When Paul Harvey, famous journalist and radio commentator, was asked to reveal the secret of his success, he responded, “I get up when I fall down.” John Maxwell devoted an entire book to the initial failures of successful people. In his book, Failing Forward, he wrote, “When it comes right down to it, I know of only one factor that separates those who consistently shine from those who don’t. The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure. Nothing else has the same kind of impact on people’s ability to achieve and to accomplish whatever their minds and hearts desire.” The point is that few people rise to the level of success without first passing through the portals of failure.
These truths are found in the struggle for success in both the temporal and spiritual world. Unfortunately, most people think of success only in the temporal world. This is why so many people reach a high level of success in their field of expertise and still have emptiness inside they can’t seem to satisfy. We see this in business executives, high- paid athletes, movie stars, and other worldly endeavors. The reality is that temporal success plus spiritual failure may allow us to live life more comfortably, but it will never bring us the enter peace that the heart of man craves..
If spiritual success is important, it would be to our benefit to understand how to measure it. I believe that there are four signs of spiritual success found in the first psalm. Read it for yourself and see if you can not see these four things.
- First, a successful spiritual life is one that has found and maintained strong moral stability(v. 1).
- Second, it is a life that is spiritually oriented and that takes delight in spiritual things (v, 2).
- Third, it is a life that bears good fruit. (v.3).
- Fourth, it is a life that has no doubt about its eternal security (v. 6) Another way of saying it is that a spiritually successful person lives right, loves the things of God, produces a positive influence on his/her world and has no doubt about his/her final destination.
Like temporal success, our spiritual success does not always come easy. We stumble and fall. With each failure, there is a lesson we should learn. It is we can’t succeed on our own. Self-will and determination is not enough. We need help; we need the daily guidance of God’s Spirit in our lives. He is the one who shines light on our failures but He is also the one who will extend a hand to lift us up. If we choose not to yield to His leadership, spiritual success will pass us by.
If these words seem to be more discouraging than encouraging reach out and take His hand. It is always extended toward you. It begins by acknowledging you can’t do it on your own. Let Him lift you up and dust you off. He will lead you to success. Do not dwell on past failures but remember, “It is not how hard you get knocked down but how fast you get up that really matters.”