REMEMBER: This is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.
Bible Study Course Lesson 57
WHAT IS REAL SUCCESS?
Just what is true success? Do you know? What would you give to achieve outstanding success in life? This first in a series of lessons shows you how to start on the road to real success!
WHAT IS "success"? Is making a great deal of money, and experiencing the pleasures of life, real success? Is achieving fame and fortune and status in the eyes of others true success? Just what constitutes that mystical quality we call "success"?
Would you consider billionaire oil industrialist J. Paul Getty an example of astounding success? Why, then, did he himself admit publicly that he would give all his millions for just ONE truly happy marriage?
Mr. Herbert Armstrong knew a man who owned some sixty-five important corporations and was the largest stockholder of United States Steel Corporation -- a man worth many millions. But was this man happy? He confided to Mr. Armstrong the exact opposite. He exclaimed in a moment of bitter self-introspection, "WHY has God cursed me so?" He felt under a gigantic CURSE. Despite his millions, his life was one of misery!
These two examples show that money alone does not constitute true success! Yet most people today think of success in terms of a person's earning power, his wage scale, or attaining a high position in industry or business.
Others adulate movie stars. Haven't they achieved dazzling heights of success? What about the "sex symbol" of the 1950s -- Marilyn Monroe? Her name was on every theater marquee. She was worshipped by millions of adoring fans. Wasn't she what you would have to call successful?
Yet Marilyn ended her life a wretched, unhappy SUICIDE!
Alas, fame and fortune did not bring Marilyn Monroe lasting, true success! Her life was like a meteor -- it blazed across the heavens brilliantly, for a quick moment, and then burned out into inky darkness.
Is THIS Success?
What about becoming a great general, or political leader? Is this real success? Stalin was the leader of millions in Russia. He ruled with an iron hand. But today, his very memory is cursed by officials in Russia. His own daughter has written books exposing him as a treacherous monster in real life. His own nation turned against him and blotted his name from its history books -- except where mentioned unfavorably. Would you call Stalin's life successful?
Was Hitler successful? If gaining a measure of power, prestige, and the homage of millions makes a person successful, then indeed he was.
Hitler "succeeded" to a degree -- in gaining great power and authority. But he FAILED when the basic test came -- when it came to being a MAN!
The "Rat Race"
Millions today have entered the chase for "success." They are striving with all their might and energy to "climb the ladder of success." They are engaged in a titanic "RAT RACE," to achieve wealth, glory, fame and fortune. And in doing so, they have candidly admitted that they cheat and "play dirty" in order to get ahead.
The business world has been compared to a jungle of cut- throat, dog-eat-dog competition. A common saying among businessmen, as well as athletes today is: "Nice guys finish last."
But the "success" of this world is not lasting. Those who cut somebody down to get ahead are cut down themselves by younger, brighter individuals rising in their company! What has been said of kings is also true of business leaders today: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown."
In sports, too, success is not lasting. One of the greatest athletes of all time was an American Indian named Jim Thorpe. He broke football records right and left. He was virtually a one-man track team for his college. In the 1912 World Olympics in Sweden he won both the pentathlon and the decathlon -- the only man to ever win both events! He became famous. His name was glorious in the sports world.
But shortly thereafter, Jim Thorpe's name was erased from the Olympic record books. It was discovered that he had accepted money in 1909 for playing baseball, disqualifying him as an "amateur." His glory quickly vanished. He was compelled to return his trophies. Years later Jim Thorpe was discovered working with a pick and shovel for $4 a day. His second wife divorced him for "excessive drinking." His short-lived glory did not last -- it did not endure.
Was Babe Ruth, the great baseball slugger, really successful? Some of his records still stand today. But the most memorable record he set, of hitting the most home runs in a single season, was finally broken -- and it is probably only a matter of time before the rest fall too. But very few today remember what Babe Ruth was like. His temporary fame did not keep him from being an extravagant spender and debt-ridden throughout years of his life. Few today remember "The King of Clout," or "The Sultan of Swat" -- the greatest baseball slugger of all time! He died of cancer in 1948.
The Other Side of the Coin
Looking at the record of "success" in this world, millions of young people are disenchanted. They have turned against the "rat race" and "keeping up with the Joneses." They have rejected this world's values. They have turned to drugs for their brand of "success."
Hippies loll about almost everywhere, smoking pot, dropping acid (LSD), gulping pills or shooting methadrine. Have they found true success?
Take a good close look at their lives. Among the hippies venereal diseases are catastrophic. Free sex and free drugs have led to warped personalities, sick bodies, wrenched minds. The "peace" they proclaim is far from them. Their "love" has turned into a nightmare of gonorrhea, syphilis, drug abuse and sometimes murder!
Clearly, the hippie brand of success is no success at all!
A World of FAILURE
The World Health Organization estimates that 1,000 people around the world take their own lives -- in suicide -- EVERY DAY! These hopeless and frustrated people have given up on life. They believed success for them was impossible.
