edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hey this is a simple question but there might not be simple answers or there might be lol :P
How do you know if you're successful and on the right path?
What if you fail a few times? Does God become disappointed everytime?
I hope i made sense.. if not please ask! ;D
Irini Pasi
Sis in Christ, makook


  • Hi Sis,
    do u mean sucessful and on track spiritually or with other stuff like school, uni or jobs....
  • A friend of mine write this....
    This is the basis for the theme of the midwest convention this year. I know it will be the theme for the graduate convention from Jule 22-24, and possible the theme for the undergraduate convention July 21-24 (yes, the same weeknd)
    I hope this helps!! register for the convention, email me or try (but its still being updated! In Christ, me

    Questions Regarding Success

    The theme we agreed upon for the first annual Midwest Young Professionals Convention is “Success through Christ”, and as a group, we decided to segment the topic of success into these three subtopics: firstly, success in our respective individual personal relationships with Christ, secondly, success with others (social life, Christian fellowship), and thirdly success at work (professional).

       As I contemplate this idea of success, I find that in general, we usually ask the wrong questions. The purpose of these conventions is largely to help us answer burning questions that we face in our daily lives. However, as regards this specific topic of success, I am mostly concerned about the questions we ask, the questions themselves, rather than the answers we seek. Perhaps before we attempt to address the answers, we need a make-over in our whole mode of thinking, so that we begin to ask the right questions, the questions that aim straight at the heart of God.

       For the most part, I get the impression that the type of question we usually want to see addressed at conventions, at youth meetings, or at retreats, is usually framed in this form: “how can I do/have/pursue X, and still be a good Christian?” (Substitute anything for X). This is why we young people always request “practical advice”, “practical lessons”, “practical issues” to the point where anytime we discuss topics for any conference or retreat, it is almost guarantee that someone will say precisely this, “let’s discuss something practical”. What we really mean is “how can we be in the world and still be ‘good Christians’”? So, how can I have what I want without displeasing God? For example, young couples like to ask: what kind of physical contact is permissible according to the Church during the period of engagement? Professionals like to ask: how can I conduct business in such a way so as to maximize profit, without reaching a level of dishonesty that is reproachable in the sight of the church? “Would this be considered dishonest? Would that be considered dishonest?” All of us like to ask: how can I pursue my dreams and ambitions in life without losing sight of my spiritual calling as a Christian? In short, all this amounts to how we can possibly maximize our own personal gain without crossing some line that we believe God has placed in front of us with a warning sign over it. We’re always looking to see just how far we can go without overstepping that line, that imaginary line… There’s a constant tension, a dichotomy between what I want and what is required, and I believe this whole way of thought is fraught with problems and confusion, and is ultimately destructive of everything that is good. It is not the way God intended for us to go about our lives.

    So we ask and we go on asking in our “religious pursuits”, “how can I get more in spite of God?” (even though we would never frame it in these words). Rather, I believe we should ask a different type of question that is framed in this way: “How can I get more of God?” Young couples should ask: how can I maximize the pleasure of pursuing a holy relationship the way God intended? How can I maximize the pursuit of honor and holiness? How can I go farther and farther in honoring my to-be husband or wife? How can I do more, rather than “what can I get away with?” The same goes for the other issues. How can I have a glorious career, the way God intended? How can I lift and increase the name of Christ more and more at my workplace? How can I worship Him in my daily tasks, through my professional duties? C.S. Lewis brilliantly noted*** (whole quote below): “it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.” This is precisely the problem. We have believed a lie that what God wants from us is undesirable. All the rewards promised we have taken to be abstract moralistic rewards, having nothing to do with real pleasure. We think God’s menu is the less meaty one, and have forgotten the psalmist who declared, “My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness (Psalm 63:5)”. Accordingly, we have come to believe that what God wants from us is at odds with what we would want for ourselves. And thus, we have set our ultimate goals and dreams at war with God’s will. We have not stopped and considered that perhaps God’s will truly is what we would want, really is the most satisfying, in a real tangible sense, really pleasurable, not just in an abstract religious rhetoric…

    The one who commanded Adam, “fill the earth and rule it”, certainly did not intend for Adam to feel that he must deprive himself of all the pleasures and successes of the creation that God Himself had made, that were His idea to begin with. In fact, this is the very same lie the serpent fed to Eve before feeding her the fruit: "Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'? (Genesis 3:1)" Tsk, tsk, tsk: is God really holding out on you? Is God really that stingy? "… You will not surely die. 5For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)" Did the serpent not hit precisely on the issue of success? Eve, God doesn’t want you to be successful… God doesn’t want you to be like Him. He doesn’t want you to obtain the knowledge this tree will give you, because He wants to control you rather than give you freedom. Ironically, somehow the evil one convinced Eve that the exact opposite (!!!) of God’s intentions is true.

