Reflections: How Do We Define Success?

How do we define success?

I want to look at 3 ways that success is defined:-

A) By the world

B) By ourselves

C) By God

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A) The world says ‘that way’ Ask Siri and it says:- “Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose – the attainment of fame, wealth or high social status”.

B) As a child, I thought it was ‘this way’:- ‘The attainment of a childhood dream to be an Aeronautical Engineer who designed aircraft. I felt I had failed when I gained a degree in Mechanical Engineering and was persuaded to accept a job designIng sewers, as they explained that it was ‘similar to aircraft design, as sewers also involved flow’.  I still cant believe I fell for it”. (Dave Kelly)

However, I have to say that during the lockdown we seem to have managed ok without British Airways. I dread to think how we would have managed without Severn Trent. (Ian J)

C) God says “I define success ‘another way’:-

King David defined it God’s way:-

1 Kings 2:1 – As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:

“I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go”.

It seems that God’s idea of success is to observe His requirements and to live in obedience to His decrees and ways.

Jesus is the most successful person who ever lived! Why?

That is why, when Christ came into the world he said to God……“Here I am—it is written about me in the scrolls—I have come to do your will, my God” (Hebrews 10:5-7 fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 40:6-8)


1) Success is a life which has turned from sin and focused on God!

Matthew 4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Turning from sin to God is the prerequisite for a successful life. His love is unconditional – His favour isn’t.

‘Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God anointed him with the oil of joy’.

Hidden sin robbed king David of his joy – Repentance and Faith toward God restored it! (Psalm 51)

‘The Kingdom of God is……righteousness, peace and joy’.  (Romans 14:17)

Peace and joy are the fruit of a godly life!

2) Success is a life surrendered to Jesus!

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me”.


Luke 17:33 Jesus said “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it”.

3) Success is loving God and others!

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Like peace – Love is active not passive.

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A text, a phone call, a letter or card of encouragement to 2 or 3 others this week can make a huge difference in someone’s life

4) Success is making disciples!

Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you”

Davy shared a few weeks ago that Peace is active not passive. That Jesus said ‘Blessed are the Peace-makers not the Peace-keepers’. 

In the same way we can say ‘Blessed are the Disciple-Makers not the Disciple-Keepers‘.

Our mandate is to disciple and send and NOT to disciple and keep.

We are called to reach the lost – disciple them and send them to do the same!
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5) Pray

Matthew 6:5-6

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Jesus said ‘When’ not ‘If’ you pray and ‘When’ not ‘If’ you Fast (v16)
He anticipated that we would pray privately as well as publicly, calling on God from a place of intimacy with our Heavenly Father.

Not for the approval of men, but for the glory and honour of our Father in heaven!


Reflections is written by Ian Jones

To listen to Davy’s full message ‘click here’.