SUCCESS AND SPIRITUALITY
by John Clark
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I used to not be able to blend spirituality and success. I know now that one does not necessarily contradict the other. There are many successful, Christian businessmen and women. God wants me to become all that I can for Him, and to maximize my effectiveness in the lives of others.
What do I mean when I speak of success? First of all, I am not saying that Christians should seek to be wealthy, however, there is nothing wrong with wealth as long as it is not used for selfish gain and purposes.
Let's focus, for a moment, on the money aspect of success. I believed for a long time that Christians should not aspire to make a lot of money. An often-quoted verse was, "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil..." (I Tim 6:10) This verse is one that has been misunderstood. People have used it in my life to support the teaching that it is wrong to make a lot of money. Notice the preceding context in verses 6-8. "But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." It talks about godliness and contentment. Therefore, this verse is saying that when someone loves making money without these two elements, then it is wrong. This misunderstanding contributed to my limiting and confusing beliefs.
Success is not just about money. Money is simply a unit of exchange. Some people have more than others. Success is a journey of continually developing one's potential, refusing to quit, and positively influencing the lives of other people along the way. A person like myself, therefore, can be considered successful even though I have very little money.
I am saying that Christians would find it beneficial to think success (as opposed to failure) in everything that is done. This includes thinking positively about oneself and life in general. We can choose to be goal oriented and focused. We can choose to consistently plow ahead in the pursuit of goals, and in becoming our best self. A person does not have to compromise his or her spirituality or God's will to do this.
A basic principle of success is to never, never quit. It means to pursue your dreams, and let nothing stop you. I would love to have the freedom to do whatever I really want, without money being a restriction. It would not surprise me if a lot of Christians feel the same way, but they are bound by a belief system that is not necessarily biblical, like I was, that holds them back.
In my opinion, as a result of being around Christians all of my life, I believe that a lot of them have shied away from having a success mindset because they have been told, or somehow have gotten the idea that to do so is an indication of lack of surrender to God and His will. Success has been thought of only in terms of how the world defines it: money, nice things, a life style of self-sufficiency and luxury. Along side this, many Christians probably do not have a clearly defined focus as to what constitutes success.
In my view, one needs to be constantly moving forward on God-given goals, while at the same time, be waiting on God to cause everything to come together. Waiting on God means His timing is perfect. Christians can have confidence that He will put us in the right place at the proper time, with the right people and resources, to accomplish His objectives.
Success is persistently moving forward, choosing how I use my time and activities in which to become involved, so that I will make the most of my gifts and abilities, following my heart, and take advantage of every opportunity to have a positive, spiritual impact on as many people as possible, with the goal of seeing changed lives. This may involve getting into a position where I can more and more choose what I do with my life, and bound less and less with doing things just because I have to.
(This is an excerpt out of my book, GOD'S HEALING HOPE: BREAKING THE STRONGHOLDS OF WRONG THINKING)
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Well said. Very inspiring!