Are you Successful in God's Eyes?
This is a touchy and somewhat confrontational blog post. As well, it may be a bit hard to swallow but I felt an urgency to share as there are many who are striving to find purpose, destiny, greatness, or accomplish a dream, reality, and/or vision in this life. It may sound contradictory to what we've been taught or understand but my desire and many like me is to leave this world having accomplished that in which we were created to do! Thus, at the end of it all-- Who would know better why we were created than the CREATOR HIMSELF. Then, un-candidly, it would mean so much more to accomplish and fulfill the divinely written blueprint of our lives from the CREATOR which equals the ULITMATE SUCCESS in this life!
There have been many things written about how to become successful or the steps to a wonderful life. Hard work, determination, positive thinking, and doing what it takes to reach the top are all means used to define or describe the path to achieve success. Success by the world standard is normally defined as becoming rich and wealthy, or maintaining a powerful or lucrative position. It can sometimes mean becoming a famous entertainer, athlete, or Hollywood actor or actress. Once we’ve reached these plateaus of accomplishments, many see and value our lives as the epitome of success and status. It is even an added bonus, if we are wealthy and famous and have a significant other to share this life with us. More importantly, becoming successful has moved beyond the guise of not only becoming rich and/or famous and acquiring physical material assets, but it is now equally important that you share your riches with those less fortunate than you. Thus, successful people are now philanthropist, concerned about global warming, care for children in starving poor nations and in some cases they may even adopt a child or two. Additionally, successful people give to people with-in their own country and sustain the needs of those outside their borders. It is not enough to be a star with money, but now you should also give away your millions in order to measure up to today’s standard of success.
Not only are the rich and famous noted as successful if they've accomplish these ranks, but the above average doctor, lawyer, politician, entrepreneur, engineer, businessman/woman, executive, or the like are considered professional successes. While the teacher, nurse, police officer, fireman who may obtain some status in life, acquire a family, and/or give to those in need reasonably could be defined as successful in some cases, but many times are regarded as the hard working average citizen. Often times the range of accomplishments has to be monumental or significantly seen, noticed, or felt in order to be defined as ultimate success. Additionally, we teach our kids: 1. go to school, 2. get a good job, and 3. make good money and you will live a good life with material success. But how often do we teach our kids to go to school, learn all you can so you can make a difference in the lives of others here or abroad even if it costs you to sacrifice your desires that others lives may be changed.
Society in general looks to those famed and named persons with status and money as the predominant standard when measuring success. This typically is a world or secular view, but this same philosophy or mindset has crept its way into the church. Many times because of our western world view, we begin to compare or determine truth through this perspective. Thus, we define success within the realm of our experience and what we understand. Since we live in a capitalistic, materialistic, democracy rather than theocracy, we have determined success as prospering with an accumulation of material possessions, money, lavish things, fame and prestige.
Unfortunately the sound bites from some of our Christian leaders teach a subtle and disguised message that invite precious people of God to strive to obtain monumental or extravagant goals, desires, visions, and/or dreams in order to fulfill some measure of success or sense of accomplishment in God. Some modern day churches have wrapped this philosophy in commonly taught or preached cliches which state: “you are going to be great, your vision will put you before great men, and you will go to the nations”. Consequently, many are striving to excel to find and reach a destiny, a purpose, see and accomplish a great vision that equates success according to this definition in order to find contentment. The 'pinnacle that must be reached' within this message is a standard that realizes each person doing something great for God, preaching to the nations, building large organizations, becoming famed or known because of your awesome anointing, gift, or greatness in God. Or it could include leading thousands in worship, recording a multi-platinum CD, overseeing many churches, and the list goes on and on. Therefore, until some semblance of this is achieved, you haven’t reached success. With this quest, some may find this journey or search challenging, nebulous, stressful, and/or unattainable. Thus, this leaves many to feel inadequate or unsuccessful because they are not able to fulfill a set standard of greatness that is falsely propagated within our worldview. And not to mention there are those who are trying to fulfill a worldly standard of fame and fortune whose message is also reiterated within the church. Because of this dubious false standard, many people are depressed, unfulfilled, and empty or feel less than adequate because they have not obtained some kind of materialistic, famed, or self - promoting dream. Concurrently, they continue to strive to reach this standard and feel subpar if they do not.
This standard can leave one feeling discouraged and un-fulfilled. This constant trying, striving, and consistent reaching can lead people to believe if they have not accomplished “GREATNESS” that they have failed themselves, failed others, and ultimately failed God. Yes we are great, but we must determine what GREATNESS in God really means???????? The irony of this perception leads to this question: Are we striving for God’s standard or have we undoubtedly taken on a FALSE STANDARD? I conclude that we have.
Some people are trying to fulfill a false standard of success. And others have reached this standard of prestige, notoriety, and status but are they fulfilled? They may have large followings, successful albums, prestigious jobs, large homes, and fame in the secular and/or church community. Or maybe they have millions of dollars, successful companies, or are famous but for some who have achieved these things—is this really the will of God? I am not against becoming great, having nice things, successful businesses, millions of dollars, producing albums, or the like. However, though some have these great things and have accomplished these great feats—'have they pleased God and His ultimate will’? This is the question we all must ask ourselves in all that we do or have done. If this is the case within the sphere of influence and accomplishments you've achieved and it has not tainted your humility and God has blessed you to give, live, and glorify Him with your blessings and He is pleased then this is what matters. Nevertheless, if persons are striving for this with false motives, unfulfilled lives, and trying to become like someone else rather than pleasing God in the sphere and space that He's give you, then it's likely that you may feel less than, unfulfilled, or lacking.
As God freed me from the bondage of this false standard, I desire to dispel this lie and help shed light on what I believe is God’s standard of success according to the Bible. He so eloquently and simply outlines His standard in His Word: "go and make disciples" and “when you've done it to the least of these, you've done it to me”. On that glorious day of His return, God is not going to judge or measure our success by what we've accomplished or what great or monumental things we have achieved, but He is going to measure us by this: Did we love Him, please Him, and did we obey His will? If He is pleased and we have obeyed the will of the Father, then success is unequivocally accomplished. And He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant”. Enter into my Kingdom. .
The true road map to success is the Holy Bible, and if you are able to actualize its truth, success according to God's definition will be realized. I must warn you though-- there is a cost or a price to pay to fulfill His standards and it may not come with much glitz, glamour, or fanfare; but, it will ultimately lead to eternal life and reward in His eternal kingdom. I have come to realize that success in God is realized daily in the little acts of obedience that we carry out day by day such as: sharing love with someone at the work place, praying for someone as the spirit leads, raising our children in the admonition of the word of God, pouring our life into others through sacrificial means (money, time, and resources), travelling and paying to do missions here and in foreign countries, and line by line, precept by precept hearing God's voice and obeying it. When He is pleased, I realize that I am successful in Him and that gives me peace. This is what I strive to achieve and though I may even desire greatness, I sometimes reluctantly and with hope walk the path that is set before me with a notion that greatness might happen but with a reality that it may not according to my perception and definition of greatness. But it is God's reality that supersedes all standards and I must accept it. We must lose our will in the will of God. And though we may lose it, we will find it and gain success and life in Him which is eternal.