In our culture being “successful” goes hand in hand with the American Dream. To be successful means our lives were well-lived, we took advantage of all the gifts and opportunities presented to us, and that we accomplished all we were meant to accomplish.
There’s been countless books and proposals written on how one can achieve success. Many of them talk about working hard, having a good attitude, being determined, and overcoming failures. All of which are good and noble qualities that we should all long to practice. However, I believe these traits miss the mark when it comes to assuring we live a “successful” life.
What if I worked as hard as I possibly could, had a great attitude, was determined to achieve my goals, and even overcame a few failures, and still didn’t measure up to what the world’s standard for success is?
What if I tried my best and gave it everything I had to “become somebody” and at the end of my life, my goal of being that “somebody” wasn’t reached?
What if I did all that the books, mentors, and motivational speakers told me to do and it still wasn’t enough?
The fact is success in the world’s eyes is something none of us can obtain completely on our own. We can do everything in our power to be successful and still fall short simply because of bad breaks, unfortunate circumstances, or the possibility that we “don’t know the right people.”
Thankfully, being a true success is contingent on any of these things!
“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”–Jeremiah 9: 23-24
This verse tells us what true success is–knowing God! To know God is greater than having a ton of wisdom, power, or riches. To know God means we can understand and share in the things God delights in–love, justice, and righteousness. To know God means we get to love and be loved with the One who created and is sovereign over all. To know God means we have life eternal in His love and the love of others. And the best part of it all? It’s a free gift to anyone who desires it!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”–Ephesians 2: 8-9
Yes we should work hard, have great attitudes, be determined, and overcome failures, but those things don’t make you a success. All you need to be a success in this life is to do one thing: know God!
If you know God and sincerely follow Him then your life will be well-lived, you’ll take advantage of all the opportunities God brings to you, and you’ll accomplish all you’re meant to accomplish in this life!
By following God, you may get a great job, have a great family, get lots of money, and use those things to honor Him (equaling obvious success). Or you may not have or ever receive ANY of those things, yet you STILL are successful because you know and follow the Sovereign Lord of all!
C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.”
Do you feel like you’re a failure? Not achieving enough? Not accomplishing all the things you want to accomplish in life?
Maybe it’s time to lay down your own expectations of success and find refuge in the fact God loves you, has a plan for you, and wants you to achieve GREAT things in your life–even if it’s not what you expect it to be.
Rather we have much or little, let’s all be thankful that if we simply know God and put our trust in Him, we are all a success despite whatever else happens in our lives!