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What Is Success?


If you were to be asked what your definition of “success” is, what would be your response? It isn’t difficult to decipher what our culture’s definition of that word is. The definition is nearly everywhere you look. You see it in billboards, television, storefronts, magazines, and you hear it on the radio and in everyday conversation.

What that definition basically boils down to is this…Materialism. If you’re successful, you’ve got a large house, two expensive cars, multiple flat screen televisions, and on and on and on. Even many who do not own such things often lust after them to one degree or another. The attraction of material things is difficult to escape in the society in which we live.

Why, we’ve even been handed down the notion of “The American Dream” from our fathers and forefathers. The idea is that every generation can enjoy a better, richer, and happier life. In the beginning, that idea wasn’t at all a bad thing because many did not attach the kind of materialism to it that we think of nowadays. However, the American Dream has come to be, in my opinion, nothing more than a haphazard race by which we Americans try to attain as many material goods as possible in as short a time as possible.

The term “American Dream” was coined by James Truslow Adams and he had this to say about it…

The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

He also added…

The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.

That last quote holds the key…It should not be a dream of material plenty, though the results of it may hold that in store for those who are “successful”. It is a dream of being the men and women that God intended for us to be.

Success is a father who does right by his family and is respected by his wife and children. Success is a wife who does her best to raise her children despite difficult circumstances. Success is a businessman who gives his life to help the poor and needy when he could be earning hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and keeping it for his own. Success is someone who gives their neighbor a warm smile and a listening ear when hard times are upon them. Finally, success is personified by Jesus Christ, the one who lived the most successful life of all and gives that life freely to those who accept it for their own.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:7


3 Responses

  1. Great stuff, David. I’m printing this out for the kids to read.

  2. I totally am loving this site, totally going to have to add this to my blogroll.

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