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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

The Measure of Success

In this superficial, self-absorbed, me focused world we live in, we all have a way in which we measure success.

For some of us, success is simply based on wealth or the accumulation of wealth. For others, success may be found and measured by their social status. Things like how many friends they have on Facebook or how many followers they have on Twitter or Instagram. For churches, some pastors and many people of God, success is measured by the number of staff or congregants they have in their churches .

Regardless, success is also used to compare ourselves to others. This can be a way of feeling good about ourselves if someone else falls short of the measure we use. Here is where a real problem occurs. As we look at others and derive our own value or self-worth, we may find we fall short as often as they do.

No matter “the measure of success” we use. It is something we all do. The question is why does it matter to us?

It matters because we all want to be seen as successful and we all desire to be acknowledged and recognized on one level or another for that success.

This points to a character flaw we must be aware of. That flaw is covetiveness and it has always been a problem for humanity.

Jealousy, envy, and the like are all attributes of this flaw and when it is not acknowledged or is overlooked, it will always lead us left wanting. You see, success matters to us because we covet who others are and what they have.

I too have struggled with issues of self-esteem when I have compared myself to others. However, over time, I have learned to change the way I measure my success. “The measure of success” I use today is finding joy in what I do.

Here I find there is no jealousy or envy because my joy is not measured against anything. Instead, it is a by-product of something. That something is found in the realization I have been blessed with an abiding love and a growing faith in Jesus.

Here my measure is placed up against His life and the reality He went to the Cross, “for the joy set before Him”.

This is where my definition of success finds its roots. For if Jesus’s mission was successful because His death was its fulfillment, I can most certainly find joy in the opportunities I have while I am living.

Though this is true, it doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with this problem. Because, just like everyone else, I am always my first concern and my last consideration.

So, the next time you measure success in your life, maybe you can start by being joyful because of what you have instead of disappointed because of what you don’t. In the end, as with all things, you will decide if this is how you measure success!

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