In the world, nations compete with nations. Races are divided against races. A gigantic arms race is under way. The United States and Russia both have enough nuclear weapons to destroy all mankind MANY TIMES OVER!
There is also the menace of global POLLUTION -- sick air, sick waters, and refuse-laden land. World contamination by potent insecticides and herbicides threatens the extinction of several species of birds and fish -- and eventually man himself!
Concurrent with the pollution crisis, mankind is in danger of POPULATING himself out of existence. The population explosion threatens to DWARF ALL OTHER PROBLEMS facing the world.
Each of these crises, alone, could spell the final FAILURE of mankind -- and his ultimate doom. Together, they represent a global CRISIS beyond the powers of man to solve. Man's ways have led to this impasse. Man's ways have led to this final moment of agony -- this moment of truth.
But all this brings us back to our original question -- just what IS true success, and HOW can you achieve it?
No question is more important. Yet no subject is more misunderstood!
There Are LAWS Leading to Success!
Believe it or not, there are seven definite, practical, applicable LAWS which lead to true success! You need to know those laws and begin applying them diligently in your own life -- if you really want true success.
In order to achieve REAL success, all seven of these absolute, immutable LAWS must be followed and obeyed. If just one is left out, the final result will be failure. Yet God intends for none to be a failure at life! He intends for everybody -- including YOU, regardless of your past mistakes, your history, or personal problems -- to be an outstanding SUCCESS in life!
Many men have unwittingly followed four, five, or sometimes even six of these practical laws of success -- and as a result, have received a measure of temporary "success" in their lives. But they never achieved TRUE success! Their lives always ended in FAILURE because they did not obey ALL seven of the laws of success!
Isn't it about time, therefore, that we turned to the Creator God who made us, and asked Him what success really is, and HOW we may attain it?
What does Almighty God have to say about success?
You may be surprised at the answer!
What Success Is NOT
In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon explains how he sought "success." He sought wealth, happiness, pleasure, brimful and heaped up. He was the wealthiest man who ever lived -- no doubt a multi-billionaire, by today's standards.
Solomon, as this world would look at it, really had it "made"!
1. Did Solomon build great houses and plant vast gardens and farms for himself? Eccl. 2:4-6.
2. Did he possess vast herds of cattle and own many servants? Verse 7. Did he have much silver and gold? Verse 8. Did he have both musicians and singers -- whatever his heart desired? Verses 8-10.
3. In spite of all these marvelous possessions, did Solomon feel they brought him good success -- did they make him TRULY happy? Verse 11.
COMMENT: Rich old King Solomon "had it all." He was the greatest "playboy" of them all! He had 300 wives and 700 mistresses, called concubines. He probably had more gold than Fort Knox!
But was Solomon satisfied and happy because of all these possessions? Did they really "satisfy"?
No! But tragically, millions today are searching for happiness and success by following the same route. Solomon's experience means NOTHING to them! They have to prove to themselves that material pleasures and "things" don't bring happiness.
Millions today believe that "HAPPINESS IS" having 30% more yearly income; "happiness is" a new car; "happiness is" a beautiful yacht or speedboat cruising a placid cobalt-blue lake; "happiness is" owning a million-dollar estate, or a $100,000 home in Beverly Hills complete with curvaceous swimming pool and a covey of assorted beautiful women!
That's what millions believe. They haven't learned the lesson that was finally impressed upon old King Solomon!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What is YOUR goal in life? The acquisition of more and more material things? A color TV? A stereo Hi-Fi? Whatever it is, do you think it will REALLY satisfy?
4. What did Jesus Christ say about possessing great abundance of material things? Luke 12:15.
5. Should relaxing, eating, drinking, and enjoying life and affluence be your GOAL -- your purpose -- in life? Luke 12:16-21.
What True Success Really IS
True success just doesn't happen. The Eternal, Creator God set in motion actual, definite LAWS which govern and produce real success. If you obey them, real, lasting success is assured.
But tragically, man through the centuries has turned his back to those laws -- those CAUSES of the very success he craves so desperately. Today, the vast majority of people are ignorant of the seven laws of success -- most have not followed a single one of them!
Real success never fails -- never ends. Even death does not terminate it.
Most men in the world who achieve some measure of "success" -- material acquisition, recognition of status by society, and the passing enjoyment of the five senses -- never achieved REAL success! The "success" they got in life ended at death. It died with them. They may have had full bank accounts, but they experienced empty lives.
Such men had WRONG GOALS in life. They never knew or understood the REAL PURPOSE of life! In other words, they never knew the true DEFINITION of success.
They strove for false values -- had an erroneous concept of success.
Of course, there is nothing necessarily wrong with making money, gaining recognition or status, or enjoying the pleasures of life -- these things may be had and enjoyed along with true success. But they do not bring true success. True success includes something MORE!
