The Real Definition Of Success.
If you open any magazine or watch television, you will see men and women who are referred to as successful. These people are rich and have excelled in their calling. They define Success as having money, material possessions, being famous and powerful.
Many people define their lives by the media’s myopic definition of success. They live their lives in an attempt to become like the artistes, politicians, entertainers, preachers, business men and women who are famous. They define their lives by how much money they have acquired or how much material stuff they own. Basically, they define success in financial and materialistic terms. Unless they have enough stuff and money, they feel that they are unsuccessful or to put it plainly, failures. Because of such a definition of success, many are driven by covetousness and greed in an attempt to measure up to the media’s definition of success.
Motivational preaching has also made things worse for many people. Preachers encourage covetousness and greed under the guise of ‘prosperity’ and success. Many Christians have been entrapped by a philosophy which teaches them that ‘God wants you to have stuff and have more stuff.’ This is an error. God wants you to live a life of contentment.
In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses.’ He meant that real success has nothing to do with how much money or material stuff you have accumulated. Your value as a person has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank or how much stuff you have or how famous you are. Real success is how rich your are in relation to the Kingdom and God’s plan for you. Your value should be defined by God and His Word not by any man or group of people.
God is against covetousness in our lives. In 1Timothy 6, the Bible says that Godliness with contentment is great gain. In Hebrews 13:5 it says that your lifestyle should be without covetousness and you should be content with what you have. So what does contentment mean? Does it mean living an austere, penniless and broke life? Does it mean living without and struggling to make ends meet? No it doesn’t. Contentment means living within the ambit of God’s grace, gift and calling for your life. It means living an authentic life defined by God and not by the media, the world or a preacher. Contentment is living a full, satisfied, peaceful and happy life within the boundaries of your gift and calling.
Comparing yourself with other people is foolish-2Corinthians 10:12. Self comparison is insane. Why? We all are gifted, graced and called to do different things with our lives. For instance, it is foolish to compare myself to a gifted footballer like Lionel Messi. I am not gifted in any way to be a footballer. Many people waste their lives in a futile pursuit to be what and who they are not and this makes them unhappy and very miserable.
Comparison and covetousness will make you undermine your gift, grace and calling and make you wish to be someone else. Contentment is recognising what you have been blessed with and using it to make an impact. Abraham followed God’s plan for his life. He was rich, he was not covetous and he walked in contentment. He refused to covet or envy sinners-Psalm37:1. You can read Abraham’s story in Genesis 14:23. He was careful to follow God’s plan and purpose for his life. You can do the same.
Success should be defined in line with what you have been gifted, graced and called to do with your life. It should never be defined by materialism. If you follow God’s plan for your life, you will be successful. If you don’t follow God’s specific plan for your life but allow covetousness drive you into materialism, you may look successful to the world, but in the light of scripture, you will be a failure.