I was talking in Part 1 about success and what success really is. And I mentioned that there is something deeper about it.
Here are a few things that Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and author, says success is:
- “Success is closing the door on your office at the end of the day knowing that you did a good job and knowing that those that interacted with you had a positive experience.”
- “Success is looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love.”
- “Success is turning out the lights and saying to yourself it just doesn’t get much better than this.”
According to Ziglar, balance is the key: “Yes, success is directly related to having a balanced life. If any one area is out of sync, all the areas of your life suffer.” Success certainly is a personal thing. Albert Schweitzer, the French-German theologian and physician said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
“Success is not the key to happiness.” Albert Schweitzer
What I think is important is this: success is discovering God’s purposes for your life and achieving them. Success is not material acquisition, success is purposeful living. When King David was about to die, he gave his son, Solomon, the following advice: “Do what the LORD your God commands and follow his teachings. Obey everything written in the Law of Moses. Then you will be a success, no matter what you do or where you go” (1 Kings 2:3 CEV).
The Advice of King David
Notice that David didn’t tell his son to build up his kingdom with great armies, or to gather wealth from other lands, or to defeat his enemies in battle. Instead, his formula for success was to follow God and obey him. When Solomon became king, he didn’t ask the Lord for wealth and power, but for wisdom and discernment in order to lead God’s people. God was pleased by this request and granted it, giving Solomon a wise and understanding heart, more than any man had ever had before. He also gave Solomon the things he didn’t ask for—riches and honour among men (1 Kings 3:1-14).
Solomon took his father’s advice to heart, at least for most of his reign, and reflected on it in his writing in Proverbs: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4 ESV).
By obeying God, we gain freedom from the curses of this world—hate, jealousy, addictions, confusion, inferiority complexes, sadness without reason, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness and more.
Do you want to be successful? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Anyone who has learned to glorify and enjoy God can be considered truly successful. That’s a very simple definition, but true nonetheless. It doesn’t mean you are sloppy at work or not interested in life around you—but it does mean you have a divine mission in life to love God and serve others.
Storing Treasures—On Earth and In Heaven
The Bible makes it clear that success is in becoming who and what we really are. The great apostle Paul had spent his life chasing after success as the world defined it. A Hebrew of Hebrews—the right pedigree, the right philosophy, the right enterprise—he did everything his world told him to do to be successful but in the end he found it to be worthless (rubbish, dung). Everything his culture, his friends, his mentors told him was success in the end left him empty and alone. Until the day he met Jesus, Paul was very much like Michael Jackson—he had it all and in the end had nothing. But then Jesus showed up and Paul lost everything he had and became what he was made to be. If Paul had not followed Christ he would be nothing—just another name in history.
Paul says that success happens when we rearrange our priorities and begin to see life in the light of eternity. Jesus says, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” How much of our lives is given over to an appetite for things that are meaningless? Jesus says to us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where our treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where your treasure is (your storehouse) that’s where your heart is.
The Bible asks in Deuteronomy 10:12, “What does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”