Prosperous. What does it look like in God’s eyes in living a prosperous life? I was hesitant to use the word prosperous in my title. However, years ago, after recommitting my life to Christ, I read a book by Dr. Charles F. Stanley. (I realized that living prosperously is more than financial success.) The book truly opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective on living a prosperous life.
This is not an article based on the “prosperity gospel” foolishness. I want to show you what it means to live in a way this year that will bring honor and glory to God and, yes, you can live prosperously.
First of all, let me help change your thought process when it comes to the word prosperous. Here are a few words I want you to think about going forward as you read this blog post. Blossom. Thrive. Bloom. Progress. Be enriched. Bear fruit. Flourish. Grow.
Prosperous Living Requires Planning
For several years I worked in corporate America. Every year, month, and even every week, I had to plan for success. It was especially essential to have a plan when I managed my very own sales and marketing team in the years leading up to my stroke. Every Monday morning, we would meet to review the previous week’s successes and discuss our upcoming week’s plans. (Who we hoped to talk with or get a meeting with that week, etc.)
During those years, I had my own preferred way of planning for the year. I would set measurable goals, kept a record of my progress, and one year I experimented by creating a “vision board.” To make it fun for my team one Monday, I brought in many magazines, scissors, and glue. We created our own vision boards together. Cutting out pictures that represented a home or car we hoped to purchase, monies we hoped to earn, weddings or children we hoped to have, etc.
I still have my vision board somewhere under my desk. However, I’m a little saddened that there are no pictures of my Savior, Jesus Christ, or mentions about reading God’s Word. My focus at that time was not on the eternal but the temporal. Back then, I did achieve getting my “dream car” with a Dark Knight license plate and making a high six-figure salary. Unfortunately, that car is nothing but scrap metal, as my late father totaled it while I was rehabbing from the stroke. My huge salary did me little good once that stroke knocked me flat on my back over ten years ago.
However you choose to go about planning for the New Year, make sure to prioritize God in the equation. Click To Tweet Ask the Father what His desire is for you. He created you, and He knows your heart. If it is in alignment with Him, the opportunities are limitless with what God can do!
Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. The mind of a person plans his way. but the LORD directs His steps. –Proverbs 16:3,9.
Purposeful Living Begins with Prayer
Prayer is one of my favorite practices of the seven for living a prosperous life in the New Year. If you are familiar with my writing or have followed me for any time, you know that I cherish prayer. The first book I wrote was about unleashing the power of prayer in your life.
I’m pleading with you. Please do not let prayer intimidate you or make you fearful. Jesus constantly prayed to the Father while He was here on earth. So, you have nothing to fear when it comes to praying. In fact, God looks forward to hearing from you as you prepare to embark on the upcoming twelve months. I challenge you to be purposeful in your praying. Write down things from your heart. Use a journal. I prefer using notebooks. So, I can have plenty of room for scripture verses, thoughts, prayer requests, bible study notes, and maybe new ideas for my next blog post or book! If you prefer journals, check out these beautiful and creative journals made by my sister in Christ, Allison Hodges.
Over the past few years, I’ve also added a PrayerMate app on my phone with a list of family, friends, fellow authors, and writers that I pray for daily. There are missionaries, bible teachers, and pastors and their families on there too. Whatever or whomever God puts on my heart; it’s in the app.
Currently, I am praying for God’s wisdom for my next book. In fact, recently, I came up with a topic I’d like to write about, but I am praying that God will clarify my thoughts. I’m excited, but God has also given me the word “PATIENCE” as my word for this year. So, I am trying to be obedient and do His will. In the interim, I plan to publish a new blog post every other week and record a new podcast episode every other week. You can listen to the brand-new episode of Season 3 on iTunes right here.
But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! -Psalm 141:2.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. -Romans 12:12.
Preparation is Essential
When I was thirteen, my love for the game of basketball exploded while watching Earvin “Magic” Johnson lead his Michigan State Spartan’s basketball team to an NCAA championship against Larry Bird. His joy for the game was undeniable, and his smile was infectious. I already was a fan of the game, having made the varsity basketball as an 8th grader.
However, I became a tremendous fan of Magic Johnson. I watched every game of his I could and checked his game stats in the newspaper. (Yes, there were newspapers in the early eighties) I even had “Magic” Williams on my basketball warmups in high school.
Having the name on my uniform was not enough. My preparation and training went to the next level. Over the summer before starting high school, I grew almost three inches. I was shooting baskets in our driveway every day until the sun went down. Mom would even look outside and turn the porch light on for me when darkness began creeping in. I did every drill I could think of and followed my coach’s instructions that he had given me. I read every book I could find from the library on basketball.
