What is Success?

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve had a banging week and are ready to rest and re-energise this weekend. My week for one, ended with a bang last night with the Festival of Praise Manchester (#FOPMAN10) concert last night. To be honest, it was my first time joining in and I’m not going to lie, it was amazing! It was so great to feel God’s presence even though we weren’t worshipping together in one place. Despite this fact, God’s presence was so real to me and we had some quality time in praise and prayer. If you haven’t watched it, please do here. I’m already looking for 2022 (lol!). By God’s grace I’ll be there in person (in fact, I know I will be ☺️).

If you’re following ShineALight on Instagram, you will have noticed that I asked a question on what our definitions of success are (if you’ve missed the post, please find it here). But before we go further, let me ask you…what’s your definition of success? I ask because firstly, I believe that people want different things in life, and for many of us success may look different. Also, we’re aware of what success is portrayed as in the world – money, fast cars, women (men 👀), houses, flexing etc. And whilst it’s important to have money in fact, the Bible lets us know that money answers all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19), I believe that as Christians, as people who want to honour God, and as people who want to know God deeper, we need to consider His definition of success.

Firstly, as we saw above, God does not hate money (it’s very important) but the love of money is where the problem’s at. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil…

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)

And isn’t this scripture so typical in today’s world. Relevant then and relevant now. Money is a resource. We are not to kill ourselves (or others) over resources. But the key matter of today’s blog is not on money itself but on success. It’s important to know what success is to you so you can know what you’re striving for, living for and what matters to you in life.

As you may be aware, I’ve challenged myself to read the entire Bible in a year and this week one of the Bible passages I read was Genesis 24, and 26. Although I‘ve read these passages before, they spoke to me in a way like never before (has that happened to you before, that you can read a verse/chapter over and over again and get new insights each time?) – isn’t the Holy Spirit amazing?

In the world, we’re told to strive and, in some instances, pull others down to get ahead and be ‘successful’ but in Genesis 26 we see that success, true success, comes from the Lord, and it’s the person that God blesses that is successful. In verses 12-13 we see Isaac harvesting his crops and harvesting over 100 times. Why? Because the Lord blessed him.

12 When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him.
13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.
Genesis 26:12-13 (NIV)

The blessing led to Isaac’s increase and consequently his enlarged (/enlarging) wealth1. We need to stop chasing the wind. To stop looking for ways to make your colleague look foolish so your boss will think you’re smarter and choose you for the promotion. Stop having selfish ambitions in the name of ‘chasing success’. We’ve seen here that true success (and continuous success) comes from the Lord, and the Lord alone!

In Genesis 26, we see how success can be defined. In verse 12, we see Abraham’s servant pray to God to make him successful. For Abraham’s servant, we see that his definition of success was fulfilling the mission he had been given by his master, Abraham (and isn’t that so topical for us today, fulfilling the commission given to us by God?). In verse 35 we see it re-iterated again that the Lord blesses, and that blessing is what makes one wealthy (or successful). In fact, when God called Abraham (Genesis 12), all he promised Abraham was that He’ll bless him, but we all know that Abraham was wealthy as well right? He was so prosperous and enlarged that the land could no longer contain him and Lot (his nephew) in the same place.

Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
Genesis 24:12 (NIV)

So, we’re back to our initial question – what’s your definition of success? When I read the above passages during the week, I realised that I had to change my definition of success to success is fulfilling your purpose and the mission that God has given you on earth (like Abraham’s servant). This is my definition of success, but I believe we all have to find our own; and it primarily comes from your beliefs. If I believe that I will stand before God one day then surely, shouldn’t I aim to do the things that will make Him happy, and do what He’s called me to do? Then surely, shouldn’t my success be measured by the extent to which I fulfil His purpose for my life? And beyond that, should I not chase His blessing in everything I do if that’s the key to wealth that comes with ease and not toxic striving? King Solomon made this very clear in Proverbs 10:22 where he said:

The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.

This is really the conclusion of the matter. Many people chase wealth as a measure of success but my oh my, if only they knew that they’ve gotten the order oh so wrong. True wealth is a direct effect of the blessing. One thing I’ve taken from this is that; Ope, you better chase the blessing…

So, take the time to reflect on this and pray, and find your definition of success. But in all that we do, let’s not forget that the root must be in God.

1 OG readers will remember that we’ve discussed this chapter before in ‘Dare to… Dig and Find Water’.

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