True Success or Temporary Success?

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. Acts 14:19

Paul was a great leader, but there were times when it must have seemed that Paul had lost the race. After the stoning, Paul looked dead!

To any betting person, I am sure they would not have hurried to put their money on this opinionated disciple that lay only bruised by the stones made from the hard soil of Iconium jealousy. This would not be the last time that Paul would be rejected and cast out. He would soon face shipwrecks, vipers, hatred, cynicism, and angry mobs.

The Long Road to Success

In the end, he still said in 2 Timothy, with confidence, “I have fought the good fight, I have won the race!

It didn’t look that way. Not after he was dragged from Iconium anyway. But the story has not been half told. There is more to what Paul will do with his life. He will have ups and downs; he will face opponents and he will receive applause. Success is developed under favorable lighting and following winds. It is not a position you receive nor is it necessarily in a role you are given. If position is your definition of success, it will be short lived and hollow. Success is not a gift.

It is hard earned.

Brian Clay, the recent Olympic Gold medalist did not just win the gold at Beijing in ’08. He had to win at every level of competition. In the previous years leading up to Beijing, he had had to prevail time and time again. He triumphed when winds were favorable and when they were not. He performed when he felt at the top of his game and when he was nursing an injury or a strain, a sickness or a cold. And when the clock told him he failed, he had to win over the clock’s judgment of him. He had to be resilient and advance. He won on the track and he won in his heart.

Successful families and successful marriages are not made from smooth rides. Successful ministries do not happen by taking Easy Street. Successful businesses don’t come by taking the circuitous route of putting others down or brown-nosing those who can give you a short cut to the top.

Only time will tell the true victors and those who truly succeeded … for true success comes only aftermany continuous successes.

You see, the words “success” and “successive” are closely related. True success comes only after: a successive amount of wins, successive times of resilience, successive defeats, several setbacks … and a successive amount of championship responses.

Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend

Recently, there have been several moments where I have felt the ache of Iconium stones and I have had the urge to retreat. But while doing my devotions, Paul reprimanded me as only a friend could do. He has been mentoring me for several years now.

My best friends are in the Bible, and so are yours. Like Paul, each of the characters in the Word of God have been assigned to tutor us in areas such as leadership, grace, time management and morality. They await our audience. As a leader, don’t skimp on your devotions. Make it one of the most important parts of your day.

Paul summarized with me this leadership essential. In essence, he said:

“You must stay the course and win … successively … and when you want to capitulate, you must not. They may stone you and hope that you are finally dead, but get back up. Resilience is the key to success. You’re not done yet!”

Each of us, along with Paul, must be able to say in the end, regardless of the set backs…

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness …” (2 Tm. 4:7,8)

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