How to Succeed at Everything that Matters

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Sucess Weakness KidIn our culture, we underrate failure, and overrate success, so it might seem pointless to add my voice to the plethora of opinions about how to succeed. In fact, I recently did an Amazon search for “how to succeed” and found 27,857 books listed! Seriously, that’s a lot of noise out there about success, but I fear too many insights about this issue have got it dead wrong.

Several years ago, a middle-aged man named Tom came to me extremely discouraged. He told me, “I’ve spent my entire life trying to succeed at something . . . anything . . . but the golden ring is always just out of reach.”

I asked him an important question, “Tell me how you define success?” Without blinking, he rattled off a list of measurables and goals that “must be met” (his words) for him to feel accomplished. Most of them had to do with numbers and recognition by his peers.

I gently pushed back and responded, “What if success is different than you think? Is it possible you’ve been reaching for the wrong golden ring?” The look on his face was telling as I took just five minutes to redefine for him how God defines success.


 How God defines success:

1.    In God’s economy, success is faithful obedience.

We often measure success by the size of our assets or the awards or accolades given to us by others. God defines success by a very different standard. For Him, it’s all about the choice to yield to Him and to follow His path regardless of the financial or public rewards. We make God smile when we take risks and exercise faith in our pursuit of His kingdom. When we say yes to God, and obey Him regardless of the sacrifice or personal suffering, we are guaranteed the ultimate praise from the Father, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25).

Success Leap HQ

2.    In God’s kingdom, success involves embracing our weaknesses.

Most successful people will tell you they needed others in their journey. Many of us realize we can’t do it alone. Unfortunately, however, too many believe that to be successful they have to be strong. I disagree. In fact, I suggest that to be truly strong one must recognize how weak he or she is, and how desperate we are for support. We need God’s help. We must abide in the Vine to have life (John 15). And we find God’s strength only when we understand our weak human condition (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). The path to success does not deny our weakness; instead, it embraces it in humble dependence on God the Holy Spirit.

Success Resiliency

3.    With God, success is measured by our resiliency.

I know it has become cliché, but with the Father it really is more about the journey, not just the final destination. As Christ-followers, we’ll all end up in the same place for eternity, but what we learn in and through the struggle of life on planet earth is important. God asks us to keep going no matter what. He honors those who persist and resist regardless of the battles faced. God wants us to run with endurance, to finish the race, and to keep the faith (Hebrews 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:7). From the perspective of that “great cloud of witnesses” watching us, the truly successful are those who stay the course in stubborn determination to finish well.

My friend, Tom, had an “aha moment” when he realized he’d been pursuing a culturally-defined idea of success rather than a God-defined objective for his life. Perhaps you need a different perspective too?

Success Telescope

 May I pray for you?

Father, the world often teaches us something counter to Your revelation. Help us to unlearn what is contrary to Your word and Your ways. Reveal the truth, truth that will set us free to see Your kingdom come and Your will accomplished on the earth as it is in heaven.

Success Finish the Race

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8 Responses to How to Succeed at Everything that Matters

    • Thanks for sharing this on your site, Mary. Always appreciate you and what you do for the kingdom.

  1. Very good post Kurt. I have long feared as Christians many of us-self included at times, have our sights wrongly focused in terms of success. Preparing for our ‘real home’ somehow needs to be priority-we are only here for such a short time.

    We all have a destiny to fulfill here. In my mind, if we seek Him first and fulfill our destiny-our individual purpose for the ‘bigger picture’, everything else will follow.

    Just my opinion of course 🙂 my heart is to be people driven vs success driven and there are times it is so very difficult!

    Success….great topic and thoughtful post. Keep ‘rockin it’ for Christ!

    FYI: you are one of the most successful individuals I know! Your genuine love for God, family, and others…well…THAT IS SUCCESS!!! What else really matters?

    • Great insights, Kathy. Love the part about being “people driven vs. success driven.” Thanks for joining the conversation.

  2. I like how you defined success. I have been allowing God to sift some issues in my heart and reading this just affirms my walk is where I need to be. He is my vine and I’m so thankful that he prunes my heart to keep me seeking more of Him 🙂 Thank you Kurt for being so real and sharing yourself. You make a difference in my life……thank you!

  3. Pastor Kurt,
    Great post as always and great timing. I don’t know if you know that I am taking online Bible based classes through Liberty Online.
    I was very confident at first that this is what God’s plan is for me especially when I breezed through the Evangelism class and aced it with an A! However then came Apologetics and Bible together and things got a whole lot tougher and I begin to doubt myself but thankfully, my prayer partner and mentor for school encouraged me to just do my best and let God do the rest.I was really getting discouraged because I could not retain the information for the exams but then I realized that my goal is not to get an A every time but to learn from what is being taught and I am doing that.I guess the most important thing is I got an A in Bible and as one of my professors has said ” I want you to get a C in this class as long as you get an A in family.” I did not let him down. I got a C in Apologetics 🙂

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