There should be an overpowering PURPOSE in your life! What should this supreme, highly motivating purpose BE?
Almost no one knows that supreme purpose of life. Very few know what we humans are, why we are, or what the purpose of human life really is.
Let's review that purpose to be sure we understand.
1. What IS man? Gen. 2:7.
COMMENT: God's Word plainly shows man is composed of the dust of the ground. He does not have an immortal soul within him. Genesis 2:7 plainly says man "BECAME a living SOUL," not that he has a "soul."
2. What scriptures prove man does not have an immortal soul abiding within him? Ezek. 18:4, 20.
COMMENT: Man's "soul," these verses show, can DIE! It is not immortal. Man, today, is a physical fleshly being which can die. But is there more to life than just this physical existence? Notice further:
3. In whose image did God make man? Gen. 1:26.
COMMENT: God designed the plants and animals to reproduce after their own kind. Then God created man in His OWN image and likeness -- that is, AFTER HIS OWN KIND! Man is fashioned in the very image and likeness of God, except for one vital distinction: God is Spiritual, while man is physical. God is Spirit, while man is composed today of the dust of the ground. Man's life is clearly temporary, physical, mortal flesh and blood.
4. Does God intend for man to someday be wholly composed of SPIRIT, even as He is Spirit? I John 3:1-2; Rom. 8:14-17; I Cor. 15:44, 51-53.
COMMENT: God intends that human beings be begotten of His Holy Spirit so they can grow in His character and knowledge, and finally be BORN OF HIM at the resurrection of the dead! They will then be "like Him," for they shall see Him as He is, and be very SONS in His Divine Family! They will then become "joint-inheritors" of all things with Jesus Christ, who sits at the Father's right hand in heaven.
5. What will the born-again saints begin to do? Rev. 5:10; 2:26-27; 3:21.
COMMENT: Notice that they will receive positions of great authority, power and rulership!
6. Eventually, over what will the saints rule? Heb. 1:2; 2:6-10.
COMMENT: God's ultimate purpose for man is to give him dominion over all His Creation -- the WHOLE UNIVERSE! Today, God has set His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, at the controls of the universe (Heb. 1:2, Moffatt). He wants us to ultimately SHARE in that vast, great, tremendous power and authority, after we are literally born of Him at the resurrection.
We are destined, if we obey God and overcome our human nature, to BECOME GOD -- His very own children by the resurrection -- part of His DIVINE FAMILY!
THAT is the incredible, awesome, supreme PURPOSE of human life! That is the DEFINITION of TRUE success! And THAT should be your number one GOAL in life!
The Great KEY to Success
1. Have the nations of the world found the way of peace? Rom. 3:17.
2. Have this world's nations found the way that leads to happiness and the building of a prosperous society? Rom. 3:16. Why? Verses 10-12, 18.
COMMENT: "All thy commandments are righteousness," said David (Psalm 119:172). Righteousness is simply OBEDIENCE to the laws of God which bring prosperity and peace. Since this world has forsaken God, has turned away from obeying God's law, the result has been destruction, misery and NO peace!
3. Does Isaiah say much the same thing? Isa. 59:7-8. What does he say is the reason God has hid His face from man? Verses 2, 12-13.
4. Does the Bible verify that keeping God's law is the underlying KEY to peace and happiness -- of all true success? Joshua 1:8. Will those who faithfully follow God's law receive prosperity and success wherever they go? Verse 7.
5. What does David have to say about those who delight in God's law -- who meditate in it day and night? Will they succeed in whatever they undertake? Psalm 1:1-3.
6. Does keeping the law of God -- His holy, spiritual Ten Commandments -- give wisdom and understanding which are essential for true success? Psalm 119:97-100, 104. Is God's law also the WAY to real peace, which this world lacks? Verse 165.
COMMENT: At the foundation of all true success in life, including the way to peace, prosperity, and real happiness, is the principle of OBEDIENCE to God! This principle needs to be deeply ingrained into our minds and never forgotten!
Examples of Real Success
Let's notice a few examples of true success from the Old Testament:
1. Would Abraham be considered very successful in the eyes of most people today? Gen. 13:2, 5-6. Why was Abraham so successful -- so prosperous? Gen. 26:5. Was Abraham also a SPIRITUAL success? Heb. 11:8-13 and Luke 13:28. Did he pursue the right GOAL in life after God called him? Heb. 11:10, 13-14, 16.
2. What about Isaac, Abraham's son? Was he a successful, prosperous, great man? Gen. 26:16, 12-16. Will he be in God's Kingdom? Luke 13:28.
COMMENT: These men were successful physically AND SPIRITUALLY because God was with them, and BLESSED them! God is with those who serve and obey Him -- those who keep His commandments.
Those who break God's law, however, are cut off from Him (Isa. 59:1-2). They are under a CURSE! True success will always elude them unless and until they repent and OBEY Him.
