Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What is the definition of “success?”
The dictionary says success is “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit, a person or thing that achieves desired alms or attains prosperity.
Synonyms includes: favorable outcome, successfulness, triumph, Hollywood ending, prosperity, affluence, wealth, riches, opulence, blockbuster.
Based on the dictionary definition, I consider myself successful when I have a profitable month at work, stay on top of our crazy schedule, and have a little money left at the end of my paycheck. Sometimes at home, success looks like having everyone fed, bathed, and clothed… Basic answer but many times we are so busy that just accomplishing those 3 things seems like a feat! I consider my kids a success when they get good grades, do well in sports, and act responsible. My husband considers a successful hunt one that ends with a trophy buck hanging on the wall.
What if we change the question? Instead of the dictionary definition, what if we ask…
How does God define success?
1 Kings 2:3 says success is to “keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”
Proverbs 3:1-4 says “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
I am not a bible expert, but I have yet to find a verse that says making a lot of money or being famous makes you successful. Don’t get me wrong – who doesn’t want to be good at what they do and make a lot of money doing it? But profit should not be our first priority. Using the talents God has given us to let Him shine through is the foundation of success. If you are a hard-working business man who is great at making money – good for you. But what do you do with that money? Do you hoard it? Buy more stuff? Act stingy? Do you spend every waking moment earning that money? So much that your family life suffers? Or do you use that money for good? Donate your money to a worthy cause? Help those in need? Do you bring glory to God with the use of your money?
What if you are an aspiring actress that goes to Hollywood and makes it on the big screen? Do you use your fame in a positive way that will give glory to God? Are you setting a good example for all the teenagers who look up to you and want to be just like you?
We were made to work – just like Adam in the garden. We all have unique talents & thank God for that!
What if we were all good at the same thing? BORING!! Diversity is essential!
What if there were no gas station attendants or fast food workers? We often think of those as menial, unimportant jobs. But without gas stations, there would be no road trips, no vacations, and no getting back & forth to work. Can you glorify God by working at a gas station? Absolutely. Start with the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s hard to be a Christ follower and not follow this one basic, age-old rule. Treating others with respect is a great way to let God’s love shine through. Even if it’s behind a cash register at a gas station. There is a crossing guard on the corner by my daughter’s school each morning. Every single day he waves at every single car with a smile. Sadly, not everyone waves and smiles back. But he keeps on waving and smiling! If it bothers him, you can’t tell!
ANYONE can give glory to God. Not just “church” people. Glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him.* Why give Him glory? Well, he’s God! He made us. He made everything. Without Him we wouldn’t have ANY success. It all points back to Him and acknowledging this is a great start to being successful.
Step one? Determine which definition of “success” you want to achieve. The worldly definition is tempting. I mean honestly, who doesn’t want a Hollywood ending? But what happens when your life in this world is over and you move on to the next? 100 years on this Earth are a split second in time compared to an eternity in the next life.
When you stand before God, do you think he will ask you…
“How much money did you make?”
“Name the last 3 large accounts you wrote.”
“Provide a copy of your bank statement.”
“Show me your child’s report card.”
“What kind of car did you drive?”
“Square footage of your house?”
“How popular were you in school?”
“Did people think you were pretty?”
-There is a big difference between “wealth” and “success” yet they are synonyms in the dictionary. Interesting!
Oswald Chambers said worship is when you give your best to God. The person doing the most with what they have been given is truly successful.
How well do you use the talents you have received? What is your ratio for talents received and talents used? Have you ever asked yourself that? I look at my oldest daughter and smile because she scores 100% on this! She uses her many God-given talents – especially her musical talent. She has a beautiful voice, sings in the church choir, and her solos & duets bring tears to my eyes every time. My theory? I know this is one of her many God given talents because she does not get nervous or anxious – she just does it! I would have a panic attack if I had to sing in front of everyone at church (not to mention glass would shatter) Singing is NOT one of my God given talents & that is ok! Remember, diversity is important! She plays the clarinet – loves it and does great. (First chair might I add!) She uses her God given abilities to the fullest and that is fun to see. That is success!
All year we have an opportunity to set goals, not just when the New Year is right around the corner. How can you let go of worldly success and focus on Godly success? What does this look like in your life? If you aren’t sure, pray about it. Ask God to show you. Listen for God’s answer. Follow through in action. 3 simple steps: Ask, Listen, Follow through!
Deuteronomy 8:18 “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who give you power to get wealth”