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Monday, February 10, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “Ten Simple Keys to Success”

E-Vangel Newsletter
February 10, 2014
[Pastorgraphs now online at]

Pastorgraphs: “Ten Simple Keys to Success”

“In everything you do, put God first,
and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”
(Proverbs 3:6, Living Bible)

Success is pretty simple. Not easy, but simple.

Of course, all depends on what and how you define success for yourself. Defining what success looks like for you will determine how you live your life. When you have a clear, precise definition of success, everything else in your life aligns to that goal, for good or bad.

Most people define success as fame, fortune and/or pleasure. Last week, another famous, very talented, and wealthy actor died a tragic death. He was successful in his career, but painfully unsuccessful at life. The list of “successful people” (as the world measures success) who die such tragic deaths grows almost daily.

If you define success as pride, power and passion, then you will follow those pathways. But hear what the Bible says, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Jesus warned about the snares of the world preventing true success: “…all too quickly the attractions of this world and the delights of wealth, and the search for success and lure of nice things come in and crowd out God’s message from their hearts.” (Mark 4:19)

On the other hand, if you define success as a life well lived, filled with love, faith and true happiness, then you are on your way to real success.

The formula for success has been around for centuries. King Solomon, one of the richest and wisest men to ever live, wrote: “He who loves wisdom loves his own best interest and will be a success. (Proverbs 19:8). Notice Solomon did not say “might be a success”; he promised “will be a success”.

So what is success? Is it achievable? And how do you measure if your life is successful or not? I offer the following:

Ten Simple Keys to Success (Your choices)

1.   Abundance or Wealth. Success has little to do with money. But most people equate success with wealth. Many of the richest people seem to be the most unhappy. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, more abundantly.” That abundance does not equate to money; it has to do with the genuine qualities of life that money cannot buy. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
2.   Happiness or Pleasure. Happiness is the state of well-being. Pleasures are not necessarily bad, but when laughter stops, the high vanishes, and the thrill is gone, they must be replaced with another. A successful person knows how to be content, as the Apostle Paul said, “whatever state I am in”.
3.   Purpose or Possessions. A life well lived is one in which you find and fulfill your purpose in life rather than stockpiling possessions. Success is giving life your best, regardless of your station in life. A successful person leaves this world better than they found it.
4.   People or Things. The world wants us to believe the person who ends life with the most “toys” wins. I saw a woman on TV who had hundreds of very expensive shoes in her closet, most of which she has never worn. Honest, positive relationships are more enduring than possessions.
5.   Spirit or Body. The reality of life is that as we mature and age, the body grows weaker, but the spirit can grow stronger. Take note this week of all the advertisements focusing on beauty, clothing, and the body. Then count the ads that focus on the spirit and soul. We will be much happier if we spent even a fraction as much time and money on our spirit and soul as we do our bodies.
6.   Wisdom or Knowledge. Solomon’s promise of success begins with a love of wisdom. He should know. That is where he began. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and then all these things will be added unto you.” Knowledge is good, but wisdom is better.
7.   Peace or Popularity. An instant recipe for unhappiness is to try to please everyone. Peace comes from within, not from money or fame. Successful people have the inner spiritual “peace that passes understanding”.
8.   Eternity or Now. A successful person does not live for the moment. He or she has the willpower to defer instant gratification for the greater good. And that doesn’t just mean putting money aside for our older age. Life at best is short. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in heaven, your heart will be there too.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
9.   Wholeness or Division. Walter Cronkite once said, “Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles.” A successful person is not one person at work, another at home, and yet another at play. A successful person is ONE person, regardless of who is looking.
10.Integrity or Hypocrisy. When we were children, we learned to win at play games. Unfortunately, many continue to play games with themselves and others; still trying to “win”. Living an authentic, genuine life is the only way to success. It requires desire, determination and dedication.

Someone said, “The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success.” There is a lot of truth to that. Success has wrecked many lives for those whose foundation was not prepared for it.

You are getting close to success when you realize you have things the richest person cannot buy: love, family, genuine friends, health, happiness, peace, joy, time (to name just a few) and most of all faith!

But back to the guarantee of success. In my book on Integrity, I wrote: “The question is never about whether a person of integrity will be successful. The life of integrity guarantees success in living. That does not means you will become a millionaire, a movie star, or invent the next best thing. It does mean, without question, you will be successful in living, for you have your priorities in order, and your values at work.” Living a life of integrity will make you a priceless resource for your family, business, church and community. It’s the best way to “get promoted”. Again, it’s really pretty simple. Not easy, but simple.

May God grant you success.

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”
~ Bessie A. Stanley ~
(also attributed to others)

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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