3. Was Jacob also greatly prospered -- was he a great success materially? Gen. 30:42-43. Even though his employer tried to take advantage of him, cheat him and give him less than he deserved, did it all turn out for the best in the end? Gen. 31:4-9. Was Jacob also a SPIRITUAL success -- will he be in God's Kingdom? Matt. 8:11.
COMMENT: Again we see that God intervenes on the behalf of those who serve and obey Him. He looks after their interests and causes them to prosper and have real success, both in this life AND in the World Tomorrow.
4. Was Jesus Christ a SUCCESSFUL man? Phil. 2:5-11.
COMMENT: Even though Christ's life "ended" in crucifixion, God RAISED Him from the dead and has put all authority and power into His hands (Matt. 28:18). He is TRULY the MOST SUCCESSFUL man who has ever lived!
Christ, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham are outstanding EXAMPLES of true spiritual success!
5. Will those who are faithful to God and have their hearts in God's Work be blessed bountifully today? II Cor. 9:6-8. Does Almighty God wish for his spirit-begotten children -- and eventually all people -- to prosper and achieve true success in life? III John 2 and John 10:10.
6. Is it plain that God does not want anyone to fail in life -- that is, to perish? II Peter 3:9. Does He want ALL MEN to be spiritual successes? I Tim. 2:4.
COMMENT: God does not want ANYBODY to fail in life -- or to finally perish. He wants ALL men everywhere to be SAVED -- that is, to finally achieve TRUE SUCCESS by being BORN into the Kingdom of God!
God intends for all to be spiritual successes -- and to have the right kind of physical success during this life. No one need ever be a failure -- either physically or spiritually!
God wants us to have the "abundant life" which Christ came to bring (John 10:10) -- both here and now, and especially in the World Tomorrow! But this kind of life comes only from obeying our Creator and putting into practice all seven of the laws of success.
The First Great Law of Success
What, then, is the FIRST law of success that God ordained from the very beginning? Notice what the Bible says about that all-important FIRST LAW.
1. What did Jesus Christ say to His students in Matthew 6:33?
COMMENT: The first law of success is, in Bible language, "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD and His righteousness ...." In other words, Success Law #1 is simply: SET THE RIGHT GOAL!
2. Does the Apostle Paul elaborate on this basic principle? Col. 3:1-2. In verse 2, the word "affection" could better be translated "mind" (see margin of your Bible).
COMMENT: God wants us to SET or FIX our minds on His Kingdom and make it our SUPREME GOAL in life!
Many people in the world, if not most, wander through life without any goal whatsoever. They just drift along. They flounder. Any student who attends Ambassador College without a definite GOAL in mind, who just flounders or drifts, is headed toward failure in college! And so is anybody who has no definite, concrete, positive GOAL in life!
What is YOUR goal?
The right GOAL in life involves more than money, wealth, fame and fortune. It is far higher -- has far more worthwhile rewards! Any goal that sets its sights on this life alone is indeed a miserable goal. The apostle James wrote: "For what is your life? It is even a VAPOUR, that appeareth for a little time, and then VANISHETH AWAY" (James 4:14).
Isaiah wrote: "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isa. 40:6-8).
Again -- search yourself. Ask yourself: "Just what is my goal in life? What do I hope to achieve? Am I seeking first in my life the RIGHT GOAL?" Importance of a Goal
In 1960, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy set a definite, specific GOAL for the American space program -- the goal of landing a man on the moon within ten years.
That goal has been achieved, despite the sudden assassination of Mr. Kennedy in 1963.
To carry out such a tremendous, awesome task, hundreds of thousands of people were involved. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was geared to carry out the assignment from what came to be called Cape Kennedy, Florida. Astronauts had to be trained. Space science, space medicine and space technology not then foreseen had to be developed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people were geared to produce the incredible precision working parts of the mighty Saturn V rocket booster -- propulsion systems, safety devices, highly complex computer components, and a host of intricate, delicate parts.
The whole program was highly organized and planned out from the beginning. Rocket engines were tested, and re-tested hundreds of times to insure faultless operation. The lunar module was designed and tested with the same care.
At first astronauts performed sub-orbital missions in space. Then they began orbiting the earth. Finally, a trio of astronauts successfully circled the moon and returned. All this was merely preparatory to the BIG STEP -- the final landing of astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon in July, 1969. President Kennedy's deadline was beaten by one year, and the whole world was staggered by this fantastic, incredible achievement!
This example shows what can be accomplished with a definite, firm GOAL in mind. If President Kennedy had never set the specific goal of landing men on the moon in that decade, and if the nation had not responded to that goal, it never would have been achieved.
The point is this: What goals have YOU set in your own personal life?
What specific, definite OBJECTIVES do you have in mind? And what SUPREME goal are you working toward?
