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How can we tell the difference between living a “successful” life and living a life of purpose?

“Power, Prominence, Productivity & Profit”

The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. 1 Kings 2:3 says “And keep the charge of The Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.” So, when we look at the definition of success and how God’s Word declared we reach success, we can assuredly conclude that success only happens when we live our life’s purpose. This is not to suggest that there won’t be problems and issues along the way, but the end result will be success through Christ Jesus. If we are equipped by God to carry out a mission, it won’t be a failing mission.

The dictionary does provide a second and third definition of success; “a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity” and “the attainment of popularity or profit”. The issue with these definitions is that they lack an important ingredient – purpose. Power, prominence, productivity and profit can all be a part of God’s plan for our lives. But one thing that will never be absent from God’s will for our lives is purpose. We must be careful to never confuse the gain of money, the gain of positions, the gain of notoriety and the gain of accomplishments with purpose! To have all of those things without fulfilling purpose will still leave us empty.

It’s important that we realize that we don’t necessarily have to settle for one group of attributed or the other. It doesn’t have to be an “either or” situation. We don’t have to try to steer clear of power, or prominence, or productivity or even profit to gain purpose. Those things are not problems – lacking purpose is the problem. God can, and often times does, give all of these together. Without purpose they are hindrances and deception. But with purpose, they are blessing that help give us the ability to impact others with God’s will.

More Questions to consider...

  • If things are going well, is that an indication that we are doing the will of God?

  • Is it even possible to carry out our life’s purpose without power, prominence, productivity and profit?

Reference Scripture(s): 1 Kings 2:1-46

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