By Ndukwu Chibundom Kaosisochukwu - October 04, 2022

“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” – Emile Gauvreau

The quest for success is the biggest motivator of our actions as human beings. This statement is a truism. If your definition of success is the attainment of material wealth, you will spend most of your time trying to discover ways to make money as fast as you can. If your definition of success is fame, you will probably be engaging in the activities of those who wish to be famous, venturing into singing or acting, or influencing. If your definition of success is the fulfilment of purpose and your calling in the Lord, the same rule applies.

So why then, is such a term as important as success often misinterpreted and misunderstood by society? Why do we let ourselves live our lives striving for the sort of success that is just a marginal segment of the constituents of true good success?

I believe we human beings have the natural tendency to look for simple answers to complex things. This is why a term as complex as success has been reduced and diluted to merely material wealth, riches, and most often the reputation and fame that comes with attaining wealth. I guarantee that if a worldwide survey of the meaning of success were conducted, at least 90% of the participants would state that success involves both money and some form of repute and fame.

The widely accepted definition of success always involves money. This is a fact that cannot be denied. Even if you are working according to your purpose and living a happy life, if your earnings are not big enough to be described as the earnings of a wealthy man; you most likely would never find anyone, even among your Christian community, who will label you as being successful.

On the other hand, you could be the most pathetically miserable person alive, with failing friendships and relationships, suffering from crushing loneliness and sweeping depression as a result of your empty life; but as long as you have acquired earthly treasures of the sorts that many dream to acquire, you will be not only seen as a success but will have many people aspiring to be just like you.

This cultural limitation of success to monetary acquisition and fame is one of the most dangerous fates that have befallen mankind. In the roots of this definition lie tragedies of lives wasted on the altar of making money, tragedies of the ever-growing corporate rat race that most of us are either stuck in or aspire to get stuck in. At the roots of this definition lie millions of humans so blinded to the complexities of human existence, that they are nothing but shells who believe that their sense of worth comes from nothing other than the amount of ‘dough’ they have in their bank accounts.


“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Luke 12:15(NLT)


Nowadays, young men and women are constantly driven to sacrifice everything, even their health and well-being, for the attainment of this definition of success.

As a result, we have men and women giving away their senses of morality, their relationships, and family; and working themselves to burnout in the name of success. Unfortunately, most continue like this until it reaches a point in their lives in which they realise that in their drive to attain success, they have managed to make every other aspect of their lives empty. And then they become depressed multi-millionaires, business moguls suffering from afflictions due to their ways of living, suicidal celebrities, or influencers with no true friends.

And others look at them and think: This is success. This is what I want for my life.


“Remember that true success is not just the ability to accumulate material wealth; it is the ability to truly enjoy life and everything God provides in it.”- Joyce Meyer


As a Christian, you may think that you are not suffering from the consequences of this mentality, merely because you are not willing to use dubious means to attain wealth. But there are countless Christians out there driving themselves to a terrible burnout with the way they set about with their daily businesses, many Christians ruining friendships due to their overt focus on the attainment of success, and watching their spiritual life dwindle all because of this mentality. You may be just as bad as the atheist who measures his life in terms of his money.

Maybe it is time that we begin to realise that whilst God does not wish for any of us to live in abject poverty, while he wishes for us all to be comfortable enough to provide for our needs and give to the less privileged, the restriction of success merely to the attainment of money has done more harm than good.

Perhaps it is time we stop this close-minded belief and search for a better definition of good success, one that is decoupled from fame and wealth, one that actually looks into personal value and purpose.

Perhaps it is time for a change in the definition of good success.



Joshua 1:8

The book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.


1. Having a thriving spiritual life

Our eternal life is far more important than our temporary life on earth. Hence, there is no truer way to begin elaborating on the true meaning of success without bringing our minds to the fact that without a relationship with God, material wealth means nothing.

After all, what good does it do for a man to gain all the luxuries and wealth of this world and then lose his soul? We come to this world empty, and we will leave empty, without whatever we have spent (or wasted) our lives attaining. Do not be one of those Christians who are slowly letting their spiritual life crumble as they go back and forth in the pursuit of wealth.

