Success results from one’s character and knowing one’s purpose. It is also making a commitment to excellence and having the discipline to achieve. Most successful people need core values as to what they believe in order to make correct decisions consistently. The Bible tells the importance of being truthful; being decisive and honorable will lead to success. I have had the privilege of having attended many leadership seminars. I have read many, many books on successful leadership and rules of becoming successful. I have studied Scripture almost daily, for more than fifty years. My background is a high school coach, a production foreman for Birds Eye Frozen Foods, 23 years as a store manager for Montgomery Ward and 28 years as a business consultant and financial advisor. Following is what I have been taught:

Successful people are usually early risers. They are people who prepare and are organized. Their confidence comes from their accomplishments and achievements. They are ones who believe they can be successful and expect to be. Let me stress, success starts with knowing your purpose in life. Scripture tells us, God’s purpose for us is never an afterthought; it was planned prior to our birth. The Bible is very clear that God has a purpose for us and he created us with the abilities to fulfill whatever that purpose might be.

Satan has an agenda to keep us from performing what God had intended for us. Satan plants the seeds of insecurity, low self-esteem, unworthiness and even fear to stop us from completing what God intended. He may use parents, siblings, teachers or employers to put us down. It seems he finds ways to discourage and defeat us, but only if we allow it. Most people live lives with God-given gifts that they have never developed or used. Successful people overcome the negative thinking that we confront daily. What would the world be like if we all sought God’s intended purpose and we used our talents to go with it? There is a time coming when that will happen, it is called the Millennium or a 1000 years when Christ rules.

Confidence is an area that many people feel inadequate. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Confidence can result from believing God, through the Holy Spirit, He wants us to be successful and prosperous. We are told He will meet our needs. God wants to use our competitive spirit to be flexible, be a risk taker and to increase our faith and courage. Confidence often comes from adequate preparation, repetition and experience. When favorable results occur, give God the credit as He is the one who will help you become successful. We must have a humble spirit. The Bible teaches to be meek. That does not mean weak. There are times that require sternness.

Here are a number of things the Bible teaches a successful person to do: You must have a vision, goal or purpose in whatever you are doing. There must be clarity of purpose. Too often, people have too many uncertainties and their purpose is not transparent.

The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:7 “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 “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” . I Corinthians 10:31b

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 today’s workplace. As far as they are concerned, survival in the workplace jungle demands that successful people must be both ruthless and aggressive. Christians who separate their spiritual lives from the workplace must address the question of ruthlessness from a “bottom line” perspective or doing whatever is necessary to become a success. We believe that you must never be aggressive; you can do better by being assertive.

Is there a difference between being aggressive and assertive? Let me interject a fine distinction between being aggressive and assertive. Aggressiveness employs a combative attitude. Its 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. An example of success, with an aggressive behavior, is Mr. Trump running for president. My recommendation is to be more assertive and humble. That example is more Carly Fiorina, also running for president. Can you see aggressiveness is the world’s way and assertiveness is God’s way?

So I ask the question: How important is success to you? You must first define what success 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 material goods your goal, or are they the by-product of serving God and putting Him first? Christ was the most powerful person ever to 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. Success is also determining one’s purpose and pursuing it with all the passion one has and doing whatever you have chosen; do it to please God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in making every major decision.

The more we study the Bible and become more spiritual and Christ-like the greater is our motivation, we are more energized, enthused and it usually raises our productivity. We have a greater commitment to following the teachings of Christ. We become more trusting and obedient to the commandments of God. As our attitudes change, we learn to love rather than hate, to forgive rather than be unforgiving. As our spiritual condition gradually changes, our perspectives on life should change. We can overcome the hindrances of being critical, jealous, greedy, prideful, having unbelief or lustful. There is a worldly success and a spiritual success. We want to be successful in the eyes of God and not necessarily in the world’s eyes.

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