Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. —Micah 6:7-8 NLT

We humans are awfully hard on ourselves. We can define success in the silliest ways—and then fall into a pit of despair when we miss the mark we have created for ourselves. I have a proposal for this brand-new year, 2023. Let’s redefine success … using God’s standard instead of our own. Micah, the prophet, makes it clear to us in his writings, that God is not interested in herculean efforts and grandiose gestures. It’s actually not the extravagant and brilliant that impress Him, and sometimes worldly success and fame are the last things God wants for us. Well then. What does God want?

He wants us to do what is right. He’s told us what that looks like throughout the Bible. We are not to lie or steal. We are not to murder or commit adultery. We are to honor our parents and have no idols. We are to forgive, to bless enemies, to consider others’ needs ahead of our own. We are to run from anger and bitterness and get rid of malice and greed. It’s not about paying for our sins with elaborate sacrifices. It’s about receiving His gift of forgiveness and salvation then doing what is right because we love Him, and we trust that what He tells us to do is good—good for us and good for others.

He asks us to love mercy. Oh, I know. It’s easier to judge. For myself, I love mercy—not getting what I deserve—but I am often quite critical of others who fall short. God wants us to do right, yes. He also wants us to love mercy. That’s a strong word, love. We aren’t told to just kinda like mercy, we are to love mercy. We are to have hearts that want to grant mercy to those who have wounded or offended us. And always, we surely ought to be grateful for the mercy God has given to us.

He invites us to walk humbly with Him. What a gift that is! He wants us to walk with Him. He calls us into a relationship that is close and intimate. We walk together, but He’s in charge. That’s the humble part. We are to walk humbly, leaning on Him, listening to His direction, and staying on His path for us.

All three of these requirements can only happen if we meet with the Lord frequently. We learn to do what is right from the study of His Word. We learn mercy from that same source and from that comes humility and a nestling in with the God who walks with us. It all starts with time spent in His Presence. We need to be with Him before we go out and do things for Him.

So let’s get practical. Here are some real-life examples of redefining success:

  1. You are going to visit relatives who are often hard to read. You’re unsure how to behave in a way that keeps the peace, and, quite frankly, you’d rather not go at all. You’ve defined success as not having conflict with these individals and walking away without drama. The truth is we cannot control other people, so we cannot define success based on what we cannot control. How about considering success in the visit this way: Did you do what was right? Did you hold back thoughtless words regardless of their words? Did you desire mercy for them? Did you hold God’s hand and whisper “help” while you were there? Well then. It was a success. You stayed close to the Father and honored Him in your responses. I often have to remind myself that my goal is to please God. If others are also blessed, that’s great. But my goal is to honor Him.
  2. You’ve worked hard on a project and want it to gain recognition—but it goes unnoticed. Success doesn’t always mean you will be honored in some way. Success is walking humbly with your God in all you do, loving mercy, and doing it right to the best of your ability. Did you please Him in what you created? Then, you succeeded.
  3. You’ve failed. You lost your temper, you fudged the truth, you did not do what is right. Okay then. You can still be a success. Go to God and admit your sin and let His tender mercy and grace wash over you. Then hold His hand once more and walk humbly beside Him. That’s all of us—failing to be perfect but turning toward the One who forgives and cleanses to start again.

Let’s be careful not to define success in worldly ways. God is not interested in our being the biggest, brightest star on the planet. No. God is interested in our little hands clinging to His, in our loving mercy, and in our longing to do right for His sake, knowing forgiveness is offered over and over for the times we fail.

Father God, help me to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You in this new year. Help me to want You more than anything. Help me to value our relationship most. Thank You, Lord, that my success is not based on my achievements but rather on my walk with You. Keep me close to You in 2023. In Jesus’ Name and by His strength and help alone, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Debbie Taylor
    January 2, 2023 2:50 pm

    Thank you.

  • Margaret Fowler
    January 2, 2023 6:10 pm

    Thank Thank you for this message. “Our little hands clinging to His” I like that phrase. We are truly in His hands, and
    need to need to walk humbly at all times. That picture is beautiful.

    • Sharon Gamble
      January 2, 2023 6:40 pm

      I loved that picture as soon as I saw it. It looks like such a welcoming “invitation.” So … on a blog where I am inviting people to redefine success … I thought it fit. Thanks.

  • Thank you for this encouraging and heartfelt message. My desire is to grow closer and deeper into the will of God for my life each day. My fervent desire is to put God’s Word into my heart, to pray more earnestly and to be available for the Holy Spirit to work in my life. May the LORD bless and keep you in His care today and in the upcoming year.

    • Sharon Gamble
      January 2, 2023 7:56 pm

      Thank you for that beautiful blessing, Irene. I love your choices for the year ahead SO much. They fit with our Sweet Selah desire: to take time to know God and love Him more and more – which comes from reading the Word and then talking to the One who speaks through it to us by His Spirit. Love what you said, and may His blessings fall on you as well in 2o23 and beyond.

  • We are so gifted by God to have a relationship with him like no other on earth. Only spending time with him can develop. He has made his wishes clear on how to please him. Thank you Sharon for the reminder.

  • Donna Perkins
    January 4, 2023 3:43 am

    Such a helpful reminder!!!!


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