Defining Success

I had an interesting experience a while ago back at home, my sister had brought two of her kids to stay with us for a while, one of those days the younger one aged 3 had been sent to the room to have his siesta (he had other plans), after minutes of tossing and turning, peeping and popping, I entered the room to see him on the bed with a pretentious sleeping pose, so I asked him ‘Brian, are you sleeping?’, without any delay still on his sleep pose he replied ‘Yes!’

(obviously, I found it just a little hard to believe him). Part of the reason his quick thinking did not work out so well was the fact he didn’t really know the definition of ‘sleeping’, if he did he might have known what it involved (and more precisely what it doesn’t involve).

One of the most important things a person of purpose must do at some point is define to himself/herself what success is! After all what’s the need of running fast if you’re on the wrong road? you’ll only miss your way twice as fast.

People who write computer programs know especially well what it means to define something; they’ll probably tell you a defined item is something with clearly known boundaries outside which it doesn’t work. You need to get a working definition like that for success, why? Because if you don’t know where your going, you wont know when you get there, you wont know how far or close you are, like it’s been said ‘to the man going anywhere any road will lead him there’ but you know you’re not going anywhere, you’re going somewhere and it’s a specific road that will get you there.

The reason you must define success, is because your not defining it doesn’t mean you wont have one, your not defining it would mean you are knowingly or unknowingly living with someone else’s definition and for a christian who is in the world but not of the world, that’s just not an option. For example, one of the definitions of success in the Advanced English Dictionary (AED) is ‘a state of prosperity or fame’, nothing wrong with being famous, nothing wrong with being financially prosperous but is that the aim of Christianity? I think not, that’s the pop culture we see all around, we however are called to something much higher. A better definition for success which gives the undertone of this writing also from the AED is ‘an event that accomplishes it’s intended purpose’, much better, in other words it doesn’t matter what other things an event accomplishes if it doesn’t accomplish it’s intended purpose, we cant really call it successful.

Sitting down to define success, demands you have a reference for it, for us as Christians that’s the will of God found in the Word of God, you must get your definition of success from God’s Word. That’s why your definition of success will not involve acquiring many material goods to lavish yourself, it wont be making a name for yourself fueled by selfish ambition or being greater than your neighbor or colleague, Victory is being a better you today than you were yesterday.

Your life will become all of a sudden streamlined to what is and whats not important based on this definition, you’ll begin to prioritize certain lifestyles, words and actions that draw you to the success you have defined.

The summary of this short write up is this, if you’ve never stopped and defined for yourself what success is, you should. You should sit down, in the light of God’s Word and God’s values and pen down what constitutes of success in your life, bearing in mind that success is not a point to attain but a process that begins and keeps on being.

Realize that as a believer in the finished works of Christ, you’re not an unsuccessful person trying to become successful, you’re the already successful making manifest that success in every area of your life, like the Apostle Paul said ‘beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…

Truly, success for each of us is like purpose for each of us, we all share the same general purpose (being made more in heart and character after the image of Christ, shinning the Light of Christ in our individual worlds etc.) but we also have distinct purposes and assignments, some are called to be prophets, some pastors, some teachers, some Engineers, some Biologists, some Pharmacists, some political leaders, some homemakers, some missionaries, etc. all doing this by the power of Christ in them. So you see ‘Success’ for the missionary may be reflected by how many souls he leads directly to the kingdom, while success for the businessman may be how much money he pumps to the kingdom work, success for the biologist may involve finding a suitable agent that disrupts the spread of cancerous cells in a body while success for the homemaker may involve building godliness and a strong sense of purpose into her children. When you have a sense of purpose it limits your scope of success and pinpoints it to the success that really matters.

You must understand all we do is for an audience of One, our true reward is truly in heaven and it is going to be given to us by God and how successful we are in our particular definitions of success plays a huge role. So you see the teacher who makes more money that the federal budgetary allocation of a country but leaves his students ignorant or misinformed will not be considered a success by heaven, regardless of how much the world applauds him, his success is found in the success of his students, like the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian church he had planted; ‘ye are the seal of mine apostleship…

So I give you a draft of an imaginary brother who has a sense of God’s calling for him into the work of an evangelist and teacher

Success is …

  • A continual outgrowing and ‘outbeing’ of who I was yesterday, ever being more perfected in the image of Christ [General Purpose]
  • Raising a godly home; a wife who is fulfilled on every side and children who love and fear the Lord [Particular Purpose]
  • The continual expansion of the kingdom through the declaration and demonstration of the gospel of Christ in the hearts and lives of men, especially in the nations of America, Canada & Mexico. [General & particular purpose]
  • The building of the church through sound biblical teaching, causing restoration and establishment of the church to all she is in Christ and all God has called her to do. [particular purpose]
  • Having full access at all times to every resource; material and human resources for the purposes of God (as stated above) [General purpose]

                                                                                                                                 …Bro Imaginary

Another draft of a sister who senses God’s purpose for her is towards political leadership

Success is …

  • A continual outgrowing and ‘outbeing’ of who I was yesterday, ever being more perfected in the image of Christ [General Purpose]
  • Raising a godly home; supporting my husband in his dream and raising kids who love and fear the Lord [Particular Purpose]
  • Serving my constituency in integrity and with excellence, shining God’s light by bringing solutions to the ill’s of my society[particular purpose]
  • Transforming the mindset of greed in the political arena and changing the rules of play to God honoring one [particular purpose]
  • Ending the unjust system of labour, taxation, wealth distribution and apartheid by bringing forth of wise and righteous policy and it’s effective implementation
  • Having full access at all times to every resource; material and human resources for the purposes of God (as stated above) [General purpose]

                                                                                                                        …Sis Imaginary

Take out some time and write yours, it’ll obviously be different from this ones, do so with a sense of seriousness and in an attitude prayer (this may take you anything from some minutes to some months, no need to rush), and when you think you’ve written it, carry it and like king Hezekiah(2 Kings 19:14) present it before the Lord, if you allowed him lead you when you wrote it, I doubt He’ll be surprised by what you wrote. There in prayer ask Him to help you, to grace you to be everything He’s called you to be and do everything He’s called you to do.

Also don’t be surprised when this definition needs to be updated, as you grow more in Christ, you’ll discover more clearly His will for your life. You may have started, knowing God would have you be a minister of the gospel, as you go deeper you find out He would have you particularly be teacher of the Word, as you go deeper you find out He wants you particularly teaching teens and youths and on and on. Times will come when some things will be added, some things edited and somethings maybe even removed, basically this will happen over the years initially until a point where it solidly formed.

It is imperative you define success, lest before you get there you think you have gotten there.

The more conscious you are of your definition of success, the more pointed and powerful your prayers, the more concise and precise your life, the more energy and time poured on what really matters, the less the glory and sparkle of other things become, the wiser you become, the stronger you become and the greater the fulfillment and satisfaction of your soul as walk in the success you’re called to be.


4 thoughts on “Defining Success

  1. I particularly love the paragraph that had the definition of success as; ” an event that accomplishes it’s intended purpose”. Well-done ,Sir.

  2. Another Imaginary Bro says: I don’t want to get to heaven and realize that I succeeded in a way that didn’t matter to God. Selah!
    Good Job Super…

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