Are you fervently striving to attain that goal? Are you "on fire" for it? Does it burn in your mind and motivate your entire consciousness and being?
You Must Have Goals
All progress, every invention, every engineering triumph or business success, has been the result of an idea that fired the imagination and became a GOAL.
The Wright brothers first had to visualize the airplane before they could build one. Fulton had to envision a steamboat before he could invent one. And the same applies to Edison and the light bulb, Bell and the telephone, Marconi and the radio.
These famous men, and countless others in other fields of endeavor, got an idea -- had an objective, a purpose, a GOAL in mind. They were not merely "tinkering around," or wasting time aimlessly. They didn't just wander or stumble along.
If you wish to be an outstanding success in THIS LIFE as well as the next, then you MUST determine GOALS to shoot for! You must get a clear fix on what you want to accomplish, where you want to go!
Executives of progressive, growing corporations must think AHEAD. They must strive to envision what their company will be doing ten and twenty years from now -- not merely think about what they are presently doing: They must gauge their efforts for the future. They must build plants for tomorrow by investing money today to meet tomorrow's needs.
Modern, progressive corporations and businesses don't leave their future to chance or "luck." They plan, build, set GOALS and aim for them.
This same principle is vital for personal success in life. What chance have you for success if you wander aimlessly, thinking only of present circumstances, ignoring the future? The person who has no long-range goals will be lost in life's endless shuffle. He will be passed over when the time for promotions comes.
It is the imaginative, forward-thinking individual who will gain approval from his employer and will be promoted because of his vision and foresight!
In order to become a true success, you must have secondary goals as well. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish in life, besides my one supreme goal of entering the Kingdom of God? Where do I want to go? What do I want to be? What occupation or profession am I best suited for which will help me achieve that supreme goal? What do I want to accomplish in my work -- how high do I wish to rise in my company? How much responsibility do I want to qualify to handle and command?
A Goal Provides Energy
1. Did David set a goal to build a house for God? I Kings 8:17. Did he make extensive preparations for the building of God's house, which his son Solomon was to accomplish? I Chron. 21:22; 22:1-11, 14-16. Did David prepare "with all his might" for God's house? I Chron. 29:2-4.
COMMENT: David had a GOAL in mind -- a definite objective. This goal was so important to him, that he CONCENTRATED his mind on preparing for God's house. He prepared with all his might and energy so the house could be built by Solomon. As verse 3 shows, David "set his affection" to the house of God. The original HEBREW for this expression is "ratsah" and means "to be pleased with; specifically, to satisfy a debt." It can be translated "delight, enjoy, approve."
David was well pleased with the idea of building a house for God -- the goal provided deep enjoyment to him, he delighted in it. It was a deeply personal thing to him.
2. After Solomon built the house for God, did he have any major, worthwhile goals of his own? Eccl. 1:13-14. Did women finally sidetrack him from serving God with his whole being? I Kings 11:1-6. Did Solomon apparently end up an abject failure? Verses 9-13.
3. Did Jacob have a goal that inspired him to work hard? Gen. 29:18-20. Did his goal so impress and inspire him that seven years' work only seemed like a few days? Verse 20.
4. Because Esau had no goal -- no vision -- was he easily persuaded to sell his birthright for virtually nothing? Gen. 25:32-34 and Heb. 12:16.
COMMENT: Successful people have their eyes focused on a goal. Their attention is riveted to their goal. The goal fires them; it provides enthusiasm, energy, power. It MOTIVATES them!
A firmly entrenched goal, a crystal-clear image of where you are going, will help keep you on course and avoid detours or distractions. It will keep your mind locked "on target" as a radar antenna will lock on to a missile or a jet plane. Such a goal is not a vague generality -- it is firm, fixed, and strong in the individual's mind. It gives him direction through all his activities. It is like an automatic pilot steering him toward his destination. When he drifts off course momentarily, it helps bring him right back on the track.
If you have the right goal in your life, it will arouse ambition to serve, to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It will arouse incentive and determination to achieve that supreme goal.
It will excite vigorous and DETERMINED EFFORT -- perseverance and persistence. It will fire you with ambition! It will spur you to greater effort. t will create a strong, white-hot desire to succeed. It will be an overpowering, dominant PURPOSE in your whole life and work.
It will create vital INTEREST. It will engross your whole being. It will fill your life to overflowing.
A person lacking such a goal, however, is easily confused, distracted, and wavers. He lacks consistency of purpose. He flounders around.
The question is, are YOU totally devoted to a supreme GOAL? Is your life integrated around a supreme purpose? Are you dedicated, devoted, surrendered to the accomplishment of that goal?
Do you also have secondary goals to help you achieve that supreme goal -- such as becoming an outstanding success in your occupation or profession?
If you wish to accomplish things, then you must SET GOALS to get things done. Salesmen, for example, set quotas that they want to sell. Newspapers and publishers set deadlines for copy to go to press. Businesses set target dates for expansion.
