Everyone wants to win. Some of us more than others but part of being human is a desire for success. A desire to win. A desire to accomplish a goal. When my husband has a meeting with his advisor he has 2 main reactions. If the meeting was a success he comes home excited and hopeful. If the meeting was less than he wanted he come home worried, anxious and down. So much of his out look on life and his emotional experienced is tied to how successful he is. This is true of most people.
Is it wrong to want to succeed? Is it wrong to have the desire for success? My personal opinion is that these desires are written into our DNA on purpose. The problem we face is not the desire for success rather that how we define success and how God defines success are often very different.
We often need to redefine success in our lives so that it is in line with God’s view. The Bible is full of scriptures that give us insight into how God views success. Here is what most resonated in my heart.
1. We are successful when we are Fulfilling our God given purpose, this can change throughout our life. How do we know what this is? Well prayer, time with God, Christian community and reading God’s word are a good place to start if you do not know. It is often through becoming our new selves in Christ that God reveals our God given purpose and will equip us with the tools to accomplish the tasks he sets before us.
2. We are living a life of love of God, self and neighbor. This is a hard task. You can do all the wonders in the world in Jesus’s name but if you are not loving then you have nothing.
3. We are living a life of worship to God. I tend to have a very broad definition of what worship means. Ultimately we should aspire for our entire life, being, existence to be an act of worship to our God. If you are struggling in this area ask Jesus to give you a heart of worship, keeping asking, he won’t disappoint.
Obviously this is a simplified list. But most things could be put into one of those 3 categories. For my husband and I our God given purpose is kind of in the process of being redefined by God. As I give up a career to work towards something else entirely I am in the process of discovering my purpose. My husband on the other hand feels like his purpose is to provide for our household in terms of physical needs and provide me safety to explore God and my purpose in this time. His purpose is also to share the good news of Christ with students and colleagues.
Once we have redefined what success means in God’s eyes as opposed to our own we come to the question of how God? How do we succeed. The world teaches us that is is hard work, talent, your own work ethic or as my father likes to say “you can do anything you set your mind to.” This is just NOT true.
So how do we succeed? We abide in Christ, we practice submission to Christ, we work on our obedience to Jesus, and most of all we cultivate a heart of willingness.
The issue we face is not a desire for success but how we define success and how we believe we obtain success. So to those who struggle with understanding God’s view of success and his plan for you, may he give you eyes to see his view. And to all may we renew our mind daily so that we are set on God and not this world. Amen