The Secret of Success Isn’t What You Think

The key to a successful life may surprise you.

“But he that glorieth, let him glorieth in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17, KJV).

There comes a moment when we all contemplate how we got to this place, to this point in our earthly existence.

We ask ourselves if our life has meaning…

If we will leave a legacy…

If we have found success…

These questions fill my head a lot lately. More than I’d like.

I feel like the sun trying to find its place in the sky. I rise with hope and promise, but then fall as my light diminishes into darkness, into nothingness. And there I wait, dull and distant, until the time to shine comes again.

Maybe your life’s allegory isn’t the sunrise and sunset like mine. It could be the highs and lows of a rollercoaster, the shifting ocean tides, or the peaks and valleys of a mountain.

It’s all the same, really.

The ambition of succeeding can leave us stuck chasing glory rather than giving glory to the one who deserves it. Click To Tweet

The world's definition of success takes our focus off God and puts it on ourselves.

Success renders a false sense of joy and worth that eventually disappears.

The answer to what is success can blind you to true joy.

Don’t be fooled. Success might seem like a blessing, but if we aren’t careful it transforms into a burden. It involves carrying a heavy load on our backs rather than releasing a weight from our shoulders.

Think about it. Success comes with an at-times insatiable desire for more of it—the recognition, the power, the prosperity—which results in a constant forward motion of living for and rejoicing in ourselves rather than abiding in Christ.

We get addicted to the high of accomplishing a goal and lose the essence of joy in the process.

And boy, have I been losing my joy these last few months.

…No one reads my writing. UNSUCCESSFUL

…My son keeps getting in trouble. UNSUCCESSFUL

…I don’t contribute financially to my family. UNSUCCESSFUL

I didn’t notice the vice-like grip my drive for success had on me until I confessed to my husband that I felt worthless. Until I spoke aloud about the sadness and disappointment of not receiving recognition for hard work.

And then my husband said something profound:

“You’re making success about what you do rather than who you are.”

Wow. Pretty sure my mouth dropped wide open with that truth bomb.

Isn’t that so true? Nothing we do will ever be enough because we are sinners and we live in a fallen world.

But who we are?

We are God’s children. We have worth because of Him and joy because of what He did.

Don’t let the world’s definition of success define you.

You are more than the sum of your accomplishments. Your value comes from the God who loves you because you belong to Him, not because you work hard to receive His love. God gives you worth whether you succeed or fail.

Do you believe that?

I do, even though I forget. Like I forgot just a short time ago as I spoke to my husband about my sadness. Now I see the blip in my memory for what it was: A moment in time where I put my glory in front of the Lord’s.

The Bible warns against this in Proverbs 25:27 (KJV), when it says:

“It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not to glory.”

I can see the need for this caution, can’t you?

When we glory in our successes, we define ourselves by what our imperfect selves can do and that isn’t much without Christ.

When how to be successful in life overshadows Christ living in you, you’ve missed something.

My friend, don’t you know that you’ve already received the highest prize and the greatest position as believers in Christ? Your endgame is an eternity with your Father in heaven.

And to think you didn’t, couldn’t even if you tried, earn it.

I wonder if a part of me still isn’t trying to earn my salvation. Don’t get me wrong. I know I can’t earn it and I know it won’t be taken away. But man oh man do I feel unworthy of it.

Don’t you feel this way sometimes?

For me it comes when I can’t seem to break free from sin. As I compare myself to others. When effort doesn’t produce results. (Maybe this is when the need to become successful creeps in?)

The pain of unworthiness, of having no value, hurts like a million shards of glass ripping through skin, slicing until they reach our heart. Doesn’t the enemy want us to feel that deep and intense pain so that we forget who lives inside of us?

This week, my assistant pastor shared words of wisdom that he received years ago while struggling with the idea of success in the church. He said: “God doesn’t call us to be fruitful, He calls us to be faithful.”

Too often I’m seeking to glory in myself, in my abilities, and it’s exhausting. Defeating. Joyless. I don’t know about you, but what I want—and really need—is to glory in my King and His power to produce the harvest.

Jeremiah 9:24 says:

“Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

God doesn’t delight in our success. He delights in lives that reflect Him and His character.

Being successful isn’t important but revealing God’s glory in us is.

And most people don’t get that. They won’t understand that what the world values isn’t what God values.

That shouldn’t prevent you from living a life that reflects God’s love.

That shouldn’t stop me from humbling myself before His righteousness.

But just in case it does, try to remember this:

We don’t have to become successful to claim our worth. We need to believe that Christ living inside us gives us worth. Click To Tweet

Finding out how to be successful doesn't give you worth.




6 thoughts on “The Secret of Success Isn’t What You Think

  1. You’ve got one wise husband, Crystal! But I totally get how you’ve felt. I think most bloggers and stay-at-home moms struggle with the same kinds of feelings you shared. I’ve certainly struggled with them at times myself. In fact, my small group is reading “It’s All Under Control” by Jennifer Dukes Lee and this is exactly the stuff she’s tackling. It’s convicting me in many ways to make my life all about Christ and not about what I can accomplish. Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing a very relevant and powerful message with us today! Pinning, my friend!

  2. I struggle with this in my blog- I see something I worked so hard on get ignored and I forget I wrote it because God asked me to, not because I want the applause of humans. This is such an important point.

  3. “Putting our worth in what we do rather than who we are.” I think this is a struggle for many Christians. For me it’s having to ask God to remove the pride. Being human my flesh wants some validation or recognition but I also have to remind myself that I’m doing what I do for God. That I, myself is what I have to lay at the altar. Giving me to Him over and over. Such truths here and you shared your heart do beautifully!!

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