The world’s definition of success is to be wealthy, popular and influential, even if this is obtained at the expense of personal integrity and character, yet Solomon stated that earthly success was meaningless (Eccl 2:4-11). Seeming success does not necessary indicate God’s approval of our actions – we need His perspective, not our warped view or opinion (Dan 4:30-32; Rev 3:17). Jesus said the rich fool mistook personal accomplishment as a success, rather than seeing the bigger picture, where the abundance of possessions is not the criteria (Lk 12:15-21).

By contrast, success in God’s eyes is achieved through the right relationships and reaching the right destiny. To succeed in the Kingdom of God requires humility and obedience to our creator, not material goods or status. It is the outcome of loving Him, humbly obeying His Word, living in righteousness and love, and allowing the Holy Spirit to

Do we desire to be successful in man’s or God’s eyes?

accomplish in and through us the divine will (1 Kgs 2:3; Mic 6:8; Lk 1:38, 6:46). Repeatedly in the OT as long as the various kings sought the Lord, God gave success, but independence and pride led to national downfall.

These words of Jesus hold the key to being successful in the Christian life: “He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing” for success in the spiritual sense of fruitfulness can only come as we remain in vital relationship with God (Jn 15:4,5). He continues, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (Jn 15:7). A true disciples of Christ, who abides in Him, and in whom His word abides, will not ask anything but what is in harmony with the will of God (1 Jn 5:14,15). It will not be for temporal things, such as riches, honours, profits, pleasures, but of a spiritual, nature.

Meditation on Scripture is a foundation for success in the Bible (Josh 1:7,8; Ps 1:1-3, 119:9,11,97-100,165; Rom 10:17; 2 Tim 3:15). Real success, in the framework of eternity, is not determined by what we are or have done, but rather by what we can be and could have done. It is essential to read and study God’s Word, putting its teachings into practice, then our prayers will be effective as we obey and do what pleases Him (Jas 1:22, 5:16; 1 Jn 3:22). The Bible's instruction is “Commit your plans to God and they will succeed” resulting in numerous blessings (Deut 28:1-14; Prov 16:3). Even our failure can be turned to success when Jesus is 'in our boat' (Lk 5:3-11).

As nothing can succeed against God, or without Him, be in tune to His voice, and do what Jesus says. “If this activity is of human origin it will fail, but if it is of God nothing will be able to stop it, and you will be fighting against God” (Prov 21:30; Act 5:38,39). Maintain a positive optimistic confession – “I can do all things through Christ” – by being like Caleb who wouldn’t let the problems and unbelief of others rob him of what he believed God had put into his heart and was therefore achievable (Num 13:30, 14:30; Josh 14:6-14; Phil 4:13). The ‘giants’ that stand in the way are no match for faith and commitment, as David proved, but it is essential to continue to rely humbly on God for His enabling ability (Deut 8:17,18; Jdg 7:2; 1 Sam 17:45-50; 2 Chr 26:5,16).  

Quitters don’t win, while winners don’t quit as they are not derailed by the trials and challenges of life, instead seeing them as stepping-stones to maturity, not as obstacles preventing advancement, for success involves commonsense coupled with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence.

Have a goal to aim at, something to plan and work towards, with obstacles and discouragement overcome by holding fast with faith, endurance and patience. Know what God wants you want to achieve and let nothing stop you from reaching it with His help and your own integrity. Conscientiously perform the required tasks, even the less than enjoyable ones, knowing they are part of the overall package. Even if you don’t reach the heights you dream of, you will be at a much higher level than if you never ventured forth and all who faithfully serve God, even with limited results, will be winners in the final analysis (1 Cor 9:24-27; Phil 3:14).

Successful people overcome failure, setbacks and obstacles, using the pain of failure to spur growth and maybe even a new approach, focusing on what they can fix or influence by drawing on the competencies of others, enlisting them on their team, instead of complaining or giving up.  

When success is achieved – through ability, diligence and hard work – there is the danger of basking in the accolades of others, besides wrongly presuming we have what it takes to make it on our own. Such proud and arrogant attitudes are likely to result in humiliation, for pride goes before a

Don’t sell out to short-term success over long-term security

fall (Prov 16:8; 1 Cor 10:12). God Almighty declared, “Not by might nor by power [human effort], but by my Spirit” (Zech 4:6). Although we are to actively and persistently apply ourselves with lots of hard work, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain” (Ps 127:1). It is vital to co-operate in what He is doing, so we don’t strive ‘in the flesh’ or “gain the whole world and lose our own soul in hell” (Mt 16:26). Don’t let complacency creep in when you think you have mastered something or reached a goal – there are always higher ‘mountains to climb’, and higher levels of proficiency to attain, so walk in humility.

Commit yourself and all your affairs into God's hands and focus on laying up treasure in heaven (Ps 37:5; Mt 6:19-21; Jas 4:15).

See also: ability, accomplishment, achievement, bless/blessed, challenge, commitment, effort, failure, focus, goals, meditate/meditation, persevere, perspective, positive mental attitude, prosper/prosperity, trials, victory, wealth.