I pray that this lesson about “Success” will be a tremendous blessing and starting point in your quest for happiness.  Happiness comes when we perceive the truth but when it comes to perceptions they may or may not be true.  Today the acquisition of material goods and money is the perception of success.  Yet, the number of depressed, fearful and anxious people continues to spiral upward.  Why?  The answer to this lies in the true definition of success. With that said, let’s get started!


The Foundation for Success


The foundation for good success in life probably won’t be found in a seminar.  How to make a better you is not the answer.  Taking supplements to improve hair quality or quantity will not help you succeed.  Yet we are bombarded with the latest technological breakthroughs (so called) that promise to improve height, memory, learning ability, language and a host of other things on a daily basis for the sole purpose of becoming successful.  The message is evident, “You are not successful and this will help you.”  If everyone had the money to purchase all of these miracle tonics wouldn’t it be amazing how our world would be transformed?  Yet, many trudge onward hoping to make it rich either by the lottery or some other unknown method. 


We march along in hopes of something better when the poorest of us are richer than many people in the world.  We always want more and strangely enough often look to Hollywood as the model of success while looking for the perfect situation to break in among us.  Happiness however cannot be found on such a shifty foundation as this.  For example, one day we are told success is to be a millionaire and all of a sudden inflation claims we need two million and so on it goes.  What is needed more than anything is a solid foundation that will not move with the times or fads of society.  The foundation I speak of is found in the pages of Gods’ holy word, the Bible.


“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8 (KJV)  


Success because of its emotional appeal must have something to keep its “head on straight” as they say. Emotions are tricky and thus can easily shift with the tides of popularity.  Joshua received the word of God and it became a solid foundation that shielded him from political popularity and the desire of others to define success for him.  That’s my point.  None of us should accept the premise that someone else will determine what success is for us individually.  There is only one who should be able to define such an important part of our lives and that is the Lord.  Through the law of God we have a moral compass to keep us focused on the important things.  For example, we are told, “To be successful you will have to be untruthful at times.”  Other similar statements magnetically pull at our moral compass to shift the definition of success away from true north.  However what good is money if it came at the expense of cheapening my moral character (which is more valuable than money)? 


What is more important to your children a parent that is honest or a parent with money in the bank?  What do your close friends like about you?  Your honesty or your money?  If it is the later, then you may want to change friends because when your money is gone, well you get the point.  You see, there are some things more valuable than possessions or cash, things called character.  How can we know what character is?  That’s a good question and the answer is found in the word of God.  His word defines character qualities, which lead us to success that have been proven time and time again to be right.  Attributes like honesty, integrity, love, compassion, faith, self-control, joy, peace, patience and others.


Question #1  What is your definition of real success?


The True Measure of Success


Success as defined by society is to conquer at any cost.  Master your own fate; rule your circumstances and similar statements.  There is a certain amount of truth in these statements yet Gods’ word has a different take on it.  The battle for success is not to conquer the world on our own strength; it is a battle to conquer self through the power of God.  The great apostle Paul accomplished many things in his life and he had a perspective that we should look at.


“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10 (KJV) 


He stated here that all of his labor was his, but not his.  Sound confusing?  What he meant was his accomplishments were made possible by God giving him strength.  This is the attitude of all truly great people who trusted in God for the results of their labor.  The Rev. Charles Spurgeon, of London was known as the greatest minister of his time.  His influence and accomplishments were many.  Yet he never did it out of a sense of pride or self-exaltation.  In fact his words can be an encouragement to those of us who are searching for success.  “The bane of my life is to keep myself steady at work.  I often get discouraged, and I think I should have done better at something else.”  Ever feel this way?


The problem each of us will face is the temptation to say “I did it by myself.”  You see, the battle is not to overcome the world in order to become successful; the real battle is to overcome self so that the power of God can be unleashed in us.  Solomon the wise man battled with this.  His own personal account is recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.  After becoming the third king over Israel he decided to find the thing that man should do to be happy.  Isn’t that what we are told success is all about?  Solomon had the resources to do anything he desired and so he jumped in with all four feet.  His accomplishments included real-estate, lots of money, building a personal zoo, houses, servants, a throne built out of ivory and covered with gold, building the first permanent temple in Jerusalem and many other feats.  He married seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines and was the richest and wisest of all men. You can read the entire book of Ecclesiastes to get the whole picture.  When it was all said and done here is what he had to say about his personal achievements and success.


“Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Eccles. 2:17 (KJV) 


The things that he had accomplished eventually meant very little to him.  In fact he hated them because they were a constant reminder of his inability to make himself happy.  Isn’t that what the world says we can do; make ourselves happy by our own accomplishments?  Modern success theology (my term) teaches us that we are our own God and can make ourselves happy.  Actually this is humanism, which is the teaching that man is a god himself.  The truth however is completely different.  We are not God but the creation of God and therefore dependent upon him for our success.  Once we come to this point in our understanding happiness cannot be far away for when we take away our own ability to create happiness within ourselves we are left with only one place to turn; Jesus Christ.  The true measure of success then is coming to the place where we can say as Paul did, “I am what I am because of his grace.”  Therefore seeking riches is a foolish thing in and of itself.  I quote Solomon again on this wise.


“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. [5] Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” Proverbs 23:4-5 (KJV) 


Question #2  What is your idea of success, riches or relationships?  Explain.


True Success


“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8 (KJV) 


“Good success,” sounds exciting doesn’t it?  It is exciting when we understand it in the most basic sense of the word.  Let’s look at success and good success in the form of a few basic questions and maybe it will help us to understand it better.  Which one is good success in your estimation?  What is better, a nice home or a happy home?  What is better, money in the bank or love in the home?  What is better, a successful business or a successful marriage?   What is best, a thriving business or drug free kids?  Granted, you can have both of these at the same time but it is possible to have one without the other.  Get my point?  True success is being successful first in the most important things and if the other flourishes great and if not that’s OK too.  The word that best describes this outlook is “priority.”  When priorities are right success is sure to follow.  This principle is proven over and over in the business world. 


Locally we saw a business furniture store go out of business after 100 years of success.  Why?  The reason was simple.  Employees told of the founder’s priorities when it came to his business practices.  He had a plan that was successful.  No doubt he built on trust and integrity when dealing with his customers.  Years later when the founder was gone from the scene the business deteriorated and went down until it was closed.  What had changed?  The business was the same as always.  The products that the children sold were not inferior to the products that dad sold.  The location hadn’t changed.  In fact the children probably inherited a better location than what dad had to work with.  The customer base was the same or perhaps even larger.  The property may have been paid for whereas dad struggled to pay off debt.  So why did this have to happen?  The answer is basic; the priorities had changed.  The new comers saw lots of money to play with until everything else began to suffer.  What does this say to us about success?  It teaches us that priorities are paramount.  We must have this idea of success right in our minds and heart before it can become a reality.  Jesus taught this very principle.


“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? [31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [34] Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:30-34 (KJV) 


This is a higher principle than you hear taught today.  It teaches us that God is the one who clothes us and not us alone.  You might say at this point, “I made the money to buy my house and car.”  My response would be, “Who gave you your job, or better yet, who gave you the wisdom to know how to work?  Who determined that you were born in America the land of opportunity?  Who gave you a healthy body so you could work?”  The answer of course is God.  This can be humbling and exciting at the same time.  The apostle Paul spoke of this.


“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Cor. 4:7 (KJV) 


When we meditate on this for a moment we can see some basic principles of success.  First the only one who makes us to differ from another person is God.  He made us the way we are in physical and emotional health.  Secondly, everything we have has been given to us.  Our education, health, I.Q., upbringing and basics of life have been received from another source.  Much of it was free of charge to us.  This should give way to an attitude of humility.  Some, he said, glory (or boast) about their success even though it had been endowed upon them from another source.  All of us would do well not to have this kind of attitude.  When we understand that the very foundation of our lives is held up by the grace of God it will make us thankful.  This perspective can diminish depression, anger, frustration and a host of negative and destructive feelings.  Good success is being happy no matter the situation.  Good success is having a solid foundation in life that isn’t dependent upon having things. 


“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philip. 4:11-13 (KJV) 


When Jesus Christ is the center of your life and his teachings are applied, success will be sure to follow.  David the second king of Israel gave us the very same principles in his very first Psalm.  It should be our very first priority also.


“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [2] But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. [3] And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3 (KJV) 


Question #3  What is your personal plan to achieve success?




Sometimes our drive for success is nothing more than a quest for happiness.  True happiness cannot be found in things but in relationships.  It’s not what a person has that makes them happy it is who they are with.  When Jesus goes with us we will be satisfied and blessed.  When we go it alone we are sure to mess things up.  This lesson has been designed to minister to your personal situation.  If it has blessed you please let me know and tell a friend about this site, it would be a great encouragement to hear from you.   I would also like to recommend another lesson entitled “Finding Happiness” found in the Bible Study section.  I believe it will shed additional light on this very subject.  If you would like to talk to someone about this lesson or any other situation please let me know and we will give you a way to do so.  Thanks again for stopping by and I hope to see you soon.




Greg Wirths


Focus on Freedom


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  1. […] have written a study entitled “Becoming Successful” which goes further into this subject and may be a starting point for real blessings.  Why not […]

  2. Akin says:

    I love this! I’m blessed.

  3. Ana jackson says:

    Love this!!!

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