At the first of the year we often focus on changes for the better, we call them resolutions. It’s interesting how we establish milestones and goals in relation to our idea of success, or in hitting the mark – do you find yourself measuring success in a worldly way, or as God does? Did you even realize there is a difference? Interesting question that I found myself marinating in the past couple of days. The answers for me became an enlightenment that I can apply every day, not just with resolutions and what not. We can apply the biblical definition of success in pursuing peace, attaining goals or resolutions, getting fit, or in any other aspect of life.
The world defines success in terms of what a person possesses, controls or accomplishes. Some dictionaries even list achieving fame or prosperity as facets of being successful. At the center of our desire to define our success in the world today is comparison to other people – where we live, vacation, shop, dine and the like. Don’t take me wrong, I like my stuff and have been to some pretty incredible places, but wisdom and perspective tells me that none of that really defines me, or my success.
God defines success in terms of faithful obedience to His will. Success in a biblical perspective doesn’t focus on possessions, or attaining higher social status. God’s measure is in answering the question, “Were you faithful to my ways?” How do we know His ways, His will, or His calling for us individually? (Click the links if you’re looking for more info on that part)
A biblical sense of success is accomplished through controlling ambition. This may be most difficult in our world today as we tend to measure our own success in comparison to others. We’re all unique, with different gifts and talents and should only compare ourselves to Jesus.
King David is an excellent example of someone from the Bible who knew success. One of my favorite people from the Bible, David struggled personally with sin and wrongdoing, just like we do. He became very successful and famous as the leader of Israel.
“David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:12
Why was David chosen by God? Because God knew his heart. David was ambitious AND followed God’s will. He kept a close relationship with God, knowing that God alone established him as a leader. He respected that what he had and who he had become came from the Lord.
Success can also tend to give us pride, and the thought that we don’t need God and can achieve all on our own. Unfortunately, that leads to separation from God and to our own demise in the long run.
One of my favorite acronyms related to goals at work or in life is defining them as SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Can God goals be SMART? Absolutely, I don’t think there is an issue there. It comes down to how we measure and define success, recognition and attributing that it all comes from our Heavenly Father, and that it is accomplished with humility and integrity.
True success doesn’t compromise integrity, it defines our character, in effect, who we are when no one is looking, and righteousness.(Click To Tweet)
Something to think about as we move into the new year…
The Q: What comes to mind when you think of success?
Image courtesy of faceless econe on flickr.com
Chris, you’ve addressed a theme that’s been on my mind too. As a poet and writer, I’ve often thought of success by the numbers of books, poems, and other manuscripts placed, but as a Christian I’m finally catching on to the fact that dwelling in God’s presence makes a day successful – and blessed! Thank you. I’m glad you’re part of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, so I could see this. Since other members will welcome this word too, I’ll highlight the post on the blog – http://christianpoetsandwriters.blogspot.com. God bless
Thank you so much Mary, it’s great to connect! Love the Facebook group, it’s wonderful to be able to connect with so many other followers of Jesus!!
I used to define success as completion of (fill in the blank).
But after having struggled to start and continue writing this latest Bible study series, I now define success as obedience. So I must definitely agree with your post today! It’s about doing the Father’s will.
I was wondering how you might chime in on this one Carol, knowing you are such a great planner and goal setter. I guess you’re finding peace like me more and more so through obedience 🙂