How Important Is Success To You?

The world judges a coach’s success by the number of games he has won. An executive’s success is determined by how much profit he or she makes. The famous are evaluated by how wealthy or how well-known there are. The world teaches that the only way to get both is to be successful, regardless of the methods used to reach that goal. In other words, the end justifies the means. Many who want to be somebody don’t care if they achieve that by immoral methods or not. In many people’s minds, this may require you to be different or to be better than anyone else at what they do. If they can find a shortcut in reaching their goal, so much the better.

Those who are willing to do about anything to become successful often believe they will receive admiration from others by being better than the norm or making others envious of them. Some crave love and attention to such a degree that they have neither limits nor boundaries in getting what they desire.

I have witnessed leaders and managers who were so focused on production and profits that it became a point of obsession. The world might view this as healthy, but in some respects it is just the opposite. You may know of those who are so fixed on success that they are willing to put that over workers, society, the environment or anything else that may stand in their way. Aggressive people are sometimes reviled, yet at the same time they are often admired, respected and lavishly rewarded.

Las Vegas has seen the making of a number of multi-millionaires. Some of the wealthiest people in the nation live here. Some may have made their fortunes by questionable means. In spite of the stunning achievements of these overly aggressive people, does the end justify the means truly the best way to reach for success? Or more to the point, should Christians adopt the world’s way of doing business? Paul writes in Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” And 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. “

Too many Christians believe that unless they live and work as the world does, they will be at a disadvantage. Some claim that instead of using Biblical principles and standards; they have no choice but to be aggressive and to do whatever it takes to survive in this day and age.

Let me interject a distinction between aggressiveness and assertiveness. Aggressiveness employs a combative attitude. It means are severe and intense. The goal is the all in all. The aggressive person mows down anyone or anything that gets in the way of reaching the goal. Assertiveness, however, is boldness or confidence. The way one reaches the goal is as important as reaching the goal, but not at the expense of hurting others or utilizing questionable tactics.

It is important to point out that Christians are learning that they can live their lives and do their jobs without being aggressive and still be successful. No matter what we do we must use Biblical principles. I have found these principles can allow us to out-perform those who do not use them. If we place a high priority on serving and taking care of those with whom we deal with, we are much more likely to be prosperous and successful.

As a Christian I have never felt a need to separate my business life from my spiritual life. In fact, I don’t think it can be done. I continue to try and live according to the principles Christ taught at home, at work and interacting with others.

The most powerful reason for a Christian to reject ruthless and aggressive behavior is not so much about how it affects others but by how it will affect you. Questionable behavior is the result of allowing one’s worldly nature to reign unchecked. The more we give into it, the more dominate it becomes in our life. In time, our spiritual nature weakens to the point the Holy Spirit stops guiding us because we have stopped asking and listening. Colossians 3:5a – “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” It is sad when Christians want to succeed so badly they ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and yield to their self-centered, carnal natures. So I ask the question: “How important is success to you?” You must first define what success really means to you. Is it living and working to please God or to please others? What is more important: accumulating a lot of stuff or seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Is wealth and stuff your goal or the byproduct of serving God and putting Him first? Christ was the most powerful person to ever live. What was most important to Him? Was it His mission to gain fame and notoriety or to set an example that others could follow? He is our example! We were placed on this earth to live by that example and to lead in changing the hearts of others that they too might be Christian examples.

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