Personal success and ministry success
One of the great demerits of the success, breakthrough and motivational emphasis of the last several years is loss of good value system in the church. Success has been taught to mean achievement, attainment and acquirement to the neglect of personal virtues. The focus had been on secular, ephemeral, immediate gain, to the neglect of the most important success of all-Personal Success. The results have been many people who are outward success but inward failures.
Today, there are many preachers and Christians who have gained worldly and material success, but who are secret slaves of sin, evil, ungodliness and spiritual nonentities.
A.Defining Personal Success – I Cor. 9:27; I Tim. 4:16
Personal success is the ability to lead yourself first. Mastering yourself emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially. Ruling and reigning over your body and passions. Having mastery of yourself. Conquering your heart and teaching it love, good manners, values and rejecting all negativity.
A certain emperor of a kingdom was walking at the outskirts of a city, when he encountered a very old man walking ramrod straight in the opposite direction. ‘Who are you?’ The emperor asked his subject. ‘I am a king’, replied the old man. ‘A king?’ Over what kingdom do you reign?’ ‘Over myself’! was the proud old man’s answer. Yes! You are a monarch over your own life. You are responsible for ruling your actions and decisions.
B.Why You Must Succeed with Yourself first – Heb. 12:15-17
Your life is your ministry. Your life is where all your ministry starts. Whatever you want to achieve, you will have to start from yourself first. Before you succeed with others, you’ll have to succeed with yourself first.
• Success is an inside job – if you don’t succeed within, you will never succeed without.
• You have to win within first before you win without.
• Success is who you are within.
• True success is more of who you are than what you accomplish.
• You will either be your greatest assets or liability.
• The toughest person to lead is yourself.
• If you don’t lead yourself well, you will destroy whatever you accomplish outwardly.
• To succeed outwardly, you’ll have to succeed inwardly first.
‘When we are foolish, we want to conquer the world. When we are wise, we want to conquer ourselves first’ – John Foster.The only conquests, which are permanent and leave no regrets, are conquests of ourselves. Don’t try to conquer the world until you’ve taken care of things in your own backyard – Napoleon.
C.Barriers To Personal Success
There is the story of the man who wants to change the world in his twenties. But nobody will listen to him. He tried in his 40s, 60s and 80s. He later learnt too late at 85 that the first person he should have changed was himself. Here are some obstacles to personal success:
• Ignorance – failure to be properly taught
• Wrong examples – Bad examples by leaders have derailed many
• Failure to work on yourself – fear of pain, hard work
• Refusal to grow and grow up – relishing babyish tendencies
• Self-indulgence and pleasure – pampering and excusing your weaknesses
• The desire to belong and join the Bandwagon – being like the Jones and Joneses
• Emphasis on the seen and ephemeral – disdain for godly values.
The greatest crowd you will ever preach to is yourself. The greatest watchman in the whole world is the man that watches himself. If you allow these things to hinder you from leading yourself first, then you will make a shipwreck of whatever outward success you might have.
D.Examples of Judas and Paul
Judas and Paul were two men handpicked by Jesus himself. Each lived in a realm of revival. Each witnessed and worked miracles. But while Judas was a ministry success, he was a personal failure. However, Paul is an example of personal and ministry success.
Dr. Bola Akin-John
International Church Growth Ministry