15 thoughts on “What’s Your Definition of Success?

  1. Each Christian, each family and each church must understand that, with or without us, God is moving. He is accomplishing His Kingdom program. He is using the time, energy, skill, gifts, passions and material resources of His disciples all over this globe to touch and change lives for eternity.

    The question is not whether God is going somewhere. The question is whether we are choosing to get on board. To the extent I am on board…that is success.

  2. To quote an old Missions speaker..”Success is obedience to revealed will of God regardless of outcome or circumstances.”

    • This sounds a lot like a quote I remember from Dr John Hunter, who used to be a school teacher, and then was a speaker and teacher linked to the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers in the UK. The version I recall was this: “Success is obedience to the known revealed will of God regardless of the circumstances.”
      Phil 9 August 2013

  3. Very good question. Success is the bitch goddess. If success is a goal, failure is its constant companion. Even the best baseball players fail 7 out of 10 times. Devon Franklin has just published an entertaining and informative book about succes in one of the most secular industries in American, Hollywood filmaking. The book is entitled Produced by Faith, and Devon is a VP of production in Sony Studios, and he is a Christian of the 7th Day Adventist persuasion. He helped bring the current film “Jumping the Broom” to summer release. He defines success not as accumulation of money or fame, but as validation of onself, belief in one’s gifts and fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives by blessing others. I think this is too close to the Prosperity Gospel theology. It doesn’t take note of the presence of sin and failure even in our successes. Jesus was a massive failure by any worldly standards. Paul, at the end of his life, wrote that he was alone and abandoned at his trial (2 Tim 4:16), and many of his churches followed false teachers.
    I think success is the discernment to know what virtue God desires in our particular calling, the wisdom not to confuse that virtue with God, the love of that virtue above all lesser goods, and the faith that God will establish our work in the lives of others for his glory. Success is different for different gifts: compassion for medicine, truth for science, justice for business and law, beauty for art and sport, etc. None of these goods are God, however. Even ministry can be made into an idol. Each virtue must be loved for its own sake, not for the prestige, money or self respect it gives us. The virtue itself will oulast any benefit derived from serving it. A virtue is only good as long as it is loved for its own sake. And the only way to keep virtue in its proper place is to see it as a gift from God. Finally, faith is required to make virtue effective. Moses writes in Ps 90: “May your deeds be made known to your servants, may their sons see your majesty. May the blessing of the LORD be upon us. Establish the work of our hands, yes make them successful.” Success is not only a matter work, but also its effect. Real success has eternal results. Our lives are temporal. God must therefore perpetuate those virtues in others. The same thought stands behind Paul’s injuction that there are different gifts, different ministries and different results. The difference between work and results is important because even the best work will not always lead to results. In the end, we must trust God for the results, and pray that his work is manifest in and through our work. That is the ultimate success.

  4. Success is a tough word to define, so thank you all for your comments, from Bruce’s nuanced thoughts to the more basic one-liners.

    Grappling with what success is all about requires a discerning approach to our culture’s definition of this word. We must peel back the layers in order to get at something more basic and less tied to ourselves.

    I would say that success for me is faithfulness to God’s will and way, with Jesus being seen ever more clearly in my life, in grand and tiny ways.

  5. Sucess is walking in humility and integretity. Success begins with the fear of the Lord and seeking God’s wisdom. Then listening and obeying. All extremely difficult with all the worldly distraction but by God’s grace, steadfast love and His longsuffering with us we can walk into success with Him. Even in our failures God brings success.

    The Amphified Bible says: “Roll your works upon the Lord, commit and trust them wholely to Him and He will cause your thoughts to be agreeable with His will, and so shall your plans be established and succede.”

    Roger S. Smith

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