These are notes on the sermon, Redefine Success God’s Way, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, July 16, 2023, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
You can get access to this sermon now through a Gospel Partner subscription or by simply purchasing the sermon.
Sign up here to receive Gospel Partner updates and pastoral insights from Joseph Prince and his team.
In today’s world of lack and recession, it can be so easy for us to fear and worry when we look at what’s happening around us. Have you been feeling anxious and troubled by what you read in the news each day? Could it be that you’ve been spending too much time feeding on the news and reports from the world, instead of spending time in God’s Word?
When we overindulge in news reports and in the words of man, it can create fear in us. And this fear is what brings a snare (Prov. 29:25) and what causes bad things to take place in our lives (Job 3:25). But God does not want us to be afraid. This is why the Bible is full of His exhortation for us not to fear. God’s heart is for us to live a life of faith and confidence, being secure in His love and goodness toward us.
Perhaps some of us might be wondering, “How can I not be afraid when this challenge I’m facing is so huge?” Beloved, the way out of trouble is by hearing the Word of God. When we spend time in the Word of God, faith arises within us. And it is this faith that will bring breakthroughs in our lives. Romans 10:17 (NASB) tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ, and we can only hear when the Word is preached to us through a preacher (Rom. 10:14). This means that faith arises in us when we spend time listening to anointed sermons.
God’s Word has wisdom and perspectives that we need to overcome the challenges that crop up in every season. But before we start seeking these answers in the Bible, let’s first settle in our hearts how much our heavenly Father loves us.
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
—Matthew 6:28–30 NKJV
Look at how God cares even for the lilies of the field! He clothes them even better than Solomon, the wisest and richest man recorded in history, in all his glory. Can you imagine how much more He loves and cares for you?
And because He loves us, He desires for us to enjoy every good and perfect gift from Him. He desires for us to enjoy life and have good success in all that we do. This is why He gave us the Bible, for our benefit (2 Tim. 3:16). Whatever challenge we might be facing, we can find the answers and wisdom to our specific needs in God’s Word. The more we seek Him, His ways, and His wisdom, the more we will get to enjoy the abundant life He wants us to enjoy (John 10:10)!
Many of us think wisdom is something to be acquired, but in reality, it is something given by God. We see this demonstrated in Solomon’s life.
When Solomon was a young man, God appeared to him in a dream at Gibeon and said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5). Let’s take a look at his response:
“‘Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?’ The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.”
—1 Kings 3:7–10 NKJV
Of all the things Solomon could have asked God for, he asked God for wisdom. And God was so pleased with Solomon’s request. Not only did He give Solomon a wise and understanding heart, but He also gave Solomon riches and honor (vv. 12–14).
Notice also how Solomon said, “But I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.” Solomon recognized his need for wisdom and asked God for it. That was when God lavishly gave Solomon what he had asked for.
Likewise, for us today, it is when we know we are lacking and acknowledge that we don’t know the answers and don’t have it all together, that God’s wisdom can come into our situations! And just like how God gave Solomon wisdom, God wants to do the same for us today. James 1:5 (KJV) tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us liberally. Wisdom is a gift that God wants us to ask Him for and to freely receive! All we need to do is to acknowledge our need for it and boldly ask Him.
Wisdom is personified as a woman in the Bible.
“Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.”
—Proverbs 3:16–17 NKJV
When we embrace wisdom, we receive these 5 benefits: length of days (including health), riches, honor, pleasantness, and peace. Pastor Prince emphasizes here that while God does not want us to chase after riches, it is important for us to know that His heart is still for us to be provided for. God desires to bless us lavishly and abundantly, just like how He blessed Solomon with riches and honor after Solomon asked for wisdom. In fact, God blessed Solomon with so much wealth that Solomon became the richest man recorded in history to have ever lived!
Now, here’s an interesting lesson for us to learn from Solomon’s story: even though he received the blessings of riches and honor, he did not enjoy length of days (1 Kings 11:42–43).