Some nights I even slept with a basketball to help me become comfortable with the “feel” with either hand. Being great a basketball became my purpose. I was determined to become great at the sport. Within three years, I went from an 8th grader making the varsity high-school team to an all-star and then an All-American basketball player. However, knee injuries playing football cut my basketball career short.
Preparation is even more important in the Christian life. Whether you believe it or not, the battle in the spiritual realm is real. Just read the book of Job if you don’t believe me! However, although everything Job experienced and suffered through, he never sinned or turned away from God.
The only way he was able to live that way is by preparation. Every day he prepared his heart to live godly. There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. Job 1:1.
You may say that you cannot live a godly life, and you would be correct. You cannot do that in your own strength. As a matter of fact, God has provided a way for both you and me to live prepared for whatever comes our way!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
If you truly want to live a purposeful and prosperous life, You have to prepare yourself for spiritual warfare EVERY DAY! Click To Tweet This is not just an idea or a suggestion. This is critical for your daily living. The devil will do anything in his power to destroy you. (1 Peter 5:8)
He wants to prevent you from having a relationship with Jesus. If you are a Christ-follower, he still does not give up. He wants to give you reasons to fear, doubt, and question God’s plan for your life.
In light of this, you have to “put on” the armor daily in preparation for success. I have written a detailed post about the various pieces included in the armor of God. You can read that article here. ( You can also see my favorite and most shared image of all-time! You’ll know it when you see it!)
Ask God to remind you to prepare yourself each day for what lies ahead.
Prosperous Living may Require us to Pivot.
I cannot understate the need to live prepared. However, how adaptable are you? Are you resistant to change? Do people think of you as stubborn? No matter how much planning you may do, nothing always goes as planned. You have to be prepared and ready to pivot when needed or adjust your plans….joyfully.
We live in a fallen world, and unexpected things are going to happen. Many times these are things that are beyond our control. Remember the verse in Provers 16:9 about the Lord directing our steps? Sometimes God’s plan will force us to move in a different direction. To pivot joyfully, not begrudgingly knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
God is NEVER surprised by the unexpected! In fact, He will use unique circumstances to test, strengthen, and grow our faith. But He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. Job 23:10. NLT
Persevere. Keep going. Press on. Stay the course. “Relentless determination” is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard regarding perseverance. Besides, this is way different than living stubbornly. Perseverance is moving forward in doing God’s will with determined courage.
Stubborn people do not listen. Prosperous and purposeful people listen to wise counsel’s input, especially seeking God’s wisdom in EVERYTHING. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5.
Prosperous living includes experiencing the indescribable peace, the blessed hope, and the undeserved grace of God. That being said, it will not come easy to experience any of these things. You must prepare to live relentlessly in pursuit of God’s plan for your life this year! Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer. Romans 12:12.
Patience Can Be Prosperous
For 2021, God has given me the word “PATIENCE.” I’ll admit that I was not as excited when He first gave it to me. I prayed and prayed, hoping I’d hear something different, but it kept coming back to patience.
But then it happened! I was reading a devotion by pastor David Jeremiah one morning. Check out the definition of patience he gave. ” Patience is doing what you should do while waiting on God to do what ONLY He can do.”
How cool is that? I almost jumped out of my chair after reading his quote about patience! So, I am beyond excited to see what God has in store for me in the New Year! I’ve committed to doing things that I can do, and I’m trusting God for everything else. His will be done! For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts on behalf of one who waits for Him. Isaiah 64:4.
I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.
-Mary Gardiner Brainard
Praising God Daily
This is the seventh practice that will help in having a purposeful and prosperous year. Praising God daily. I love praise and worship music. I have multiple playlists on my Spotify account. By the same token, we can praise God in a variety of ways. Not only when you talk with God, are you praising and honoring Him. We can praise God with how we live.
In light of this, we praise and honor God with our obedience. I remember the first time I read this passage. The words jumped off the page for me. Samuel, the priest, admonished King Saul, as Almighty God was preparing to remove him from leadership. Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. And to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22.
Samuel went on to compare insubordination to God as idolatry. He called disobedience a rebellion against God. I don’t believe there will be a prosperous and purposeful year in store for anyone if their plans, goals, and preparations are not aligned with God!
I hope this post encourages you to seek God’s direction and wisdom for yourself in the New Year. Don’t shortchange your time in His Word. There is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will. It does not mean things will always be easy, but knowing you are in His will gives you confidence moving forward.
If you commit to these seven practices in the New Year, God will bring you through both the challenges and opportunities victoriously. Now, that sounds like a productive and prosperous New Year!
Horace Williams Jr.