The word success is one that often comes up in most conversations about life. The headlines of an international newspaper read, ‘Success: Who has it?’ How do you get it? What price do you pay for it?’ Everyone is interested in success but many do not know how to get or measure it. No one wants or plans to be a failure in life.
The Bible has a lot to say about success. “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate in it day and night; that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Success is not measured by looks or appearance. Society tends to gauge people’s success by how they dress or their material possession or fame or social status or image. There is even an adage to emphasize this - ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.
It is not measured by what one has in terms of wealth. Many people are wealthy not out of their efforts in creating wealth but because they inherited it. And they are failures in life because your net worth is not the same as your self-worth.
It is not measured by your popularity or the people you know. Many people are fond of and quick in dropping names of who’s who in society and their close associations with them. What matters is who and what you are - not at the expense of others.
I will use the acronym SUCCESS to illustrate some attributes of success. First, you need to have a sense of direction or purpose. Apostle Paul had a crystal clear purpose for his life: to go and preach the good news where Jesus Christ was not known.
- Why you need to teach your child independence
- What it means being a 'girl dad'
- Bad parenting: How to tell if a parent is controlling
- How to cope when children leave the nest
In this case, he would not be building on someone else’s foundation. The greatest tragedy is not death, it is life without purpose!
Second, you need to have an understanding. He says that he has learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation. Contentment is learnt. Do not be caught in the trap of ‘if only’ - if only I had more money, children, education or wealth. I pray that the Lord may lead you into a greater understanding of God’s love and endurance that is given by Christ.
Third, you have to be committed. The drive you need to move from mediocrity to excellence requires commitment. He says, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the task the Lord Jesus has given to me.” (Acts 20:24) Successful people are willing to do unpleasant, uncomfortable and inconvenient things that others are unwilling to do.
Fourth, you need to have compassion. To paraphrase 1st Corinthians 13:1-3: Even if you speak with the tongues of men and of angels; or have the gift of prophecy, understanding, knowledge and faith; or bestow all your goods to feed the poor and give your body to be burned; without love you are nothing.
Jesus said that our number one responsibility is to love - to love God with all your heart and your neighbour as you love yourself. Love is a choice, it is choosing to care and be compassionate to someone else.
Fifth, you must have enthusiastic faith. Apostle Paul was always hopeful and optimistic despite the circumstances. He made such statements as I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God is for us, who can be against us? To him, nothing was too hard with the help of God. He attempted great things and expected great things from God.
Sixth, commit to acts of service to others. According to Apostle Paul, we carry out the service of love for the Lord’s glory. Love is accompanied by actions that are geared toward meeting the needs of others in society.
Seven, choose to have the staying power. Apostle Paul did not consider quitting no matter how tough things got. He had tenacity, persistence, and determination and could not let anything discourage him.
Successful people have extraordinary staying power and believe that failure is not final.
Bishop David Muriithi-Founder & Overseer House of Grace International Ministries