Matthew 6:19-23 NIV “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
The wisest investment is the one you make in the things of heaven. When you invest in heavenly things the return on investment (ROI) is beyond measure.
Matthew 6:33 NIV But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I am sharing Dr. Stanley's article in this post. The article, "Let God's Word shape your thinking, attitudes, emotions, words, and actions" is unedited however I have included the full scriptures that Dr. Stanly only referenced in the article. (For the original article click this LINK)
Let God’s Word shape your thinking, attitudes, emotions, words, and actions.
By Charles F. Stanley
I have a beautiful Japanese maple tree in my front yard that provides a home for birds in the spring, refreshing shade in the summer, and gorgeous foliage in the fall. It’s an amazing creation of God. It’s also a wonderful example of what He desires to do in the lives of Christians. He wants us to be firmly rooted in Him, to demonstrate to the world the beauty of a life transformed by Christ, and to be fruitful in our characters and in every good work He’s prepared for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In other words, God’s goal is that we be spiritually successful.
But sometimes we’re too busy pursuing our own personal advancement to notice we may be climbing the world’s ladder of success rather than God’s. His ladder has different rungs or principles that lead us step by step into eternity. Of course, I’m not saying it wrong to have wealth or prominence. There are many biblical examples of prosperous, influential servants of God—Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, and Daniel are just a few. But God’s ladder must come first.
It’s hard for us to accurately evaluate spiritual success because earthly evidence is easier to see. From a human perspective, Jesus could have seemed like a failure. He didn’t change the culture for the better by erasing poverty, slavery, and injustice. He ended his life with only a handful of followers and many enemies. But in His Father’s eyes, Jesus’ ministry was a complete success because He fully obeyed the will of His Father, even to the point of death on a cross for sinners. His exultation didn’t come until He returned to heaven, and the same will be true of us as well.
You don’t have to feel like a failure simply because you aren’t measuring up to the culture’s standards of prosperity. Christians live according to divine truths, not the world’s expectations. If you want to live a truly successful life, read Psalm 1—it explains God’s path to a fruitful life.
Psalms 1:1-6 NIV Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
First the psalmist gives a warning. “Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Psalm 1:1). The imagery is of increasing toleration and comfort with sin. The downward slide begins by listening to ungodly ideas and counsel. Then it progresses to participating in sinful practices, and it culminates with becoming like the ungodly by adopting their irreverent attitudes toward God and His Word.
Now, you can certainly have unbelieving friends and acquaintances. In fact, that gives you an important opportunity to be a witness for Christ. But we must always guard against following their ways, because bad company has a corrupting influence on us.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NIV Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Many people are on this ungodly path today, and externally they may appear very successful. But ultimately, without Christ all their achievements will be blown away like chaff when they stand before God (Psalm 1:4).
Next, the Lord calls His people to a higher path.“But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Genuine success is determined by our attitude toward Scripture. God tells us not to boast in our wisdom, might, or riches, but in understanding and knowing Him.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
And one of the best ways to know the Lord is through His Word.
Can you honestly say that the Bible is a delight to you, or is it more of a Christian duty? Do you take great pleasure and satisfaction in Scripture? If you don’t desire the Word as much as you’d like, there is a solution. Ask the Lord to teach you to delight in it. Then start reading and meditating on a passage.
Meditation isn’t some mystical experience. It simply means to think deeply about what you’ve read. Don’t just skim a passage so you can check it off your list, but ask questions as you read. What do these verses say about God and His character, ways, purposes, and desires? Is there a command to obey, a warning to heed, or a promise to believe? Then, consider how you can apply what you’ve learned. Let God’s Word shape your thinking, attitudes, emotions, words, and actions. Remember that the more familiar you become with Scripture, the greater your enjoyment and satisfaction in it will be.
Finally, the result of staying on God’s path is a fruitful life (Psalm 1:3). “He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” The picture is that of a stable life that stands firm in times of adversity, because it’s deeply rooted in biblical truth and continually sustained by Christ.
We all want productive, prosperous lives, but we must make certain we’re pursuing the right kind. Material prosperity can be useful, yet we’ll lose it all when we die. But if our delight is in following God and His Word, we’ll have eternal treasure waiting for us in heaven.