If a person has an intense goal, it might even save his life because it gives him something to live for. People with terminal cases of cancer, or other terrible diseases, have pulled through the crisis AND LIVED for the simple reason they had a DESIRE -- a strong, powerful, burning WILL -- to live!
Do you have that kind of BURNING DESIRE to accomplish your goals in life?
One successful author who has studied human behavior says, "Man is by nature a GOAL-STRIVING BEING. And because man is 'built that way' he is not happy unless he is functioning as he was made to function -- as a goal-striver" ("Psycho-Cybernetics", p. xiv).
To be truly happy and successful, you must have goals to strive for. To be successful, you must also strive to make USE of your creative potential. Develop your latent abilities and hidden talents.
Does this mean, then, that you should ignore your limitations and weaknesses? Of course not. To be successful in this life, you must realistically evaluate your abilities, strengths and weaknesses. You must be willing to face the "real you." If you have a false idea or concept of your talents, personality, or abilities, whether overly positive or overly negative, you must change it. Be realistic. Learn to see yourself as you really are.
When Mr. Herbert Armstrong was a young man, he deliberately set out to analyze his abilities, to see where he excelled, so he could plan his life's work accordingly. Today, many companies, employment centers, schools, etc., offer job guidance testing and counselling. Such tests help reveal where your strengths and weaknesses are and help fit you into the right kind of work for you.
If a person is weak in mathematics, do you think he should set his goal to become an astronomer or mathematician? Or if a person has no ability as a draftsman, should he strive to become an architect? Of course not.
Wouldn't it be foolish for a person cut out to be a carpenter or a plumber to waste away his life striving to be a salesman, or an electronics engineer? Yet many people do just that! They set the wrong goals for themselves, and then wonder why they cannot reach them. They become discouraged and quit, never realizing they may have tried to do more than they were capable of in the first place!
Each individual should strive to develop his own particular talents to their fullest. He should strive to excel in a job or position WHERE HE FITS!
Therefore, to avoid frustration, bitterness, and abysmal failure, DON'T try to be a "square peg in a round hole." Examine yourself, analyze your talents realistically, seek wise counsel, and THEN map out your secondary goals in life!
Taking a guidance counseling test or work aptitude examination would be an especially good idea for young people just starting out in life.
A wise, judicious ANALYSIS of your abilities and aptitudes is vital for plotting the course of your life, and becoming a REAL success in an occupation or profession.
Importance of Planning
People who drift through life, who live life "accidentally," as it were, never achieve outstanding success.
Planning your life is far more important than planning a trip across country or overseas. Yet most people spend far more time planning a vacation or a trip to Europe than they spend actually PLANNING OUT their life's goals!
In planning a trip to the seashore, or the mountains, you would obtain a map of the route and mark the highways you intend to take. You would plan how long the trip is to last. You would plan for overnight lodging at the appropriate locations. You might make reservations for hotels or motels in advance.
You would draw enough money out of the bank to make the trip successful. You would also plan for the weather. If you planned to go swimming, you would take along a swimming suit, towel, and other needs.
If you were planning to spend a month in Europe, then even more detailed planning would be necessary -- accommodations, lodging, food, clothing, airplane tickets, etc., etc., etc.
But strangely, when it comes to planning out one's life, and fixing one's goals in life, most people come to a complete standstill! They have no firm ideas in mind. They don't even know where to begin!
In order to wisely plan out your entire life, you must FIRST know the PURPOSE of life -- why you were born; that you were put here on this earth for a PURPOSE; and what that purpose IS. Only then can you PLAN your life out properly.
1. Did Jesus Christ stress the importance of planning? Luke 14:28-30.
COMMENT: HOW many sit down to "count the cost" of achieving their life's goals, and determine whether they are worth the effort, or whether they have the ability and fortitude to achieve them?
This is a basic principle of true success. Count the cost! Don't plunge in head first before testing the water. Don't "rush in where angels fear to tread." The sure road to failure is to rush in ill-equipped and unprepared.
2. Did Solomon say something about the principle of planning and preparing for the future? Prov. 6:6-8.
3. Does the wise man PLAN AHEAD -- look ahead -- to see what the future may hold, and take action NOW to forestall trouble later? Prov. 22:3. Did God consider this principle important enough to be repeated? Prov. 27:12.
4. Does the prudent -- wise -- man look well to his going? Does he think carefully about the steps he envisions to take? Prov. 14:15. Do prudent men UNDERSTAND their way? Or do they act presumptuously, hastily, without adequate forethought? Prov. 14:8.
5. Should a person starting out toward some goal in life seek counsel from others with experience and knowledge before committing himself? Prov. 15:22.
COMMENT: The Living Proverbs renders this verse much more clearly: "Plans go wrong with too few counselors; many counselors bring success."