“So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
—1 Kings 3:14 NKJV
We see from this verse that length of days is a blessing God gave to Solomon, but it came with a condition: Solomon would only enjoy it if he walked in God’s ways. We know from the Bible that Solomon did the opposite (1 Kings 11:1–4) and indulged in a promiscuous lifestyle. He had many foreign women and they turned his heart away from God toward other gods.
So despite being the wisest man, Solomon disregarded God’s commands and indulged in a lifestyle that was dishonoring toward God, leading eventually to his downfall. This shows us that if we are to enjoy the full benefits and blessings of wisdom, our hearts must be set in the right direction and on the right person, that is, the person of wisdom Himself.
First Corinthians 1:30 tells us that we “are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.” So for us today, we need to set our hearts and focus on our Lord Jesus. When we embrace Him, we embrace wisdom. When we turn to Him, we receive His wisdom!
How, then can we receive wisdom? From Solomon’s request for a hearing heart, we see that God gives wisdom to the humble. Humility is being able to see that we need God’s wisdom every day. Whatever area of challenge we might be facing, when we ask God for wisdom, He will give us wisdom and perspectives that will set us up for success in that very area!
Wisdom is not just about intellect. While being wise does include being intellectual, God’s wisdom goes beyond natural intelligence. It is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated” (James 3:17 KJV). And this wisdom is what gives us success in all areas of our lives, whether it’s our relationships, parenting, or careers.
Practically, we can tap into God’s wisdom when we meditate on His Word. Christian meditation is not about emptying our minds but filling our minds with God’s Word. We can do this by reading the Bible or listening to anointed sermons.
A practical activity that can help get us started is to read the book of Proverbs. There are 31 chapters, one chapter for each day of the month. Even if we’ve read the same chapter before, because the Word of God is living (Heb. 4:12), we often find that each verse can bring different things to light for us at different times, and just in time for the specific journey and season we are going through.
For parents, this is also a great way to involve our children. We can read the proverb of the day to them and ask them which verse spoke to them and why. This helps to let them have a taste of God’s wisdom at an early age and also cultivates in them a habit of reading the Word.
We can tell that someone has received wisdom when:
a) They cherish the presence of Jesus
b) They are humble and open to wise counsel
a) They cherish the presence of Jesus
The first thing that Solomon did after he received wisdom was to go before the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem (1 Kings 3:15), which is a picture of our Lord Jesus. This shows us that wise men will always seek Jesus! We see this also in Matthew 2:1–12, when three wise men followed a star from the East to Bethlehem in search of baby Jesus.
b) They are humble and open to wise counsel
Even though Solomon was the wisest among all the men during his day (1 Kings 4:29–32), he still surrounded himself with wise counsel (1 Kings 4:1–6). He surrounded himself with priests, recorders, and worshipers—wise counsel he could seek advice from!
For us today, this means surrounding ourselves with our pastors and leaders, people whom God has appointed as shepherds over our lives, and involving them in our endeavors and situations. God has placed our leaders in our lives to guide us, feed us, and correct us because He loves us.
Another group of people we are to involve are our spouses and our family members who love and care for us. Seeking counsel from these 2 groups of people is especially crucial when it comes to making major decisions. Instead of being hasty (Prov. 14:29, Isa. 28:16) or turning to worldly advice, it is important that we involve the God-appointed leaders in our lives, as well as our loved ones, and allow God to speak to us through them.
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) tells us that:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous (Hebrew: tsalach, Greek: euodoo), and then you will have good success (Hebrew: sakal, Greek: suniémi).”
This means that we experience prosperity and good success when we meditate on God’s Word! This prosperity does not only refer to material wealth but prosperity in all areas of our lives, from our health to our souls. We know this from the Greek translation of the word “prosperous,” which is “euodoo.” This is the same word used in 3 John 1:2 (KJV) that says: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper (euodoo) and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (euodoo).”
The word “euodoo” also means “to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey.” So whatever ventures or dreams we might set out to achieve, success happens when we involve the Lord, seek His wisdom every step of the way, and allow Him to prosper (euodoo) what we have set our hands to.
