An interesting topic came up yesterday with my sixteen-year-old son. To preface, he has a strained relationship with his father. I won’t go into details but it makes things difficult for both. With that said, my son mentioned how his dad considers himself successful but doesn’t think his dad is as successful as he thinks he is.

My son pointed out that although he has a home, vehicles, and a job his father does not have a steady reliable income. His father is self-employed and runs a roofing, decking, and general construction business. So, of course, this is a slow time of the year with it being cold out but he still manages to do side jobs. Plus they are working on opening a haunted house during Halloween this year so that has been the primary use of his time. I tried to explain these are difficult times especially when you own your own business.

All of this prompted a question in me to ask him, what is your definition of success? Those were the first words out of my mouth without thinking. I told him, “My version of success and your father’s version is very different. What is yours?” And he went on to explain that he thought it was when you’re comfortable financially and physically basically. I explained to him that his father’s definition of success revolves around money, status, and materialistic items, worldly. My version of success started out as family oriented and developed into spiritualistic. At first, I said that if my children grew up to be positive contributors to society and light in this dark world then I have succeeded but I quickly changed that to the moment I step foot and am accepted into heaven will be when I know without a doubt that I have succeeded. Why that wasn’t my answer, to begin with, I don’t know.

We proceeded to continue to discuss some of these things and he played me a song. Rap isn’t really my thing but it was actually a pretty decent song talking about the light and darkness inside of us. The lyrics from NF’s song, “Hope” that caught me off guard was,

What’s my definition of success? (Of success)
Listening to what your heart says (Your heart says)
Standing up for what you know is (Is)
Right, while everybody else is (Is)
Tucking their tail between their legs (Okay)
What’s my definition of success? (Of success)
Creating something no one else can (Else can)
Being brave enough to dream big (Big)

Grinding when you’re told to just quit (Quit)
Giving more when you got nothing left (Left)

Now I am working on determining what God’s definition of success is.

My interpretation of success based on the bible is obedience to God, following His rules, assisting others in their walk with Jesus, and having the glories of heaven waiting when my journey on the earth comes to an end. I feel like all of these are evidenced in various scriptures in the bible.

Proverbs 3:1-4 ESV “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” (My absolute favorite)

1 Kings 2:3 ESV “And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,”

Romans 12:2 ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

It seems like the list could go on and on but to break it down simply our aspirations to walk with God and the outcome of that walk is what will determine our success based on scripture.

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