11 Apr Definition of Success
Money, fame, popularity and gadgets are the things that go with success today. Many have come by these through hard work, diligence and providing relevant services or products for others. They have come by success the hard way but they did it with right hearts.
No doubt, many have gone about it the crooked way and have been termed successful too. It is possession of these things that define success in our world today. No wonder many go at it anyhow as long as they can have it. This is the foundation of corruption. The man in his “fallen state” sees success as the acquisition of these things and aims at getting them no matter the cost. Some have achieved these at the expense of their vital relationships, like family and marriage. Few have done things right, namely developing their gifts and engaging in services beneficial to humanity. They did not do things at the expense of the valuable relationships, around them.
When these are placed in the biblical context, some have said it is not God’s will that we should succeed, and if we have anything, the worldly folks will always have more than we can have. And they have their scriptures to back their beliefs and expectations in life.
What is known to few is that the god of this world, Satan, is involved in redefining things so that perversion can be seen to be normal and his kingdom of darkness can be seen to pervade many regions of the earth today. Poverty, criminality, perversion and manipulation seem to be the order of the day in many parts of the earth today. Values that should govern human life are perverted and humanity has lost values of dignity, prestige and honour. The stories heard from different parts of the world today show how human beings have lost value for life itself talk less of other things in life. Abuse, manipulation and oppression have become common place as human beings pursue their idea of success at the expense of other human beings.
Can we have true success? Is lasting achievable? Is there a value-based definition of success which is not at the expense of valuable relationships and taking advantage of others? Yes there is!
God’s definition of 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 then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Ingredients that make for success in life include disciplines, skill development, time management, diligence in life, living a life of purpose and setting and achieving goals. Being a blessing to others as well as being an inspiration for others to aspire to succeed, is also part of it.
He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.
The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge and inquires after and craves it, but the mouth of the [self-confident] fool feeds on folly. All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. Better is little with the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord than great and rich treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger appeases contention. The way of the sluggard is overgrown with thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him], but the way of the righteous is plain and raised like a highway.
A wise son makes a glad father, but a self-confident and foolish man despises his mother and puts her to shame.
He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke. The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out by pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished,
But he who gathers by labor will increase.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death. The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they refuse to do justice. The way of a guilty man is perverse; but as for the pure, his work is right.
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
What is the ‘right motive’ for doing the things we do? Is there any right motive? What are the wrong motives and why are they wrong? Motives, focus and expectations determine the rightness of our hearts or otherwise. Our motives eventually determine what we do. They say the ‘why’ will eventually determine the ‘what’ that we get to do. These are the reasons for all the wrong things we see in our world. Motive is a character issue just like faithfulness and subjects like humility. When selfish motives are allowed to prevail, what kinds of results are potentially possible?
In the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, those who are called to serve in the ministry face huge conflicts to pursue success with the right motive of love for God and not selfish gain.
Rev. Kola Ewuosho