Have you ever been confronted with something so simple and yet in many ways so profound?  This week I was when I was discussing with a colleague the best way to think about direction and purpose.  I’ve heard people say (and I’ve sat through the planning sessions) where the goal was to think of your ‘future state’.  But this time the question was posed in much a way that it really made me pause.  The question that was asked of me was:

“How do you define success?”

Simple – right?  Yet take a moment and think about it.  It has the potential to create some serious consideration in your life.  It really has ‘punch’ because we all want to be minimally successful in whatever it is we’re doing in life – but most definitely in the things we would consider to be most important.

So if you were to ask this question in relation to your life, what would you say?  “I would define life success for me by the following: _____________”.  How would you answer that?  That’s the question I asked myself – and I arrived at some conclusions relating to the most important things in my life.

When it’s all said and done I would consider my life to be a success if:

  • My spiritually mature wife would say that I loved her the way Jesus loves the church.
  • My spiritually mature kids would say I loved them with God’s unconditional love in the good times and bad times.
  • My saved/unsaved extended family would say I showed them what true ‘religion’ looks like: that I loved my neighbor as I loved myself.
  • My church would say I did all that I could to help them fulfill Christ’s Commission to make disciples locally and globally.
  • My co-workers would say I cared more about them spiritually than what they contributed to the organization.
  • Those I minister to would say who they saw upfront is the same guy sitting across the table from them in the coffee shop.
  • My God would say that even though I made many mistakes – the passion of my life was to be a man after His own heart.

This is specifically relating to my life – but this can also be applied to anything that is important to you in life:

  • When you’re finished being a teacher, what you consider to be ‘success’?
  • When you’re done your internship, what would you consider to be ‘success’?
  • When you’ve wrapped up your volunteer work, what would you consider to be ‘success’?
  • When your relationship with your grandkids is coming to a close, what would you consider to be ‘success’?

If what I’ve written above is how I would define success, how should this impact my life today?

Depending on how you would define success, how should that impact your life today?  When it comes to your marriage, your kids, your work, your spiritual life – how would you define success?

Scott Foreman is the Executive Director of Word of Life Canada, a youth organization where he has ministered since 1999.  Every year Scott is blessed with opportunities to speak at youth retreats, conferences and evangelistic events.  You can read more about Scott’s ministry here.


  1. Thank you Scott for such a thought provoking post. While a definition of “success” is not specifically mentioned in scripture Scott’s thoughts certainly should cause us to stop and examine our own lives.

    Perhaps to say when I sense I am “walking in the spirit” Galatians 5:16 I am a success.
    Or, when I sense the “peace of God ruling in my heart” Colossians 3:15.

    What about you?

  2. Thank you Scott for these insights. Phil mentions that there is not a clear definition for ‘success’ in Scripture, there is certainly many references to ‘success’ in God’s eyes.
    Successful living, to me, is how we live out our faith, and teachings from Scripture in our every-day life.
    To my wife, do I demonstrate genuine love, equality of roles with respect……..and so much more.
    To those I serve, do I do that faithfully, continuously, and serve based on their needs, not my perceptions.
    To my ‘kids’, with respect now as adults where council replaces direction………….
    To those I employ, with appreciation, appropriate compensation, valuing their input if appropriate ……….

    These are all just initial thoughts…….motivated by your blog and your insights.

    Thanks so much for sharing and including me. I just ‘signed up’ to get more.

    God Bless.

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