Monday, July 27, 2015

A Godly Measure of Success

Success, according to

Do you notice the connotation? Success is something that you and I attain. We shape it, find it, and seize it as our own. It’s up to us to set the goals that, once accomplished, are considered success.

Hold this definition up to the Bible’s definition of success:
……… there isn’t one.

Believe it or not, whenever we find the word “success” in Scripture, it’s very translated. If you look up success in a concordance and then trace back to the Hebrew or Greek, you’ll find definitions like “out,” “advance,” “prosper,” and “wisdom.”

You’ll also find that whenever “success” is used, it is accompanied by the clarifying words “from the Lord.”

Psalm 118 and Genesis 27:20 tell us that success is the Lord’s to grant. When examined more closely, the phrase in Hebrew is indicating that prosperity, also described in modern times as a blessing, is something given by the Lord.

In Nehemiah 2:20, we read the proclamation that God will give success. The Hebrew reads more closely “He will prosper to us.” Contemporarily “He will bless us with.”
David, as you likely know, “had great success, because the LORD was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14.) But the Hebrew more directly says that David “behaved in wise ways,” which led to the blessings of prosperity.

When Job cried out, “Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?” You see, success was never Job’s power or help…the Hebrew word here is “wisdom” (Job 6:13.)

Indeed, the popular Proverb 2:7, which reads “He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” uses the word success to describe what in Hebrew is “sound wisdom.” This sort of wisdom is called “helpful insight” and it advances a person, helping a person to abide in accomplishing that which they set out to do. Deliverance is involved.

And isn’t that right on?

Scriptural examples of success are all about receiving from the Lord and glorifying Him with that which is given.

Jesus’ success was measured by His Father being pleased. The disciples’ success was measured not by number of conversions or reach of message, but by responding to the call of the Lord accordingly.

Gain and attainment are merely the results of what Scripture calls success: wisdom and blessings. They are not the goal themselves.

Both wisdom and blessings are gifts from the Lord.

Doesn’t that change what you strive for?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” –James 1:5

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkupIntentionally Pursuing,Titus2sdayWoman to Woman WednesdayWomen with Intention, andTellHisStory.


  1. That absolutely changes what I strive for. Thank you for this clarification of true success: "Scriptural examples of success are all about receiving from the Lord and glorifying Him with that which is given." I too often get trapped in worldly success and never seem to reach my impossible definition for it. I have been encouraged by you today, Bethany :)!

    1. Impossible definition is according to the standards of this world so sets us for failure. Thank you for reading and encouraging me too Candace!! Blessings!

  2. I struggle with this quite a bit. I telecommute from home but I sometimes wonder how much more "successful" I could be if I stayed in the office. This provides a great perspective on success. Blessed to be your neighbor from #intentionaltuesday.

    1. Stuff like deciding to telecommute can so make us feel like we're "going ti wrong," but His way is better! Thanks for reading, so glad for this perspective in my own life as well : ) Blessings!

  3. So glad that He gives us wisdom. Where would we be without it? Pretty sure I don't want to know. :-) Thanks for linking up with the #RaRaLinkup today.

  4. I think true success is definitely defined as pleasing the Lord. But sometimes my mind and heart seem to forget and I find myself trying to measure up to the world! Thanks for this great reminder!

  5. I love this, Bethany, not because it's an easy word to hear. God's Word often goes against the world's standard. I'll be pondering success in the light of wisdom. Thank you, Bethany, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    1. Thanks, Crystal! His Word does often pull us from our natural, fleshly desires in the best (but most challenging!) way! Blessings!

  6. Hello Bethany, I enjoyed the article especially the scriptures you shared.
    Our definition of success should be tailored according to God’s Word and not what the world says.
    God bless