Principles of Success 08: Be a Looker for the Good

The Bereans were called noble by Paul because they checked out what he preached against Scripture. I agree with that, everything we say should be checked out against Scripture. But the wording in Acts is very specific. Acts 17.11 says “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character… because they examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”. Notice they did not examine the Scriptures to see if these things were not so. Their outlook was positive, they were looking for the good in what Paul preached, not the bad. They were not heresy hunters, they were truth hunters.

To succeed in life, you must become a truth hunter. Paul later told the Thessalonicans to test everything, and to hold onto the good. Do not hold onto the evil, but hold onto the good. Forgive the evil and hold on to the good.

A few years ago a man came to me after I had preached. Now there is a certain walk every preacher learns to recognize, it is called the “I am going to sort out your doctrine right now” walk. And this man was gunning for me. He got to me and said “You said a thing today that I did not agree with”. I said “That’s awesome news to me” which surprised him. I continued “I have said let’s say 100 things in my sermon today, which means we are 99% in agreement, that’s such a high percentage, that rarely happens with anyone, we are like brothers, like twins, let’s hug” and I hugged him, which took all the wind out of his sails.

Of course – if you look – you are going to find that one thing you disagree with in a sermon, a preacher, a church, a business, a song, a wedding, a funeral, a child, a boss, an employee. But if you instead look for the good – the world will be a better place. If you are constantly sowing “looking for the good”, you will find people look for the good in you. That’s worth it alone, but the other side of this is you start to find the good in others. And then you find some real treasure, treasure you need to complete your mission in life.

God has hidden your success in other people, so you better change your focus when you look at them. God gave the Bereans the message of salvation for Paul, it’s a good thing they looked beyond him and found the treasure. Selah.

Principles of Success 07: Dominate Before You Are Dominated

You were created to have dominion, that is how God made man. The problem with life is if the individual created to have dominion over a situation does not take that dominion, does not take charge, someone else will take it illegitimately. If you do not take charge of your body, sickness will. If you do not take charge of your finances, poverty will. As a pastor, if you do not take charge of your church, some carnal upstart will.

Dominion over the works of the devil – demonic attack, sickness, poverty, temptations to sin is exercised through three things – what we think and what we say and what we do. If sickness attacks your body, start to think about God’s healing promises, start to think about how well you are, start to think victory. Then start to speak it, then act healed – get up and do what a healthy person would do. It is really that simple.

Dominion over people is more complicated. We are not ever given the ability to command another person. For example, when Paul wanted the Romans to think better thoughts, even a man with the authority, spiritual rank and anointing of Paul said “I beseech thee, brethren” which is King James English for “I’m begging you”. Even the best preachers can only beg people to think right and live right.

But we are given spheres of authority that we need to control. For example, I am the lead pastor of Tree of Life Church in Dagenham. God birthed that church on earth through me, named me the pastor and gave me the dominion over it. If that church failed, it’s on me – I will be accountable before Jesus – what happened to the church I gave you is a question that will be asked of me. So if Brother Bigmouth turns up on Sunday and starts yelling at me when I am preaching, or yelling in tongues trying to prophesy over me, and I let him, then I am failing as a pastor to feed my people. I cannot sit there and let someone else stop me doing what God has called me to do in the area I have been given authority. So I will stop them, and if necessary have them removed from the church. But I cannot control that person, I can only control the meeting. If they start another church across the road, that is on them, I can then only love them. My ability to stop them intruding stops at the limit of my God-given leadership. It’s the same if you are the boss of a company, or the dad in a house. I hope this makes sense to you, as it is vital. You must take control or it will control you. Many people have tried to usurp leadership in Tree of Life, and I have had to fight, and you are no different if God has given you something. The church is not a democracy, it is not a popularity contest – it is the very kingdom of God and the king must be the one who makes the decisions not us.

I know our democratic Western mind does not like this, but it is the truth, we are in the kingdom of God and if King Jesus has given you a mountain to take, you do not concede it to anyone else no matter who they are, even if they tell you “thus saith the Lord”, you do not concede. I had one minister try desperately to control Tree of Life, even asking for my acounts so he could tell me how to spend the money. I turned up at a conference he was speaking at with a T-shirt that said “I DO NOT WORK FOR YOU, I WORK FOR JESUS” (I had it specially made). You will not wrest from my hands what I know I will stand before Jesus and answer for.

