What is 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.” {Joshua 1:8}

The other day I was reading this passage; I had already been contemplating the question, ‘What is success?’ and this started me thinking even more. I mean we can all figure out the world’s definition of being successful. If we have a good job [and we’re on top of the corporate ladder], we drive a Caddy or a BMW [or a Ferrari], we have lots of investments and a huge house. But what I was wondering is, what is success supposed to look like for the Christian.

Unconsciously, before I starting really thinking about all this, my view of success was finishing what you’ve begun. And although in some cases that can be true, I can think of some circumstances where that idea held me back from doing what I was supposed to be doing. At one point last spring, I felt the need to quit a job that I had only been working at for less than two months. For a while before I quit, and even after, I struggled with the fact that I didn’t finish what I’d started. I came to the conclusion that success doesn’t always mean that you have to finish it. So if that’s not success, and neither is money, or a job, or a car and house, than what is?

Even the definition of success leaves you hanging:

“a degree of measure of succeeding / A favorable termination of a venture / one who succeeds / obtaining wealth, favor or eminence.” [Websters Dictionary]

So basically, success is measured by what *you* think is a favorable termination of a venture. [Or by what our culture thinks]

So is success by God’s standards physical things? Is it spiritual gifts? Is it the amount of people that you win for the Lord? Is it the amount of work you do?

Is it being rich? Is it being smart? Is it helping lots of people? Is it just plain doing exactly what the Lord tells you?

The Hebrew meaning of the word is:

To be intelligent, consider, expert, instruct, prosper, deal prudently. give skillful, teach, to have and make to understand[ing], wisdom,  behave self wisely, make wise, guide wittingly.

In the other parts of the bible where this word is used the word is translated wisdom. Maybe success doesn’t have a tangible form, and maybe it looks different for each person that is following the will of God for their life.I think it’s more like wisdom, behaving wisely, teaching, instructing, to make wise, to make to understand.

“Only may the Lord give you wisdom [success] and understanding.” {1 Chronicles 22:12}

“The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel… to receive the instruction of wisdom [success], justice, judgement and equity.” {Proverbs 1:3} 

“A man will be commended according to his wisdom [success].” {Proverbs 12:8} 

I guess, though, regardless of what success looks like, the way to get there is laid out in the first verse that we read….

“The book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, that you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe what is written….”

I wish you all much success, in God’s terms!