6. What does God say about those who have no GOAL -- no foresight -- no VISION of what the future holds? -- about those who merely live day-to-day, without planning or preparing for the future? Prov. 29:18.
COMMENT: Check your own life. Do you have foresight -- vision? Does your mind grasp what God reveals about the FUTURE? Do you PLAN AHEAD accordingly?
Give Yourself to a CAUSE
People totally involved only with their OWN life, and its success -- who are self-centered -- NEVER become true successes!
The way to true success isn't to selfishly seek it for YOURSELF. Self is really unimportant. The important thing is to become wrapped up in and devoted to a supreme CAUSE that transcends the self.
Such a cause will help a person to release his inhibitions because he won't be excessively concerned about HIMSELF, or the impression HE IS making upon other people. Such a cause will help him forget self-consciousness. He will not be negatively comparing himself with other people. His thoughts will be fixed on the CAUSE he is devoted to. That will be uppermost and supreme in his mind.
Having a cause will enable a person to shake off temporary setbacks, or mistakes. It will see him through obstacles and enable him to maintain poise and equilibrium. He will weather sudden storms or difficulties because his cause is paramount to his life.
The cause we are talking about is the Work of the living God! Does THIS Cause really INSPIRE you? Is your heart really behind and in the greatest CAUSE of all -- the WORK GOD IS DOING on the earth today? Are you giving of your time in prayer for God's Work, and of your financial means -- the tithes and offerings God commands -- to help spread the true gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world as a witness (Matt. 24:14) before His scheduled return?
Christ Himself is behind this Work, inspiring the top-level decisions! He is the One motivating and empowering His ministers and servants as they proclaim the GOOD NEWS of His soon coming. He is the One who opens the doors of radio, television, and the printing press, so the gospel can go forth in increasing POWER to the nations of the earth.
This very Work of God is destined to shake this world to its foundations! In reality, we have just BEGUN the gun lap of this great Work. We are now on the last lap. Now is the time to put our hearts into it more than ever -- to do our utmost so that Christ's Great Commission to His Church can be accomplished fully, and with GREAT POWER!
Are you doing YOUR part?
From years of experience, Mr. Herbert Armstrong stated over and over again, and we repeat it here: Those who are interested only in their OWN spiritual growth NEVER really grow spiritually! But those whose hearts are really in God's Work, and who devote their ALL to the Work God has given us to do, are the ones who are GROWING spiritually -- who will be in God's Kingdom! They are the ones who will attain the supreme goal of life!
Put your heart and whole being in God's Work. Don't be interested in totally selfish goals, and don't pursue personal "vanity." Let God's Work "consume" you, and inspire you, and motivate you. That's the way to achieve supreme success in life! Rely on God's POWER
Some people think they can accomplish far more than they really can. They are proud, egotistical, conceited, and haven't seen their real limitations.
Most people, however, tend to downgrade themselves -- they feel weak and impotent and don't believe they could ever achieve real success. Far too many are pessimistic regarding their potentials for change and true success.
GOD CREATED YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL! Do you understand that? You were MADE to be an outstanding success!
There is no reason to be handicapped by feelings of inferiority, comparing yourself with others, by thinking you "can't" do something.
1. Did Jesus Christ say that of His own human ability He could do NOTHING? John 5:19, 30. Is that how you feel at times about your life in general? Then take heart. How then, did Christ accomplish the Works of God? John 14:10-14.
COMMENT: Christ was the world's greatest example of true success! He conquered His human nature. He never sinned once. He performed great, awe-inspiring miracles. How did He do it?
"The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works," Christ said (John 14:10).
So it can be with you. If you have the Spirit of God dwelling within you -- if you are a truly converted, Spirit-begotten Christian -- then YOU can overcome sin and human nature. YOU can be used mightily of God. YOU can become a truly outstanding spiritual SUCCESS STORY!
Do you read the Bible and admire the lives of God's prophets -- Abraham, Moses, Daniel, David, Samuel, Peter, Paul and a host of others?
They were great successes, weren't they?
Well, God promises that YOU, TOO, can be a great SPIRITUAL success!
2. Will Christ Himself work WITHIN YOU to help you become a real success? Phil. 2:5; Col. 1:27 and Eph. 3:17-20.
3. Did the Apostle Paul say he could do all things -- that is, overcome ANY OBSTACLE -- through Christ who strengthened him? Phil. 4:13.
COMMENT: So can you, if you are willing to accept God at His Word, believe Him, and let Him work in and through you by His Holy Spirit!
Get rid of fears of failure. Cast away negative thinking. Forget inferior feelings. Commit your life into God's hands, serve Him and obey His Word, and YOU will become an outstanding, happy, successful person!
4. Was the prophet Elijah human just as you and I? Jas. 5:17. Yet, did God use him to perform mighty miracles, so that his prayers even stopped the rain? Verses 17-18.
COMMENT: Elijah walked and TALKED with God. He was CLOSE to God. That was the secret of his outstanding success!
