Success and Eternity
1/21/10 at 07:53 PM 0 Comments

Success and Eternity

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Words represent thoughts or concepts. We use words as a primary means to communicate with each other. Among the thousands of words we use, there are some words that represent concepts with deep meaning for life. These are the kinds of words that take a lifetime of exploration to comprehend the depth and breadth of their true meaning. Success is such a word.

When I was a child, success was the achievement of a simple task. As I worked my way through college and grew in maturity, the definition of success gradually expanded. As I raised my own family, my concept of success as a man, husband, father, lawyer, businessman, and Christian seemed to go through phases. Perhaps I should say the concept of success became a greater mystery the older I got and the more I learned.

If there is one ultimate question in life, it might be, "What is the secret of a successful life?" Many have spent their entire lives pursuing what they thought was success only to find out on their deathbeds that they were terribly wrong. Many today boast of their success, but at the end of life's trail, will they still be boasting?

In my own pursuit of God, I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover with one question in mind. That question was, "What is God's definition of success?"

For me the answer to this question has been a life long journey. I had to experience worldly success and failure, joy and suffering. I had to climb the ladder of success, have the "perfect Christian family," and fall into the depths of sorrow, poverty and loneliness. It was necessary, I believe, for me to rise from the ashes and rebuild my life, but this time to succeed on God's terms.

I had to learn, not just intellectually, but from great sorrow, about the all-sufficient grace of God, his mercy, his purpose for me, the importance of total dependence upon him, and the meaning of life on this planet. I had often reflected on the Westminster catechism, "The purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever," but I had to learn what glorifying God meant in daily living. In short, I needed God to help me completely rebuild my theology and daily living on God's concept of success.

We live in a world that willingly feeds our lusts and promotes sin and deception. There are thousands of how-to books on success. Some are excellent, and some are full of lies. We don't want to hear the lies, because our flesh seeks pleasure with every ounce of energy. Our minds are constantly trolling for proof that we can have pleasure here and now. We are constantly bombarded by distorted theology that seeks to please the senses.

There are books on personal success, business success, financial success, relationship success, sexual success, and instant success. Pick a subject, and you can find an instant success manual on that subject. All you need is the formula for success, and there are thousands of them. There are seminars on success, infomercials on success, and Internet sites guaranteeing success. There is no shortage of success material on every imaginable subject known to man. We are obsessed with success, but is it a counterfeit success or the real thing? I believe the success which garners all the attention is the kind that is focused on money, power, recognition, and happiness.

We can chase the meaning of success by pursuing the opinions of men, and we can spend a lifetime pursuing success by trial and error. Or we can learn what God thinks about success and live it. The world wants to tell us what success is, and wants us to buy it (with real money), but we ought to pursue God's definition of success. The problem is most Christians either don't know what God's definition of success is, or they don't really want to know.

My book, Success and Eternity, is a Biblical analysis of success.  I was amazed by how many parables are in the Bible revealing God's thoughts about what success is, and what it is not. We also have  many examples of Believers from the Old and New Testaments who were given God's stamp of approval as to what success is, and what it is not. 

In the coming months I will share what I have learned on this subject of success.  If you want to jump ahead, you can order Success and Eternity on  You can also do what I did.  Start reading the Bible with one question in mind, "What does God think of Success?"

Until my next post, be thinking about your personal definition of success.  Has the world's definition and the doctrine of prosperity theology influenced your perspective on success?

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