I recently got promoted at work (yay?) Those people that know have inundated me with congratulations at my “success.” Coworkers, family, and friends, are very happy for me because I have finally achieved “success,” Indeed, I am also glad, this will be a big help with paying the bills. Success is a tricky thing, along with most people in this world, I have been looking around for it for a long time and many people think I have found it. So how can such a tricky thing be found? By using tricks, of course! Below are the greatest tricks to understanding and finding “success”
1. Stop thinking you deserve success
This is exactly the opposite of conventional wisdom which says “you deserve it, so take it.” I would submit to you that the only way to find “success” is to understand you don’t deserve it. The minute you think you deserve “success” is the moment when you become miserable with you state of “unsuccess.” If I think that I deserve X, and yet I don’t have X, that makes me think I am being robbed of X. That leads to spite, envy, anger, and frustration. If you think you deserve anything in this world, you will always be angry by the fact that you don’t have it. And when you do get that thing, you will never be happy or satisfied, because you are only getting what you deserve, only a baseline, only the bare minimum. You are never getting something amazing, something that will genuinely cause you to jump for joy because it is so unexpected and undeserved.
2. Reimagine what success is
Success is the opposite of failure. Yet most people assume that “success” distinctly refers to the amount of financial privileges and social prestige one obtains. Famous and rich, though you may prey on the weak and needy, you a marvelous success. Obscure and poor, even if you help thousands, you are a miserable failure. Yet is that really the true nature of success? If that is the case, then most people in this world are failures. Very few are truly successful. A tiny percentage, the very rich or famous have succeeded, and the rest are failures, is that the case? The poor schoolteacher in Uganda that devotes her life to raising kind educated children is a failure, and Charlie Sheen’s drug induced rants about “double winning” is successful? No way! We must reimagine success, for our primary icons of success are those who live out the greedy, vain, and prideful fantasies we have in our heads.
3. Work hard for good, not for rewards
Before the Reformation, most people were raised and taught that only the priests do a sacred work that matters. During the Reformation, Martin Luther, and others, changed the culture to understand that all work done by the Christian is Christian work. Every kind of work, no matter how “unspiritual” or “unimportant” is sacred, because the people that perform it, do it “unto the Lord.” In fact, this is how “success” can be measured. You have been placed on this earth, not for your own goals, greed, and gains, but for Christ’s fame. To work hard and do well where you have been placed, using the talents you have been given is a successful path. To work only for personal rewards will ultimately be a failure, not a success. Pleasure derived from wealth, fame, and etc will last only as long as your life. When you die, your personal selfish “success” dies with you. Unless you worked hard in the place and vocation you were planted in, on an eternal mission to redeem culture, build the church, and glorify Christ. Those things are eternal, they will not die with you like earthly rewards. When you work hard for Jesus, even simple things like installing a door at a hospital will last forever. When you work hard for your selfish reward, even big things like finding yourself on Time magazine will be eternally forgotten.
4. Trust in Christ’s Success
There are many types of “success” we can identify. But ultimately it is either success at a selfish mission for you, or success at a selfless mission for Jesus.
You can live in one of two ways:
1. Loving others, with great joy, for Christ’ fame, with eternal satisfaction.
2. Loving only yourself, with great envy, for your fame, with eternal disappointment.
Many people want to live #1, and that is a good thing, but unfortunately we are often living mission #2 and think it’s #1. We often assume that we can succeed at God’s mission and then we will have lived an awesome productive life, one from which we deserve rewards. This will lead us down a path of disillusionment and despair as we will fail time and time again. Or it may harden our hearts in pride as we think we are better than others around us. There is only one way to live a successful Christian life and that is stop trusting in our ability to be successful. Instead we ought to trust in Christ’s success and live in His success.
Jesus has never failed at anything. If you are a Christian, He successfully purchased you on the cross, and He promises to successfully keep you safe. If you trust in your own success, you will be disappointed, but if you trust His success, you will be satisfied, He won’t fail you.