WHAT IS SUCCESS
Yesterday morning, I woke up with a lot on my mind. You can say I was still irritated from the night before about some things I shared with my FATHER (speaking of GOD) that I was not happy about. I am a businesswoman by trade. Therefore, I like things done a certain way concerning business matters or anything linked with any business activities or transactions. So, the night before, my FATHER and I had a long discussion about a few things I was not satisfied with.
Now, although GOD did sent His ministering angel to minister to me – which did bring me a level of peace. But evidently, I bottled up my frustrations and took them to bed with me because I woke up the next morning frustrated and irritable, and initially, I did not know why. So, I was like, “LORD! What is going on with me? Because for the past few days, I have been just really like AH! about some things?”
So, yesterday morning, after GOD showed me what was really at the core of my frustrations and disclosed to me that I already had the solution to this one particular issue – my atmosphere finally took a turn for the better.
Now, I won’t share with you everything GOD and I talked about surrounding my frustrations. Somethings, well, a lot of things are just between GOD and me. But there were a few scriptures GOD took me through that I do feel would benefit anyone here who receives this word.
from man’s perspective
Far too often, we, define success by this one simple word – increase. Even the church has become trapped by this worldly concept. One of the entries in Webster's Dictionary defines success as “the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence (a position of prominence or superiority). So, from the world’s perspective, success is defined or based on numbers. The more social media followers you have; the more members you have in your church; the more money you make; the more influence you possess, in comparison to others that are in the same trade, service, or arena, the more successful you are. The less increase or numbers you have, the less successful you are. This is the world’s view and many in the church are guilty of adopting such a belief system that does not align with GOD’s word nor HIS perspective.
As Christians, we always want to have GOD’s perspective on matters. For this is always our best option when considering all things and all matter. It says at Isaiah chapter 55, starting at verse 8
How the LORD evaluates and perceives things when it comes to success or being successful is (1) completely different from man’s ideology and (2) it has very little to do with numbers (increase) as far as GOD is concerned. So, how does GOD defines success?
At Joshua chapter 1, verse 8, reads this way
Did you notice what GOD calls success? Before I answer that, let’s notice first, what GOD does not call success. As we read this verse in Joshua, nowhere does GOD speaks about an increase in numbers that will lead to anyone’s success. Now, in the things I am about to mention, I am not saying, that an increase in numbers does not reflect progress. But what I am saying is this is not how GOD defines success. GOD does not define a man or a widow’s success based on their social media platform growing from zero followers to 100 plus, or even a thousand plus. Nor does HE based success on whether a pastor has grown from a hand full of church members to a couple of hundreds or thousands of members. And HE certainly does not base a Christian business's success on whether an owner has grown from making no profit to thousands of dollars in profits. Now, these things are good but they are not the determining factors that GOD used to measure or determine whether a person is successful or not. For, we, as Christians, know that many in the world are seeking an increase in one way or another to be labeled as successful. But they do not necessarily have GOD’s approval. Man measures success on one scale while GOD’s scope of success is on a completely different level. (Compare t Isaiah 55:8-9).
So, at Joshua 1:8, GOD makes a clear distinction on how HE defines success. Joshua 1:8 provides us with two clear points.
Let’s read it again.
GOD defines success not by increase, nor by numbers. But HE describes a person of success as one who read and study HIS word and applies it in their daily activity and life. And it is these actions that will eventually cause us to be prosperous and experience true success according to GOD’s word.
Okay, some of y’all are taking issue with this, so let’s look at another scripture. At 1 Samuel, chapter 15, the prophet Samuel is talking with King Saul. After King Saul had failed to follow the explicit instructions that the LORD had given him, Samuel said to Saul at verse 22.
Now, let’s stop right there. We know from the study of the scriptures that GOD’s leaders performed countless burnt offerings and animal sacrifices to appease GOD for their sins or sometimes as a gift to the LORD. So here, in 1 Samuel 15:22, the prophet Samuel is alluding to the number of times the Israelites can make countless burnt offerings and animal sacrifices to the LORD. The priest who was assigned to do this can do this over and over again. But these offerings and sacrifices can be considered null and void from the LORD’s perspective if we are not obedient to what HE is requiring us to do. So, again, let’s read what the prophet Samuel said to Saul.
Obedience. Heeding the word of the LORD is more important than the number of offerings or sacrifices we can offer up to the LORD. So, here GOD defines success not purely based on our offerings and sacrifices. Although, these things are good. But HE based success on being obedient to HIS word, all of HIS commandments, decrees, regulations, expectations, and rules. Being submissive to what HE says in HIS word and to the direction HE personally gives to us is what makes us successful.
Alright, one more point.
Far too many of us have diluted what is success because we have accepted the world’s view of what success is – which is an increase by some significant number, i.e. social media platform, membership, headcount, subscribers, material goods, wealth, etc. But Jesus said something interesting in one of HIS parables that I think we should consider.
Do you recall what He said about the poor widow with the two mites? In this parable, Jesus speaks about two groups of people that enter the treasury to deposit a donation. The first group that donates their money is a part of the wealthy class. Jesus states that these gave out of their surplus. Meaning, what they gave into the treasury will not impact them in any way. Although their giving is good, they are not sacrificing anything. Then Jesus mentions the poor widow who can only give two mites. (A single mite was a copper coin worth a fraction of a penny). So, just imagine. The rich were donating hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to the treasury. But this poor widow could only donate two coins that were worth less than a penny each. Yet, Jesus said this concerning both groups.
We have to be mindful that numbers (or an increase) can be very misleading when we look at it from a man’s perspective. Because numbers can be manipulated, ambiguous, and they do not always represent what it seems. Just because an individual has hundreds or even thousands of members in their group, on their social media platform, or in their organization, it doesn’t mean they are experiencing true success from GOD’s perspective. There are some who only have a few followers or a few members in their church, on their social media platform, or in their organization and GOD may consider these that are really having success or are successful from HIS perspective. GOD is more interested in those who are like the poor widow with the two mites. A widow who was not only obedient to GOD’s word in her giving. But she gave all she had out of her income, not her surplus.
So, let’s conclude with this. What makes a person successful is NOT this number game that many like to play or what the world defines as success. We all need to see success in the same manner as Christ does. And He considers those who are successful are those who are obedient to every word HE utters in HIS word.
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The word of the lord
When the LORD God gives a word, it is for the sole purpose to teach, reproof, correct, or train His servants - His Body, so that every member within the Body of Christ may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For the LORD has given the Body of Christ apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the Saints for the work of service, to encourage one another, and to build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).