Success Defined

successful man

Because the God of this world confuses many with his entrapment’s of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16), what is considered success has become misunderstood. The confusion is not about what the word means. Rather, it has to do with the fact success applies to specific areas, and it is possible to be a success in one area and a failure in another.

One may be a successful athlete but be a business failure. A person may be a successful executive but a failure as a husband or father. The successful family man may be a failure as a musician or artist.

Everybody has known success and failure (somewhere, sometime, at something). Now, when all is said and done, what does it take to make a successful life?

Success Isn’t In Material Things

The fact that one makes a lot of money or is a great success in some field of endeavor, is by no means the equivalent of a successful life. Al Capone was a successful crook (at least he was for a long time) and made lots and lots of money. But at the pinnacle of that success, he was even then a failure. Adolph Hitler wanted to kill Jews and conquer neighboring countries, but in his hour of greatest success in carrying out his ambitions, who would say he–as a man, his life–was a success?

If one succeeds in satisfying and gratifying the lusts of the flesh and eye, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16), that is not true success. Oh, sure, he succeeded at what he was trying to do, but what he was trying to do was so opposed to his own best interests that his is a legacy of foolishness and failure. It is much like a man wanting to commit suicide and succeeding at it. The more successful a fool is, the worse off he is.

God Defines Success

If you are unclear as to what makes life itself a success, then here is the definition:

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

The King James Version of the Bible suggests this is duty. But when properly translated we notice the passage literally says — ̏the whole of man.” The whole; whole suggests the fullness, the completeness or, if you please, the success and blessedness of man, is in fearing God and keeping his commandments. If you do that, then no matter what else of good or ill befalls you, you will be a success.


Your life, dear reader, is a success to the extent that you obtain the approval of your God. So, love God with all your heart, and your fellow man as you love yourself (Lk 10:27). Because submission to God and kindness to man are more important than hitting “home runs” in business or earthly enterprises.

What is success? It is Jesus saying, “Well done” and “enter in” (Matt 25:21, 23).

Author Unknown (Edited by Jack Critchfield)

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