree with Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” Solomon is referring to a life based on self. If everything we do is for self then it is meaningless.
So how do we live a successful life not based on self? Glad you asked. Anything I have ever been successful at, basketball, business, marriage, family, recovery etc… has required sacrifice on my part. My definition of sacrifice is simply being able to give up the short term good in order to realize the long term great. Sacrifice involves denying self and when we deny self we become disciplined (doing what we do not want to do) and when we become disciplined we grow in character (keeping promises to self and others) and as our character grows we become better able to handle the demands of reality the way Jesus would want us to.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” This past year has been a year of men forfeiting their souls…Elliot Spitzer, Kwame Kilpatrick, Roger Clemens, Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Madoff, and the list could go on and on and on. Over twenty years ago I was forfeiting my soul for the world and but by the Grace of God and blood of Jesus Christ I am here to tell you it is all meaningless, meaningless, meaningless!
2009 brings a brand new slate for us to get the “meaningless” parts of our lives straightened out and turned into success stories. I have a few new goals for 2009 (I add a couple of new ones every year…great way to work the character) and with these goals comes sacrifice. In 2009 I will deny myself of my daily induglence in sweets and replace it with a healthy low carb protein bar. I will also deny myself from watching Fox News all night by instead only watching the O’Reily Factor (say so long to Shepard, Hannity, Combs and Greta). Last but not least I will deny myself an average of 30 minutes of sleep every day (I usually average 7.5hrs). Denying myself of these 3 things that I really enjoy will allow me to reach my goals of losing 10 pounds this year (denying sweets), giving more time to my disabled son to free up time for my wife, writing a book, and getting my business through this very challenging economic time. I will ask God to bless these goals in a way that the end results will not be meaningless. All of this seems so minimal when I think about the sacrifice Jesus gave for all of us.
Make 2009 a year of ”denying self and character building” and in turn make it your most successful year ever. Write down 2 or 3 things you must deny yourself of in order to successfully accomplish a few new goals for 2009. If you mess up, don’t give up but instead get up and keep walking forward. Last but not least commit these goals to the Lord…Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”