How do you measure success? Is it the amount of money you have in the bank? Is it the friends you have? Is the house you live in? Is it the title after your name? Success means different things to different people and is usually predicated on our upbringing and environment or is defined by those we admire.
To a family who never saw anyone graduate college, the first member to do so is considered a success. When one relation opens their own business where no one has before, that causes a stir in the entire family. Some families even consider it successful when the first male offspring or the first female offspring are born.
Most people define success in terms of achieving goals, acquiring wealth, and having prestige, favor, status, and power. Webster’s definition is: favorable or desired outcome; and the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. The media also plays a part in the definition for many of us when they beef up a story about someone by using the adjectives we all desire like, triumphant, winner, sensation, star, champion and frontrunner. Bottom line is, we all want the title of successful but how many of us count of the cost of success?
We live in an age of “What have you done for me lately?” That means we are constantly expected to perform at peak levels in order to maintain our positions with people, if we are looking to others as the standard of our success. Just look at the heralded athletes. When one is having a bad day or a run of bad plays, they are crucified by the media and booed by their fans. They are required to maintain a higher standard of play than is sometimes humanly possible. Within the family unit, some families’ expectations of A’s forces various students to perform continually in order to maintain their averages and can sometimes put undue pressure on them.
How many of us have an understanding of what the bible calls success? God’s measure involves our obedience and faithfulness to Him, regardless of opposition and personal cost. His measure of success is whether or not we are being loyal to him in our personal relationship with him, in our life, and whether we are accomplishing his goals & purposes for us.
There are those who would consider the Prophet Jeremiah a failure using today’s standards. He spent 40 years serving God and delivering God’s messages to the people when no one listened or responded. He also was poor, experienced great deprivation and was thrown into prison. But in God’s eyes he was a success because he faithfully and courageously proclaimed God’s word and his messages, and Jeremiah was obedient to his calling.
Let’s not forget Jesus. What a failure he would have been today. He had little in material possessions, he did not even own a home. He was rejected by most people, and was even hated by some. Those in authority, the religious leaders of the time, even despised him. He was deserted by his friends when the heat was turned up and was accused and found guilty of things he did not do. He was beaten, spit on, cursed, and mocked while he suffered terribly and died the most horrible kind of death known to man at that time, death on the cross. Yet God said he was well pleased with him and because of his obedience, the redemption and salvation of all of mankind was accomplished through him.
“God’s call is for you to be his loyal friend, to accomplish His purposes and goals for your life” – Oswald Chambers, prominent early Twentieth Century Minister.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.- Joshua 1:8 (Amplified Version)
“He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy, and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor.Proverbs 21:21 (Amplified Version)
It is to our advantage to focus on God’s definitions of success first and man’s second. It’s also important to be part of a local church as a plumb line (American Heritage Dictionary definition: a line from which a weight is suspended to determine verticality or depth; as well as spend time in prayer and reading the bible. These are qualities to help us become the success God has intended us to be which is not dependent on others’ opinions or values.