True success is not about money, wealth or possessions. It is not about being popular, influential or holding an exalted position. It does not mean doing better than your peers. As Jesus says in Luke 12:15 (NIV), “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Rather, true success has to do with pleasing God and partnering with Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV), says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God prepared specific works for us to do throughout our lives here on earth. If we seek His will, He will lead us to the works He has prepared. It could mean becoming an evangelist, a health worker, a carpenter, a teacher and so on. The purpose is not achievement for our own sake, but succeeding at what God has prepared for us to do.
If we accomplish what God wants, we are successful. His plan for His children is to prosper in all their undertakings. Psalm 1:3 (NKJV) says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.”
Naturally, every person desires success and not failure. No one plans to fail. Although it is said that failing to plan is planning to fail. However, we often pursue achievement instead of the real success. We focus on goals to achieve something that we desire. But we should instead focus on purpose.
We often accept the world’s definition for success as prosperity, affluence and fame, and we purse these targets. But this popular definition is misleading. God’s approval is more important than earthly fame. Not all achievements are counted as success in God’s eyes. We can achieve many things and yet end up a failure.
Proverbs 10:22 (NLT) says, “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and adds no sorrow with it.” The blessing of the Lord is the original plan for you. He doesn’t want you sick, poor, dejected or lonely. He wants to make you rich in every area of your life – your health, finances, and relationships and so on.
Do not let your achievement be like the ladder leaning against a wrong wall. Else, you may discover eventually that efforts made to reach the end of the ladder are useless because you arrived at the wrong destination. It is depressing to realise that the resources that should have been properly deployed have been wasted because you have achieved something that does not count.
The same amount of resources invested on a project could result in success or failure. We often see abandoned projects, especially by federal and state governments, in particular. Sometimes, such projects might have been initiated for selfish reasons and not for the benefit of the people. A lot of money is invested on such projects that have become useless to the taxpayers. Of course, the resources invested on such projects could have been more profitably utilised.
The Word of God in Mark 8:36 (ESV) asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? Why should someone acquire all the money, own high-rise buildings, command fame and popularity and wield influence and authority over people and then fail woefully on what will make him successful? Why not focus on what will make you win respect of people and bring you fulfilment, peace and joy in life?
Without an eternal purpose, meeting even great goals doesn’t count for much in the end. Hard work, perseverance, and determination can definitely lead to great achievements and earn you rewards like expensive cars, big houses, and other material possessions but these cannot give you fulfilment. Of course, those possessions can be lost. Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV) counsels, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
God desires His people to enjoy fullness of life. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” When you succeed at things that make God smile, you enjoy contentment and fulfilment.