Friday, June 6, 2008

Success... What is it ?

The world struggles to define “success” apart from monetary wealth. Even if it recognizes the skill or talent of a man - be he an artist or musician or craftsman - his success is measured in terms of related financial returns.

Success in the Eternal Kingdom is measured by a very different rule than success in the Earthly Kingdom.

Because the Eternal Kingdom and the Earthly Kingdom share a common language , how easily the Earthly meaning of a word is transferred to take on the same meaning in the Eternal Kingdom.

Sometimes it is a good thing to take an about turn, and go back to square one! Clear the mind’s table and take a fresh look at a word and its meaning !
The word to be examined ?

What DOES God say about success? How does it look when its meaning is lifted directly off the pages of God’s written Word?

Taking the original Hebrew and Greek word meanings for the words that are translated into our English scripture as synonyms for the word SUCCESS , I paraphrased them - thereby finding a way to clarify my understanding of the word in God’s terms. ( I have included Strong's ref. numbers in brackets)

According to God………

* Success cannot be attained without effort and the effort given must be powered by a will to reach the desired end – which is ‘to do rightly’. No thought of failure can be entertained.

* Success shines with the beauty, the joy, the very sweetness of whole-hearted righteousness. (H319)

* Success defines the borders of possessing an ordered place, a place gained by the right of inheritance. (H3423)

* Success demands a high standard. It is found on a highway paved with righteousness itself.

* Success is a worthy goal- obtain it, get it, establish it, make it solid and proclaim it publicly when you attain it ! (H6329, 6965)

* Success is measured by wisdom – the getting of it, the teaching of it, the learning of it. Having an understanding of God’s Word that works itself into the lived-out life , its behaviour and speech and deeds.

* Success evidences itself in a life-style of peace, of a happy, cheerful countenance born out of a place of security and safety.

* Success does also encompass financial blessings, but as a by-product only. Along the life-journey in pursuit of success there may be ‘help along the way’, in the form of monetary blessings to enable you to serve others.

* In the pursuit of success there is the temptation to turn aside – reaching for what has the appearance of substance…but alas the end result will be vanity… empty of all expected gain!

* In the pursuit of true success there is God’s promise to spur the traveller on !! Victory ! The goal reached! Success achieved ! Reward waiting !!

Do the following two verses not clearly reflect God's intended path for us to follow to find 'success' ?
Mat 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Jos 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “

I think I always knew what I discovered in the above study, but it is really helpful to go over even familiar territory. Re-examining something usually reveals something previously overlooked.
I love how God is clear on what He deems ‘success’ to be. It is seeking righteousness and doing rightly according to His ways.

I really loved this part of ‘success’ ….. Success shines with the beauty, the joy, the very sweetness of whole-hearted righteousness.

I was also surprised by the fact that in God’s definition of ‘success’ , material wealth was a ‘by product’ of the pursuit of success. Isn’t that just like Satan to take what God intended as a by product and make it the main focus ?

Viewing ‘success’ through God’s eyes… the pursuit and attainment of righteousness….. puts us all on a level playing field. We are all in the same starting line, with the same opportunities and abilities to reach our goal of being successful and reaping the eternal rewards that we all desire, along with the praise of God !

Maybe the conclusion of my study is aptly summarized by Paul in II Cor. 10:17 “But He who glories, let him glory in the Lord”.
This is a quote from my favourite passage in Jer. 9:23,24

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in this migh, nor let the rich man glory in his riches, but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth, For in these I delight, says the Lord.”


Anonymous said...

You are so right! Success for a follower of Christ has nothing to do with university degrees, careers, money, houses, cars.......a life well lived has to do with loving people and loving God. "Seeking righteousness and doing rightly", as you said. Excellent reminder!

Strider said...

Great post and a hearty "Amen" to it. 11 years ago as my mom lay on her "death bed" with my sisters and I around her, she said, "I wish I had had more children." Isn't that the way it is? The things we deemed important is, in the end, not the things we muse and contemplate. It is truly about God. Blessings for a great weekend.

Lovella ♥ said...

Julie .. this is such a timely post for graduation season. It seems that there is much priority placed on achievments according to the world. . Yes, those achievments are necessary for us to become all that God wants us to be but. . .oh. . the school of Higher learning has much more to teach.