Let's Talk Success
I was in a vibrant fellowship/Bible study earlier this week that discussed faith. In the process, success came up. Since then, I've thought of what success means, the definition of success, how success is measured, and its foundations. Below is the product of my musing.
Many clubs, organizations, and teachings have mottos about success. I was in a social club once whose motto was "achievement in every field of human endeavors." If we describe achievement as attaining a goal, meeting a pre-set standard, climbing the mountain, or reaching the apex, then achievement in every field could be the height of that field. Growing up as a child, parents often described and measured success academically & professionally. You were expected to earn the highest grade possible, graduate college with a professional degree in a set industry at the height of that discipline (i.e., healthcare as a Doctor, legal as a Lawyer, etc.), and pursue the highest role in the best organization of your said industry (i.e., Chief Medical Officer, or Supreme Court Judge). Our environment defined how we measured success back then, and for many of us, it possibly still does.
However, when you become a Christian, and you've accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, The Bible (in 2 Corinthians 5:17) reminds us that old things have passed away (including our definition and measures of success). Your culture and precepts should change from the old to the new. Accepting Christ as your Savior starts the process of emptying your vessel (Romans 12:2 asks us to be transformed) for The Holy Spirit to fill it with your permission. Here are 4 ways to be emptied for your definition and measure of success to change:
Fellowship: The Bible reminds us not to forsake the assembly of believers (Hebrews 10:25). As stated earlier, the Bible Study I was in earlier this week was refreshing to the Soul and even got me thinking further. Fellowship with the right circle challenges your thinking.
Ask: Matthew 7:7 is well descriptive and encourages us to ask for us to receive (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, etc.), seek for us to find, and knock for the door to be opened unto us. Asking God through The Holy Spirit to empty you and replenish your mind with His ways is one sure way to a Godly definition of success.
Study: The King James version of 2 Timothy 2:15 couldn't have said it any better. It says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." A study of God's Word will illuminate your mind on God's definition and measure of success for you.
Time: Spending time in the presence of God is likely the most significant way to renew your mind as God originally intended it to be (one with God). I wrote a short song once that goes as follows: In His presence is fullness of joy, at His right hands are pleasures evermore, Holy Spirit come and take full control, for in His presence is fullness of joy. Think of it this way, you spent the last 20, 30+ years in the presence of the world, learning from your environment and culture; try spending the rest of your life in His presence (prayer, fasting, meditation to listen).
Notice the acronym above is FAST. Anyway, when you spend some time in God's presence, you realize two things. First, that success (by God's measure) is built over time. It is built like the Chinese bamboo tree that grows its roots for 5+ years before springing up fully above ground in a few weeks. Secondly, you realize that success has deep roots and a firm foundation, like the iceberg with a greater surface area beneath water than above.
What then are the foundations of success or the building blocks to God's measure of your specific success? Some might call it character, and others might call it values, but dare I say the Fruit of The Spirit?
It is not lost on me that fruits are typically above ground; in this case the fruit is the product of your relationship with The Holy Spirit, but the seed to your Success in life.
Side note: I am a student of John Maxwell's teachings. John often shares how he goes into leadership seminars with corporate entities to teach Bible principles using terms they can relate with (i.e., character and values versus Fruit of The Spirit). I digress.
So the Fruit of The Spirit is found in Galatians 5: 22-23. It says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." There, I rest my case.
In summary, your background might have previously defined your measure of success, but when you come to know Christ, you will progressively (over time) be emptied to know God's measure of success for you. It may take the acronym FAST to get to a better understanding of God's measure for you, but be patient with the process (His grace is sufficient). Nonetheless, yearn for The Fruit of The Spirit as foundational elements to achieving God's measure of success. Runaway from earthly measures, they are superficial, like a house built on a poor foundation, but Christ is the Solid rock and a firm foundation (Matthew 7: 24-27) for all our needs.