    God doesn’t want you to be like Him…

    "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. (Genesis 1:26)"

    And that’s the truth, but we still believe the lie today…

    God sees our desires as being too weak rather than being too strong, and the devil has us believing that God wants us to desire less, whereas in reality, He wishes we would desire more. We think that Christian living means we ought to undermine our own desires, while in reality, it means we ought to desire what God desires. And in fact, God desires our success. To say otherwise would be to imply that God made a mistake. He endowed us with gifts, talents and means to do things that have no purpose, at least not to Him. Then, all the gifts and talents He gave us, the power of invention, the ability to create music, art, poetry, the ability to heal others with medicine, to design shelter and bridges to connect what is separated, to observe nature and to describe it with elegant and simple equations, to have deep insight into life and its purpose, all this is an accident. Does God do anything without a purpose?

    And this is the question I think we need to ask and seriously consider as we consider our own success, each one of us: what is God’s purpose for my success? Again, this question is to replace the kind of question that says, “How can I pursue my dreams and my success without having God oppose me?” Do we ever think about why we have the job we have? It was God’s idea in the first place. So, He must have had a purpose for it. It is not just something we have to do. I think the reason we are often so unhappy is that we want less than God wants for us, not that we want more than what God wants for us. For example, God may have intended that I become a great musical composer, but instead, I was concerned about having a career that is stable, prestigious and that is guaranteed to bring in a good amount of money. God might have intended that I become a great physician, but instead, I wanted to play in a rock band that didn’t quite make it. God might have intended that I become a great physicist. Instead, I am a mediocre physician, because what I wanted was much less than what God had envisioned for me. I wanted the prestige and the stability, whereas God might have planned for me to make significant contributions and be rewarded for them. How many of us are eager to commute to our workplace in the morning? We certainly should be since we spend most of our waking hours at that place. The way we circumvent this problem of mediocre success is to understand what is God’s purpose in all this (?), not how can I achieve my purposes without stepping on God’s toes so to speak? God is a visionary. We always talk about “God’s plan”. The reason such a thing exists is because God has goals, purposes, and ambitions. He is a visionary. He is not satisfied with the status quo. We can use being directed by such a guide if we want to be *wildly successful*, not merely *comfortable in mediocrity*.

    To prove this point (and it seems that we need to hear this proof), Scripture is quite clear that God Himself is wildly successful, surprisingly so. Indeed, from the very beginning,

    “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)”.

    Later on in God’s story, when Job asked Him what he had done to deserve his suffering, God said this:

    3Now prepare yourself like a man;
    I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
    4"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell Me, if you have understanding.
    5Who determined its measurements?
    Surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
    6To what were its foundations fastened?
    Or who laid its cornerstone,
    7When the morning stars sang together,
    And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    8"Or who shut in the sea with doors,
    When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
    9When I made the clouds its garment,
    And thick darkness its swaddling band;
    10When I fixed My limit for it,
    And set bars and doors;
    11When I said,
    "This far you may come, but no farther,
    And here your proud waves must stop!'
    12"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    And caused the dawn to know its place,
    13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
    And the wicked be shaken out of it?
    14It takes on form like clay under a seal,
    And stands out like a garment.
    15From the wicked their light is withheld,
    And the upraised arm is broken. (Job 38:3-15)

    I wish I could include the whole passage, this CV of God’s magnificent accomplishments, of which we can use being reminded, but alas, this spans a few chapters… In essence, God said, “Job, trust Me; I am good at what I do. I am good at My job…”  This pattern continues, and God has many other such records in his portfolio: 37And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak. (Mark 7:37)"

    Before Christ breathed His last on the cross, it is no small thing that He said these words:

    “It is accomplished”.


    God has done all things well. If He made us according to His image, even to have dominion over the earth as He has dominion over the whole Universe, we are to do well as He does well to run and manage all of creation. This is what we need to believe. It is not a difficult concept to understand, but it seems that it is a very difficult truth to believe, that God wants to give us an abundance, that He has hopes, dreams, and big ambitions for us. How many of us pray to God and expect something glorious of our careers, of our marriages, of our friendships, and yes, of our prayer lives, not just something that is satisfactory, that meets the minimum:

    “11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)”

    God promises success to us:

    Blessed is the man
    Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
    2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
    3He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
    And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalms 1:1-3)

    1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
    Who walks in His ways.
    2When you eat the labor of your hands,
    You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
    3Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
    In the very heart of your house,
    Your children like olive plants
    All around your table. (Psalms 128:1-3)

    6He who continually goes forth weeping,
    Bearing seed for sowing,
    Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
    Bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6)