But then when someone leaves Tree of Life, I have no more responsibility for them any more. Their next pastor will be the one standing before God – did you help that person, because we cannot control people, we can only control what God has given us to build and do. We need to be like policemen and realize that away from our turf, we have no authority here. As much as I love Die Hard, there is no place for John McLean in the kingdom of God!

Now this is the choice that some of you must face, and how you choose will determine the level of your success. To be part of something bigger than yourself and connect to that something, you must yield to the God-given authority of that place. For example, if you come to Tree of Life you will have to yield to the authority of the local pastor, and then myself You will therefore at times not be able to always do things your way or get what you want. You will not be able to decide exactly how things are done, you will have to endure things done my way, not your way. But the reward for that, it will always be greater that the cost. If it is genuinely costing you more to be in a particular church or job than it rewards you, then leave and find a better church – but first check it isn’t your rebellious heart rather than a genuine problem. Selah.

Principles of Success 06: See It Right

Whenever something happens, whenever something around you is visible, is audible, can be sensed, whether we are successful or not depends on how we frame what we see.

How we frame what we see is one of the most important keys to living the life of Christ, the life of abundance, the life of faith. How you perceive things matters. If you change your perception you change your whole life, I mean absolutely everything changes when you change how you see things. When you change the way you look at something, then what you look at then changes. That is how powerful perception is.

What you have done with your day today depends entirely on your perception of things. How creative you have been today depends entirely on your perception of things. Whether you win or lose depends entirely on your perception of things. How effective you have been today depends on how you perceive things. The better I perceive things, the more successful I become, the more fruitful I become. The more I produce. It all depends on how I see things.

And there is no limit to how much your perception can grow and increase. You can see things for higher and higher points of view until that we see things the way God does and get to a place we can bring light to an entire planet of darkness.

If you start to deliberately frame what you see with God’s Word and God’s love and God’s goodness and His abundance, then the change in your life will be immense. I mean more than you can ask or imagine. And you will never change back – and you will keep getting better and more fruitful. This is so important. You have to see things from a heavenly point of view.

One of the most important places to start with how you see yourself. So many people draw their self-worth from the opinion of others, from how good we are at certain things, or what is going on in our lives. We have to stop worshipping the opinions of others, start to worship God and draw our sense of self-worth from Jesus. You need to draw your sense of who you are – you need to perceive your identity the way Jesus perceives your identity – you need to take the time to read, study, and hear the way Jesus perceives you and let all the other opinions that have gathered in your heart and mind for your entire life be uprooted and thrown into the sea.

Jesus is speaking to you right now about who you are. His life and love are affirming you as a champion, as the head and not the tail, as more than a conqueror, as a king and as a priest. You are wise beyond your wildest dreams, you are as righteous as Jesus, you have the power to solve every problem in your life and that power is in your spirit right now. Stop knowing yourself after the flesh and start to perceive who you really our.

The spirit world is a higher world than the soul world, and that is a higher world than the physical world. If you limit your perceptions to the physical and soul world, you are not perceiving yourself properly, you are limiting your identity to the lower levels of who you are. What should happen is you should perceive who you are in the spirit, that then changes your soul – your thoughts and emotions, then that changes your physical realm.

You need to change how you see things. Most people let results shape their thinking, our calling is to let the spirit shape our thinking and let our thinking shape our results. We have to relate to the spiritual world.

Imagine I had three chairs. Likein the three bears cottage that Goldilocks invaded. The middle chairs is not big or small, it’s the middle chair. But if I only had the big chair and middle chair, you would call it the small chair. If all I had was the small chair and the middle chair, you would call the same chair the big chair. It’s all about perspective.

Some people call £1000 the big chair, others see it as the small chair. The reality is that compared to the power of the Spirit £1000 is nothing, in fact a million is nothing. When you start to see how small money is, you will tithe, you will be a generous giver, you will never worry about money for a split second again, it’s tiny compared to the bigness of your spirit. If God tells you to give a ridiculous amount, you will just go – hey, that’s ridiculously small compared to what I have in my spirit.

When you start to compare things to the right things the way God does, then you will find that your life will go so much better and you will be so much happier. You need to pray and ask God to help you change how you perceive things.

Selah.