In the book of Proverbs we read: "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise ..." (Prov. 13:20). If you walk, talk, and fellowship with truly wise, successful, spiritually motivated men, then YOU will become that way. How much better, then, to walk and talk with God -- the most successful Person of all!!!
Picture the End Result
1. Did the Apostle Paul keep his eyes and mind on his GOAL in life -- that of being born into the Kingdom of God? Phil. 3:11-12. Did he look on those things which didn't really count as WORTHLESS? Verses 7-8. Did he put the past out of his mind -- was his attention RIVETED to the GOAL of God's Kingdom? Verses 13-14.
COMMENT: An old adage in tennis is "keep your eye on the ball." Tennis players know that to hit the ball properly, they must keep their eyes on it -- not the racket -- when they swing. The same principle applies to baseball. If you take your eyes off the ball for an instant, you will strike out when batting. Or, the ball might take a tricky bounce and run under your glove while you are fielding it.
"Keep your eye on the ball" is also a vitally important success principle in life.
Most people never achieve the success they should because they DON'T follow this simple instruction. They take their eyes off the "ball," that is, the GOAL, too often. They tend to lose sight of their objective. Their minds are distracted to something else.
In basketball you must keep your eye on the hoop when you are shooting the ball. If you take your eyes off the basket, chances are you will MISS the shot. Even so, people who take their eyes off God's great PURPOSE for their lives will MISS that goal!
To become a real success in life, therefore, you must always keep the desired END RESULT in mind. Don't let your mind's eye waver from it. Keep your attention focused clearly on it. Always keep that goal in the forefront of your mind. Picture it mentally in sharp detail. Don't let it grow nebulous, hazy, vague or indistinct.
Think about and strive to attain your goal daily, and you will achieve it! But if you lose sight of it or become indifferent toward it, then you will eventually lose it.
Maxwell Maltz, in his book on success entitled Psycho-Cybernetics, said: "We are engineered as goal-seeking mechanisms. We are built that way. When we have no personal goal which we are interested in and which 'means something' to us, we are apt to 'go around in circles,' feel 'lost' and find life itself 'aimless,' and 'purposeless.' We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. People who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying that they themselves have no personal goals which are worthwhile" (pp. 104-105).
How true! To achieve success you must set your goal and push forward toward it. If you stand around, you will stall and get nowhere. But if you set that goal, and then aggressively move toward it, keeping your eye on it, you will make sure, steady, increasing progress toward it! You will GROW in real success!
He CAN Who THINKS He Can!
The importance of having the right GOAL to achieve real success in life cannot, obviously, be over-emphasized. It is truly the FIRST law of success!
Once you have set your goal, fixed your purpose, taken aim at your target, you must start out toward it. At first your steps may seem like baby steps, awkward and stumbling. But as you progress, your gait will become more sure, more certain, and you will begin to progress more rapidly. Such is the way with the Christian life.
One thing you must remember, however. You must never lose FAITH that you can accomplish God's PURPOSE for your life -- your Supreme Goal. If you lose faith, become discouraged and GIVE UP, then you have lost the fight. You have already FAILED!
You must have as your goal the Kingdom of God, and have absolute FAITH that it is attainable, with God's help. An author once wrote a book entitled "He Can Who Thinks He Can." That is a very true statement. If you don't THINK YOU can do something, then you won't really try. After a few half-hearted efforts you'll give up.
Therefore, you must exercise FAITH in your life if you seek true success!
1. What vital ingredient must you have in order to please God -- in order to be a spiritual success? Heb. 11:6. By WHOSE faith must we live the Christian life? Gal. 2:20. Is that faith one of the fruits of God's Holy Spirit? Gal. 5:22-23.
2. Can faith accomplish the well-nigh impossible? Matt. 19:26. If you want to achieve true success, therefore, what must you do -- go to God for the spiritual FAITH you need? Mat. 7:7.
COMMENT: If you want to achieve true success, if you want to "move mountains" to accomplish the PURPOSE for your life, if you desire to do the "impossible," you must go to God in prayer and obtain FAITH from Him -- not your own human faith, which is very weak, but the strong, divine, all-powerful faith that God Himself imparts.
3. What must we do to receive from God that which we request, such as faith? I John 3:22.
4. What did Jesus say about having even a tiny amount of faith? Matt. 17:20. If Christians really have faith -- really BELIEVE they will receive what they ask of God, knowing that which they request is RIGHT and GOOD -- can they have absolute assurance they WILL receive it? Matt. 21:21-22.
COMMENT: Faith is vital for true success. It is all-important in accomplishing your supreme goal in life -- the very PURPOSE for your existence. Without it, no one can achieve real success.
Remember: HE CAN WHO THINKS HE CAN AND IS WILLING to make the all-out effort with God's help! God wants YOUR LIFE to be an amazing "SUCCESS Story"!