Without a relationship with God, the core definition of success, aka the attainment of purpose cannot be actualised. Hence, in all our doing, we should remember to put the kingdom of God first; and let all other things and cares of this life fall to the back of the line.

If you seek to have a true relationship with God or to fall back in line if you have backslidden, click on this link to access all the resources you need.


2. Attainment of purpose

The attainment of purpose is by far the most important measure of success. Purpose is what we humans have been brought into this world to do, what we have been crafted for by the saviour.

But then again, this begs the question, must the attainment of purpose and the attainment of material wealth work concurrently?

My answer is ‘No’. And I have biblical proof of this. In fact, it may be best to say that while there are times the attainment of purpose might bring about material wealth, the two are mutually exclusive. In the bible, while we have the likes of Job, Abraham, Isaac, Solomon etc., who, in line with the attainment of purpose, were blessed with great wealth, many others lived by simple means. Most of the disciples and apostles lived simply, making just enough to live comfortable lives but not more.

What does this mean? While there is nothing wrong with the attainment of wealth, there are many others that will be called for various purposes that may require the forgoing of the dream of the luxury that comes with wealth. As I once heard a man say, while there are pastors that are called to be widely known and very popular, hence having a huge congregation and means to live in comfort, there are also pastors that are called to reach out to the most abject and neglected of areas, the poor villages and the underdeveloped sections of the world.

Are they being successful in their attainment of purpose? Yes. But in such areas, it is hard to find the luxury that comes with wealth.

Many stories are shared of men who were once very financially successful but were called by the Lord to quite literally shed every burden of their material possessions and begin to walk in purpose by doing activities that would prevent them from making the desired amount of wealth.

And the fact remains, as long as a person is not derailing from purpose, and walking in line with God’s will for the person’s life, such a person is successful.


3. Being of sound health and mind

3 John 2 (NIV)

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

In a world where sickness does not necessarily equate to a short life, more and more people are letting go of their physical health in pursuit of success, neglecting their mental health for the rat race.

People are succumbing to stress due to this never-ending pressure, and according to a survey by the American Psychological Association, this has been leading to health problems, lost relationships and counterintuitively, lost productivity amongst many of us.

And this is why certain diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease and obesity are on the rise.

It is fair to say that except we come down with a sickness, for most of us, our health is largely neglected. But the fact is; a multi-millionaire or billionaire or mogul cannot enjoy his or her wealth if the person is bedridden or chronically ill. So whilst we strive for success, our health is an aspect that we should never neglect.


4. Having good relationships


If you have money, use the money to build relationships… Estates do not visit you when you are in the sick bed. Estates do not say I love you. Estates do not say I am praying for you … Don’t be carried away by mundane things and ignore men - Apostle Joshua Selman.


In my interview with David McNeff, the writer of ‘The Work/ Life Balance Myth’, we discussed the seven slices of life, one of which includes social or family life. Through his book and the interview, I have realised that many people are willing to sacrifice good friendships and relationships on the altar of work.

When all your waking hours are spent pursuing money and luxury without carving enough time to build good relationships, the result is crushing loneliness and unhappiness despite wealth. This is because we all need people.

In all we do to attain success, we should never be like the wealthy ones with divorces and no true friends. Without people, you can never claim to have good success in the true sense of the word. You really can never be truly happy without having good relationships.


5. Peace of mind

Peace of mind is a core aspect of good success that is most often neglected. After all, can one claim to be successful if one has material possessions and fame but is riddled with worries and concerns? Can one be said to be successful if one does not come home every night to a calm and happy home, a home in which one can find true comfort?

Not at all.

We all know the miseries that come with a lack of peace of mind. We must all have watched movies which feature wealthy people who have traded away the peace of mind that is most coveted for the attainment of material success. As we all can tell, the resulting life is not a very happy one.

The Lord wishes for us to have good success, the sort of success that comes with no sorrows, and with peace of mind. And in all that we do, we should realise that if whatever we have set out to do to be successful requires forgoing peace of mind, then it most definitely is not in line with the plan of God for us.

Of course, other elements combine for the formation of good success, and the attainment of financial stability is one of them. But the earlier we step away from the mentality that it is all that constitutes good success, the better for us and the society at large.


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