    To conclude, the most important issue we face in pursuing success is the issue of belief. We need to believe that God desires good things for us, and we need to be more ambitious, and to want the big things that God wants for us, rather than the small things that we think we want. We need to believe that God’s way will bring real tangible success, and real satisfaction and pleasure. We need to learn to look for satisfaction, pleasure, and joy rather than settling for comfort alone. We need to think big because our guide is prone to think big. When He wanted to take the Israelites out of Egypt, it wasn’t some small inconspicuous caravan, but a huge spectacle. Why? Because this is God, and God is no joke. However, they really needed to trust Him. Even when they seemed to have their backs against the wall, He gave them incredible success that was very visible, not just success in abstract religious talk. We need to believe also that “He who sees in the secret will reward us openly.” The Heavenly rewards that we will not see in this life are also real, visible, and tangible. We need to let God be God, which means glorious things for us, not just the small things that the world promises, like financial comfort and prestige. We need to be willing to take risks for Him. Most importantly, as we pursue success in every aspect of life, we need to ask what kind of success God has in mind, not what kind of success God won’t mind… This is a question that is very difficult to answer and a good one to explore at the convention… What is God after? Is it just that we make it, that we get a passing grade (especially spiritually), or is there more to it than that? There isn’t career, family, and then spiritual life as separate “compartments”. I am not to be a good engineer and still be Christian, a good friend and still be Christian. Rather, Christ is after one thing, and every aspect of life must have a purpose in His one grand plan. He is after one thing that encompasses all of life. How do these things of life fit into what God is going after? In other words, instead of asking how to include God in our success, we need to ask (and answer!) how to include our success in God (and in God’s plan). This is the question we ought to answer and is a good one to address at the convention: how does my success in my personal interactions with Christ, with my family, and with others fit into God’s plan, and His purposes for me and for the world? How does my presence at the workplace serve His purposes? And even the small duties that I perform, what is His purpose in those? What are God’s thoughts about this issue of success? What is His desire and how are these various aspects of life to satisfy God’s desires? Perhaps, if we start to think the way God does our goals and ambitious might become a lot less boring, and a lot more like His.

    I will leave you all with the full quote from C. S. Lewis, who said it much better than I could have:
    The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.
    If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1965], pp. 1-2.)
  • That was amazing elshammaa!!!! :)
    I learned a lot and it's a very good topic for a convention.
    Success can be, work and spiritually.
    heres another way i can ask the question:
    How do you know when God or if God is proud of us with anything that we do in life? Are we on the right path?
    sis in Christ, makook
  • oh and everyone you could say what you guys usually do or any moments u've known when u've been successful
    irini and God bless
    sis in Christ, makook
  • this response looks so hopeless after elshammaa;s awesome 3000 word response...that was really good from what I read!..
    Want i wanted to simply say was that we must ask and believe that God reveals his plans for us. I know it sounds too simple but if we do tell God we wish to fulfill his desire, God will show us the way. We should look out for God's signs too because God gives us many messages everyday.

    For example with me....In uni i wanted to do medicine or dentistry but i couldnt decide which to for uni course preferences i put med first then dent. So i was praying that God would help me get in med. However later on in the holidays a long time after i entered my uni preferences, for some wierd reason(s) i really wanted to do dent instead of medicine but i wasnt allowed to change my preferences cos it was too late...To cut a long and REALLY complicated story short God didnt give me a first round offer but gave me a late round interview for dent (but the chances of getting in are really small)...and i ended up getting a late offer to dentistry at Adelaide Uni. God helped me get through so many barriers -yr 12 mark, UMAT exam (only Australians would know wat this is...its really wierd), late round interview........All the time i was praying that God would help me do his will....

    Specifically for being spiritually on track we should try to analyse our ourselves according to Gods commandments and should compare ourselves in the mirror of Christ too...
  • Eh Ya Botros & elshammaa, that was awsome!!!!!! :o
  • thats was great, eh ya botros!!! im sure you deserved it with all the work and your faith in God! i liked how u said u prayed for God's will instead of "what you wanted and thought was good for you". I hope everything is doing well! and hopefully other people (me) can be as successful.
    allwe have to do is pray and let God lead the way!! ;)
    sis in Christ, makook
  • amen 2 that sis :D
  • Hey..

    Great stuff Eh Ya Botros...It's so great to think like that.. I'm sure we all try to all the time.. But it's not always that easy..It comes with prayer, and complete trust, that what the Lord will choose for us, is the right and correct path for us to follow.

    Like I always say..Everything happens for a reason. Whether or not we find out that reason, nonetheless it's there...and the Lord may or may not decide to reveal it to us..but we must believe that it's done for our benefit and advantage, trusting completely that the Lord loves his children.

    Thanks you guys..I wish I could have had the chance to read the really long response..But maleshy time is tight..Forgive me..:$ Need your prayers..

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