While God does not want us to chase after earthly riches, having good success even in our careers is a result and benefit that we get to experience when we receive God’s wisdom. We see this demonstrated in Joseph’s life (Gen. 39–45).
Joseph was a slave of an Egyptian official named Potiphar. The Bible tells us that Joseph prospered because God was with him—God caused Joseph to be successful in everything that he did and even gave him favor with his superiors (Gen 39:1–6). Not only was Joseph a capable man, but he was also well-built and good-looking. So much so that his master’s wife took notice of him and tried to seduce him. However, having a heart for God, Joseph refused her (Gen. 39:7–8) and was thrown into prison for it.
While Joseph was in prison, he met the chief cupbearer of Pharoah, who shared a strange dream he had with Joseph. To the cupbearer’s surprise, Joseph was able to interpret his dream (Gen. 40:8–19)! So two years later, when Pharoah had a dream no one could interpret, the chief cupbearer told Pharoah about Joseph’s gift.
Joseph was brought from the prison to interpret Pharoah’s dream about a famine that was to come. After Joseph had successfully interpreted the dream, he also advised Pharoah on what he should do. And Pharoah, seeing how God had made known these affairs to Joseph and the wisdom and discernment that God had given Joseph, made Joseph overseer of Egypt (Gen. 41:38–40).
There are a few lessons we can learn from this story. First, Joseph received the gift and wisdom to interpret dreams after he had refused Potiphar’s wife (earlier in Gen. 37, we see that he did not have the ability to interpret his own dreams). Because he had integrity and honor for God, and followed after God’s ways, God gave Joseph wisdom.
Second, we see that God’s wisdom caused Joseph to prosper—in one night, Joseph went from being a prisoner in the dungeon to being the second most powerful man in Egypt after Pharoah!
Let’s examine the following verses:
“And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning (Hebrew: bin, Greek: phronimos) and wise (Hebrew: hakam, Greek: sunetos) as you.”
—Genesis 41:38–40 NKJV
Notice that the words Pharoah used to describe Joseph were “discerning (Hebrew: bin, Greek: phronimos) and wise (Hebrew: hakam, Greek: sunetos).” These are just 2 rivers of God’s multifaceted wisdom.
The Hebrew word for “discerning” is bin, which means to be prudent, understanding, and with a sharpness that allows one to see the true nature of things. This is the same word Solomon used in his prayer when asking God for wisdom to judge God’s people (1 Kings 3:9). On the other hand, the Greek word for “wise” is sunetos, which refers to the ability to put two and two together.
These different types or rivers of God’s wisdom are what will cause us to experience good success in the various areas of our lives. And today, we get to freely receive them when we boldly and humbly ask God for His wisdom!
Does life sometimes leave you feeling at a loss for what to do?
Maybe it has to do with raising your kids, dealing with a situation at work, managing your finances, or even facing a bleak health report. Sometimes life throws curveballs at us that leave us feeling completely out of our depth. And despite reading multiple articles or seeking the advice of experts (who don’t always agree . . . ), we’re still left with this sinking feeling: “I have no idea what to do.”
If that’s you . . . here’s good news for you.
“I don’t know” is exactly where wisdom starts.
That is where the wisest man in history, King Solomon, started out. As a young and inexperienced king, he cried out to the Lord, “I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. . . . Give me an understanding heart” (1 Kings 3:7–9 NLT).
This request was, and still is, exactly what God wanted to hear.
You see, God gives His wisdom to those who don’t know everything. Those who don’t have it all together. Those who realize they need help. When Solomon recognized his need for wisdom and asked God for it, God filled him with incredible discernment that caused him to succeed in all his ways—such that his era as king became known as the golden age of Israel’s history!
Beloved, God wants to pour out His wisdom on you in the same way. What is the area you need wisdom and answers for? James 1:5 tells us, "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
So bring all your not-knowing to the Lord and ask Him for His wisdom. He will surely give it to you!
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2023
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
Sign Up for Latest Sermon Notes UpdatesSubscribe
To complete the subscription process, please click on the confirmation link in the email we just sent you.
You're already in our mailing list. Thank You!