How would you define success? When someone does something well, wins, learns something or has positive results occur. When have you considered yourself successful or a failure? Chances are you will remember more failures than successes.
Biographers have written that Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, made over nine hundred light bulbs that didn’t work before he finally made one that did. Nine hundred times he went to all the trouble of making a light bulb, plugging it in, flipping the switch, and watching while nothing happened. People must have thought he was nuts, but he kept on trying. According to Edison, every time he made a light bulb that didn’t work, he merely found ‘one more way not to make a light bulb.’ Eventually, by the process of elimination, he made a light bulb that produced light. As a result, he is known as one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Are you considering changing your definition of success and failure? Here are some thoughts of how Jesus handled or defined success. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). From Luke 5:30-32, Jesus responded to the Pharisees this way, “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Just before He died on the cross, Jesus said this, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave Me to do.” (John 17:3-4).
In other words Jesus was faithful to the purpose He lived on earth. He worked directly with a handful of people in His three years of ministry work on earth and established the foundation for the Christian Church which we are experiencing today. One other truth needs to be added to provide a clearer definition of success. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Be faithful in the way God has created you and pursue learning your purpose in life that He has created you for by putting together your talents, spiritual gifts, personality, interests and experiences. The first component to understanding your purpose before all these other aspects is actively pursue developing your relationship with Jesus by spending consistent time in the Bible and prayer so that you think more and more like Jesus. Hang out with other growing Christians and live (and speak) your faith before others.
Not everything you attempt or try will succeed. It may take many attempts to possibly succeed. Learn from your experiences, then adjust what you learned to what you are attempting to pursue.
Failure is not a person. You are not a failure. Perhaps something you tried to accomplish did not work or failed but that does not make you a failure. Keep pursing being faithful and allow God to shape you in the way He has created you.