The #1 Secret to Godly Success


Today could turn out to be one of the most momentous days of my life. It could also turn out to be a huge disappointment. And the kicker? I won’t know which it is for at least a couple months.

Today I read over my proposal for The Keeper’s Crown one last time, crossed the border to the States, bought an international stamp for my SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope for those not “in the know”), sealed that big bubble envelope, and sent it winging its way south. On Thursday that same envelope, now travel-worn, should land on the desk of one of the foremost agents in the Christian publishing industry. And Lord willing, at some point over the next two months, he’ll excavate down through his slush pile to my submission, slit open the envelope, and begin to read.

Will he love it or hate it?

Will he think my plotline has traction and my writing sings?

Will he want to read the rest of my book? Or will he drop my pages in the shredder and reach for my SASE to send me his regrets?

If he does read the rest of the manuscript, will he agree to represent it?

And if I cross that hurdle, will my book end up in the hands of an editor who will champion it?

And if it is published, will it become a bestseller, or will it languish on the bargain rack?

How many question marks is that?

Point is, there are no certainties in a writing career.

But no. I’m wrong.

One thing is certain, and it’s what the Lord reminded me of as I stood in my kitchen a few hours ago, with my submission in hand and tension twisting in my guts.

I’m writing because He told me to.

“And isn’t that what your book is all about?” I could almost hear Jesus ask the gentle question. “Isn’t it about the fact that I don’t measure success the way the world measures it?”

I wrote The Keeper’s Crown as my way of wrestling with the question of true success. The last two years of delving into Paul’s later life and martyrdom have informed and transformed my view of success. I’ve become convinced that in God’s eyes, success isn’t measured in dollars and cents, how high you climb the religous or secular ladder, or whether you get a publishing contract or not. At the risk of being denounced for heresy, I dare say God doesn’t even measure success by how big your church is or how many converts you make.

In God’s eyes, success isn’t measured in dollars and cents, how high you climb the religous or secular ladder, or whether you get a publishing contract or not.

What if Ananias of Damascus only made one convert, but that convert was Saul of Tarsus?

Paul didn’t win Nero to Christ, but he still won a crown. He discovered the #1 secret for godly success. He simply did what God called him to do. He preached the Gospel to “the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”

By the world’s standards, Paul died a failure. He fell from wealth and privilege to end up in a rough-hewn hole that used to be a cistern, abandoned by everyone but his faithful physician Luke. But sitting in that dank dungeon before he was dragged out to be beheaded, he penned these immortal words: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

I write because God called me to write. No matter what happens from there, I am a success.

And if you follow His calling, you are too.

PS: (And friend, two months from now if you see me in tears, clutching a crumpled rejection letter, please refer me back to this post. Thanks!) 🙂

Would you care to share a time in your life where God’s version of success defied the world’s norm? I’d love to hear about it!

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4 thoughts on “The #1 Secret to Godly Success

  1. My family and I have many stories that defy the world’s ideas and they all center around obeying God. Jesus was certainly rejected, but His is the ultimate success story! Good reviews, bad reviews, it’s all about what He thinks that really matters. Sounds to me like you’re already a success, you’re pleasing God and walking by faith. I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything! The ups and downs make the roller coaster ride all the more exciting.

  2. Awesome words, brother. You are right about how the Lord views success. God’s will be done regarding your book. I look forward to reading The Keeper’s Crown.

  3. This post encouraged my heart at a deep level! I’ve been writing for one year…still a baby writer with a long journey ahead. But God! “He who has called us will be faithful to complete it.” I love your writing style and am curious about your published works. Signing on to follow your journey, and praying you have marvelous success.

  4. You finished what you felt called to do, woo hoo! I was blessed to beta read The Keeper’s Crown and was encouraged to press on through my journey of podt concussion and writing! Thankyou for your example Nate.

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