I live in north Houston in a community that seems perfect on paper. If you were to drive through this township, you would think everyone lived perfect lives. Yet the lay ministers and leaders in the churches know better. I am one of those ministry leaders. While many in this community have achieved what many would consider external success, many of these people are internally broken.
If success is broken up into two parts – internal and external success – then most of the people I serve are only experiencing 180 degrees of success.
This is not God’s best. In the bible, we are told that God blessed Abraham in ALL things (Genesis 24:1). This speaks to 360 degree success. Another author is the bible declares that above all things, he wishes that we prosper in ALL things (3 John 2).
Therefore, we know that God’s best is that we experience 360 degree success! The question is how?
How to Achieve Internal Success
Internal success can be defined as experiencing inner peace, love, joy, and rest, deep within our soul. This type of success cannot be earned by working harder. It is a result of growing our intimacy with God. Without genuine living faith in God, we find ourselves overwhelmed with fear, worry, anxiety, insecurity, and restlessness. These are the very things that ruin our personal relationships and disrupt all areas of our lives if we do not get a handle on them. How do we get a handle on them? Deepen our relationship with God for he is the author of peace, love, joy, and rest.
To experience internal success requires that we take what Jesus considers the greatest commandment seriously: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37).
How to Achieve External Success
External success is defined as success that is earned through our own initiative. Said another way, this type of success is up to us. It requires working hard, persevering, discipline, and so forth. But here is the reality. Doing the things mentioned above does not automatically guarantee external success.
To be successful requires two things: First, you have to operate within the sphere of your gifting (the one thing that you are uniquely created, skilled and have an innate ability to do). Second, you have to use your gifting to help solve people’s problems.
Therefore, the first question you should ask yourself if you want to experience external success is this: What problems are people experiencing in my community that I am able to solve?
This is where love comes in. By its very nature, love always seeks to solve a problem because it cares so much! In fact, those who love people are always looking to solve people’s problems – to make people’s lives easier, to take away their burden, to make people’s lives better. Therefore, we see that love is creative, committed, perseveres, works hard, takes initiative, and so forth by its very nature. This is why Jesus considers loving your neighbor as yourself the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39)
Food for Thought: Paying attention to the two greatest commandments will create 360 degree success. This will in turn make you a powerful influencer for good in your community
Two Greatest Commandments
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”