Sunday, January 6, 2019

Spiritual Success Vs. Material Success

What if I told you that this could be your most successful year ever?  Would you believe me?  It is true.  2019 can be your most successful year, but you have to begin with the write definition of success.  

There are two kinds of success:  Spiritual success, and material success.  When most people think about success, they think of material success.  Material success includes things like professional advancement, financial abundance, physical health, marital bliss, and family harmony.  Spiritual success is about relationships -- a right relationship with God, others, and yourself.  It's about treating God right, treating others right, and treating yourself right (eating right, getting enough rest and exercise, waking up on time, consistency with your personal disciplines, etc. -- those things that only you can do for yourself).

Most people go about pursuing success all wrong.  They focus almost entirely on material success and ignore spiritual success.  But the problem is that we are not just material beings.  We are also spiritual.  And if you ignore spiritual success, you are ignoring the most important aspect of your life.

Both spiritual and material success are important, but if you want to have your most successful year, then you need to prioritize spiritual success.  Here are 4 reasons why:

1.  Spiritual success is true success.

Material success is not real success.  Is it nice to have material success?  Sure.  But it's not real.  It's not true.  It is empty.  It is shallow.  True success is spiritual success.  Consider the following:

True success is...
  • Discovering God's will for your life and doing it.
  • Relational, not circumstantial.
  • Character, not achievement.
  • Management, not ownership.
  • Input, not outcome.
  • How you behave when you are alone, not on stage.
True success is NOT...
  • Outer beauty, but inner virtue.
  • Intelligence, but wisdom.
  • Winning, but responding well to failure.
  • What you have, but what you do with what you have.
  • What you accumulate, but what you send ahead.
  • How many people serve you, but how well you serve others.
  • A destination, but a journey.
  • How well you start, but how well you finish.
If you want to be a TRUE success, then you need to be a spiritual success.

2.  Spiritual success is required for happiness.

You can achieve all the material success in the world, and still be unhappy, empty, miserable.  We've all heard the stories of super successful people who attempted to fill the void in their hearts with drugs and alcohol.  We've heard of the people who seemed to have it all -- fame, fortune, beauty -- but were so unhappy that they chose to commit suicide.

But spiritual success leads to happiness, contentment, self-confidence, and inner peace.  Even if you are not materially successful, if you achieve spiritual success you will be happy.

3.  Spiritual success is completely within your control.

A large part of material success is out of your hands.  You cannot control the economy, your customers, the weather, your health, your employer, your spouse, your kids, your parents, etc.  You have some control over these things, but a large part of material success is a matter of luck.  It's about who you know, and being in the right place at the right time.  If you focus on controlling things that are largely out of your sphere of influence, you will become very frustrated.

But spiritual success is completely within your control.  You are as close to God as you want to be.  You have full control over how you treat other people.  And you have full control over how you treat yourself.  You can achieve total success this year.  The only thing standing in your way is you.  The only person who can stop you is you.

4.  Spiritual success always results in material success.

I'm not a believer in the prosperity gospel.  The Bible is clear that godly people will suffer persecution.  Often God's most faithful followers suffer the most.  Godliness is not a way to escape adversity.  God intentionally put us through trials to grow us.

That being said, spiritual success always results in material success.  The Bible promises this (See 1 Peter 3:10-12).  And it is self-evident.  God created this world.  If you have a right relationship with God, and treat others the way God wants you to, and treat yourself the way God wants you to, then material success is inevitable.  The amount, type, timing, and extent of material success are not guaranteed or predictable, but material success is the natural result of spiritual success.  Spiritual success is not a means to end; it is the end for which you were created.  But there are many positive material benefits in store for the person who achieves spiritual success.

So this year, decide to be successful.  Decide to have your most successful year ever.  You can do that by achieving spiritual success.  The rest of this week I'll teach you how to do just that.

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