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A Sweet Smell

J. Davy Crockett III
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The cool, bright spring morning was nearly perfect for an invigorating walk. As I approached a wooded green belt, the delightful sweet smell of honeysuckle in bloom wafted over me. It added greatly to the enjoyment of the morning. How sad that so many people go rushing through life and do not have time to enjoy the sweet smell of the flowers in springtime.

This experience brought to mind a movie from many years ago. The Sweet Smell of Success was a gritty portrayal of life in the entertainment scene in New York City. The film was not critically acclaimed, but the title always intrigued me, since it captures the essence of what is so important to most people. Success! It can be very elusive, and many people never attain success in any part of their lives. It means different things to different people. For some, it is money or financial independence. For others, it is fame or notoriety. Some define it as power and influence. For many, it seems that success is only a vague notion around which they are really never able to wrap their minds.

But what is success, really? How would you define or describe “success”? Is it a destination or is it a journey? How can one know? Where does one look for the answers? At Tomorrow’s World, we start with the Bible to find the answers to these important life questions.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses recorded God’s instructions that set the pattern for individual and national peace, prosperity and success. He began by explaining that “if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully His commandments which I command you today, the Lord will set you high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1). The next 13 verses go into detail about God’s blessings—which include prosperous agriculture, vibrant cities, healthy offspring, and abundant flocks and herds. His promises included protection from and victory over national enemies. In exchange for obedience to His commands and living by their faith in Him, God’s people were promised peace and plenty. Sadly, they did not do this for any prolonged period of time, so the potential success was never fully realized.

Along with these wonderful promises came a stern warning for those who ignore God’s instruction. After describing so many great blessings, God lists in detail the miserable results of disobeying His benevolent laws. He describes awful conditions involving every facet of life. Disobedience to God’s wonderful ways would bring failure (or, in biblical terms, “curses”) with consequences such as poverty, disease, hunger, and oppression by other nations. Around our world today, we see many countries—increasingly including the developed “first world” nations—experiencing these conditions.

God inspired the prophet Isaiah to describe the results of disobedience to God this way; “And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench” (Isaiah 3:24). The Apostle Paul was inspired to remind us: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Paul understood that the ultimate success is to receive eternal life in God’s Kingdom, and the ultimate failure is to die eternally in rejection of God’s great gifts.

So, what will it be for you—the sweet smell of success, or the stench of failure? Watch our encouraging Tomorrow’s World telecast, “Keys for Christian Success.” Our powerful booklet Your Ultimate Destiny will inspire and challenge you to ensure your success by bringing your life into harmony with the immutable laws of God. You can read it online or order a printed copy, absolutely free and without obligation. Do it without delay!

  Originally Published: 17th April 2012