Success: Perspectives from God’s Word (lesson one: A Formula for Success)
Success: From A World’s Point of View
From the world’s perspective, success is the power with which to acquire whatever one demands of life without violating the rights of others. In other words, it is the power to get what you want without stepping on other people. Here, we see that success is equated to power.
However, in a very vicious kind of world wherein we now live, people pursue success at the expense of other people. This conflict is not much new to us. We see these things happening in our offices, in schools, even in our television shows that tell how one person is willing to put everything in line so just as to be the man on top. Sometimes, the right objective necessitates the wrong procedures. The end justifies the means.
Success: From a Christian Perspective
On the other hand, the Word of God provides us with a very positive account of success. The Scriptures define success to be the act of choosing to enter into arena of action, determined to give your self to that cause which will better mankind and last for eternity. Success is more than just power or not violating the rights of others. Simply put, success from God’s Word is a privilege.
Notice carefully how the two perspectives significantly differ. While it could be true more often than usual that success from the world’s perspective keeps other in view by not hurting them, the Word’s perspective takes the extra mile: not only does it keeps in view others by not hurting them, but more so by pursuing what would better them as humans. There is more to doing good compared to not doing bad to someone. People who don’t commit wrong things against others are actually normal. That’s simply called for from all humans. But doing well isn’t a normal thing. People aren’t always cornered in obligation to help other people. Helping and doing good to others, though uncalled for, is the true and noble indication of success, based on God’s Word.
Secondly, the premium of success from the world’s perspective is solely on the end, and not on the means. No matter how wrong or misled the person’s actions are, for as long as it will inevitably lead him or her to the intended outcome, they are acceptable. But not so for God’s Word. Both the end and the means ought to be right. A person desiring to be a successful businessman, from the world’s perspective, will cheat his way, for as long as it will rake millions for him. But the biblically guided businessman will keep out of engaging in fraudulent activities, and will keep in mind how he could do good to his or her patrons, believing that success can be reached through this way.
Lastly, success from the world’s perspective demands the sacrificing of things of the world for self-gratification and fulfillment. But God’s Word describes success to be the demand of the self of what it could give, first to his or her Creator, and secondly to the world. Here the results greatly differ. A person who feeds on the materials of the world could end up frustrated if ever his ambitions are never reached. But a person who finds satisfaction and fulfillment in the very act of sacrificing self for the demands of the Lord and the world finds himself contented and victorious.
Why do People Fail?
Success and failure are the only two roads lying ahead of every person. There is no middle ground for anyone who chooses either not to fail or not to succeed. A person could never live neutrally. If a person doesn’t want to succeed, he is immediately a failure. A person who does not want to fail will surely engage himself in things that will keep himself on the track to success. A person who moderately succeeds is not a success at all, and the same thing goes for those who claim of moderate failures.
Now that we know the perspectives of success, let’s take a look at the reasons why people primarily fail. There are three here that generally encompasses all other reasons for failing:
1. Many people just don’t feel the need to succeed:
Very simply, as what has been said, there is no middle road for a person in the walk of life. Either he chooses to walk successfully, or as a failure. A person who doesn’t want to succeed will never be one.
The denial of the need to succeed is very much rooted in the character and attitude of a person towards life. There are those who would like always to be within the bounds of their personal security. They don’t want to get out of their comfort zones. They convince themselves of a feeling of contentment of whatever they have in this life. They don’t want more, neither do they want less. They just want to be in the middle of things. But again, being simply in the middle is no different from standing on the failure’s side of the travel of life.
2. There are those who are afraid of success:
This reason is the explanation for the first reason. People are afraid to take risks, and give up some things in exchange for success. Success has never been a free commodity: it has always required a payment. And most often, if the choices are wrong, the payment is far more than what has been bargained for. This is usually true for those who pursue success from the world’s perspective.
People who fear success aren’t necessarily afraid of success, but of what it takes to be successful, and of what else could possibly happen because of success. Perhaps you would have heard of stories about rich people who put up high wire fences and walls around their houses, so as to keep robbers out. You could just imagine the kind of “peace of mind” that money provides these rich people with. They are living in constant fear of what could possibly befall them, because of their “success.”
3. There are those who are suspicious of success:
In simple terms, people who are guilty of this are those who do not pursue the path to success from the Bible’s perspective. They are skeptical of the kind of success that the Bible prescribes. They simply can’t accept the fact that success in the Bible is not always measured in terms of money or other material gain. Also, people question very highly those who claim successful, and yet are still engaged in activities of spiritual uplifting. For people believing in this kind of philosophy, compromise is a common thing to do. If everybody’s doing this, then they might as well do the same thing, if it would assure them an inch closer to success. People who are suspicious about success are not suspicious about success itself per se. But, they are suspicious of the way to success. For them, there seems to be really no true path that will lead us to success. They simply consign their ambitions to mediocrity.