February 22, 1995

How To Measure Success

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It's often difficult to tell who is successful and who's not. Our culture holds up a standard of success that centers on money, prestige, and power, and it's easy for followers of Christ to get sucked into using that same standard. If someone has a good job, drives a trendy car, lives in an upscale neighborhood, and has a well- dressed wife and kids, he must be a success, right?

Not necessarily.

If success is built on anything besides a person's relationship with Jesus Christ, it will not hold up when life goes sour and one thing after another is taken from him.

At the beginning of the Book of Job, the main character was considered hugely successful. He easily could have based his success on the fact that he was a good husband and father, an expert businessman, a pillar of the community, or a wise philosopher. But then when all that was ripped away, he would have found himself wallowing in the depths of failure.

Instead, Job defined his success on his intimate relationship with God. This, and this alone, was what enabled him to utter those amazing words in Job 1:21: “The lord gave, and the lord has taken away; may the name of the lord be praised.”

Life has a way of giving things to us and taking things away from us—things that outside observers would list as the trappings of success. But developing a huge stock portfolio doesn't bring us joy. Working in the corner office doesn't bring peace. Having healthy families won't satisfy our deepest need for fulfillment.

It was Job's unwavering belief in God that made him successful—at the beginning of the book, in the midst of his suffering, and at the end when all God's blessings returned to him.

What is your standard of success? Perhaps it's time to reevaluate to see whether it's based on something temporary or Someone eternal.

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