How do you measure success?
That’s a brilliant question because the world is fiercely pursuing you, seeking to force its own elastic rules into your thinking.
This month, we’ve been talking about productivity, we’re going to continue to do that, but really my interest is very much more in more than just producing more. It’s it’s really purposeful. Productivity is where my. Wow, look at my hair today. Praise the Lord like that. That is bedhead. I’m hunting. I’m wanting to really touch on another side of this that I think is very important in that I prefer to talk about it as purposeful productivity because more for more sake is not really what we’re looking for.
We are looking to kind of move into a place where our fruit, where we are fruitful, OK? And by that I mean fruitful within the constraints. And I use that word in its best possible sense within the boundaries of God’s call, specific creative call for our lives, for your life, for my life. And today I want to touch on that in something that I don’t know if it’s spoken of often. I’ve not heard it kind of spoken of in a very candid way, but certainly it’s something that is prolific.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has struggled with some of the things that I’m going to touch on. And what I want to talk about today is the tendency to compare and to compete and and how particularly I think social media and the whole online world has made this very much a battlefield of the heart and the mind. And it really comes down to how we measure success and some of the ways in which, like the world is fiercely pursuing us to try and get us to frame our own fruitfulness according to its own elastic rules and by elastic rules.
What I mean is that the world will have you set one line and say, oh, well, if I could reach that, if I could attain that, then I will be successful, significant, valuable, whatever accolade you want to put on that pedestal. That is what the world is offering and saying this is the standard. And if you reach this line, if you cross this line, then you will be. The problem is like the moment you cross that line a millimetre over that line when you should be celebrating that the world and its kind of greedy nature will simply move the finish post and you will find yourself in exactly the same sad and saddening position that.
Ah, so I thought if I earned X amount each month, then I would be. You put your accolade in the in the in the gap there. Yeah. But it will move it. All right. OK. Say wasn’t ten thousand a month, it’s actually twenty thousand. That will make me feel significant and said that the goal simply moves and we just keep running after that Carol, you know, because they say success can so easily become a moving target, you know, where enough is never enough.
And really the message is that everyone else is better than us. Faster than us. More than us. Mightier than us, richer than us, more handsome, more beautiful than us or whatever. Whatever it is, there’s someone else who has taken the crown that we want to wear and we just keep running after this dangling carrot and and, you know, productivity and seeking to produce and seeking to become more seeking to make more can just become an endless pursuit of a I like some.
Some accolade or some. I don’t know some standard that is actually just a wisp, and as soon as we get there, it just dissipates in the wind and we keep running. And this kind of comparison and competition where we are always setting goals and setting our standards according to someone else’s call, can be so crippling. And instead of celebrating the wins of others or indeed celebrating our own and recognising that what is a win for one may not be for someone else, what is that?
What is a great breakthrough for you might be an everyday occurrence for someone else. You know, instead of celebrating those wins, we are always kind of being hijacked by this desire or this sense in which we have not quite made it. You know, we’re really caught in the constant pursuit of someone else’s call and promise. And we’re caught in this idea that we have to chase someone else’s dream. And those dreams are usually plastered all over a bunch of sales pages or social media feeds or whatever.
And we fail to realise that it is the Holy Ghost. It’s God himself who is framing our life in the world, were framed by the word of God. And when God brought these worlds into existence, he did it perfectly. And he in a similar way, he has framed your life, your purpose, your calling according to the according to his perfect desire and intent for you. And it’s very easy to get get caught chasing someone else. You know, the scriptures talk about how we are to take Jesus yoke upon us, how we can be caught in a never ending tirade or pursuit of things that really just upset our equilibrium that were were.
And he says, look, stop worrying about all of that stuff. Yoke yourself with me because my burden is easy in my kids light. My yoke is easy. My burden is light. And, you know, when we tried to yoke herself to what God had God is doing for someone else or God’s plan or purpose for another will find that that yoke, because it is shaped and fitted for that specific person, it will chafe on our neck.
You know, it will it will chafe and neck and trouble our conscience because see, God has a massive, all encompassing kingdom purpose. And we play a specific part in that. And, you know, it’s whereas we are often tempted to measure live by levels of income, our father in heaven is measuring our success according to our level of obedience. And it is our obedience that really counts. And, you know, being being measured by all of these other metrics, although some of them do have their place, you know, although I’m not suggesting that we just kind of trudge along through life in miserable mediocrity, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have a yearning ambitions to become more and to to spread our wings and to help more people and to to have a greater impact.
All of those things are positive and good. But when we compare what we are accomplishing with what someone else is accomplishing and we diminish our significance in the light of that, or we exalt and we we puff up our significance in the light of that, we are really getting on to very, very, very shaky ground and say the scriptures tell us that obedience is better than sacrifice. And I can promise you, knowing his voice and walking in step with heaven is far better than all of the accolades that the world can offer.
They’ll come a day where every one, every man, every woman will stand before God and give account for their lives. And, you know, he’s not going to be counting in the same way as we count. Here on Earth, he’s going to say good and faithful servant, this is what we hope he’s going to say anyways. My God, I do hope he’ll be saying these words good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful with little come let me make you ruler over much.
Being faithful in the things that God has entrusted to your care and to your stewardship is how you will be judged, not where you faithful with that which I gave to someone else, but with that which I gave to you. There is there’s a verse in Corinthians that’s so telling and very searching and it says, don’t worry, we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these are the men who tell you how important they are, but they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement in the King James.
It says in comparing themselves with themselves, they made themselves fools. How ignorant. You know, your your productivity, your your levels of fruitfulness and your activities here in service to mankind or at least should be different from those of others and you know that they will be aligned with the stage of life that you’re in. They’ll be aligned with your values. They’ll be aligned with your particular skill set and personality. And so the measure really at the end of the day becomes yourself, if you’re going to compete with anyone, compete with yourself.
If you’re going to compare yourself to anyone, compare yourself to the guy or the gal he was back there. Okay. Five years ago or three months ago or 10 years ago or whatever, because that really is is like we can actively then see how we have progressed, how we have grown. And it’s probably a much more positive, hopefully judgement that we can make. Then looking at someone else, his background and his story we really know nothing about, and then using that to measure ourself, because here we are measuring obedience and only you can be held accountable for the things that the Holy Ghost has told you to do.
You know, I’ve definitely fallen into the ditch of enough is never enough on way too many occasions. And still, do you know, I slip in there, I, I read a sales page or I hear a video or I see something on a scrolling feed and wow, I just lose my footing and before I know it, I’m in the mud. And you know, we read all of the boasting in the income reports and you know, we can so easily think, man, if only but then if we reach those same places that we were thinking, if only there’s that, there’s just the temptation then hits again to bypass thankfulness and just strive for whatever the next plateau might be.
And said this morning I was talking with the Holy Ghost around this whole subject, and he reminded me because again, like I say, I do sometimes get that kind of niggling, awful feeling in my heart, my spirit, my soul, wherever you want to call it. I look at someone else’s success and I’m tempted to compare myself and I look narrowly upon them. It’s not a it’s not a positive sense of celebrating someone else’s win. It’s more lamenting the fact that I’m not there myself.
And this kind of cynical spirit, I call it, like looking narrowly on someone like you, squint your eyes and I’m not so sure about that, you know that. And we we begin to judge by a very negative rule. And I just don’t I just don’t I just know that nothing positive can come of that kind of cynical spirit. Now, I know discernment. Absolutely. Yeah. But if we are deceased by what we see. Then no, that’s not discernment, you know, if we if if the ease of a spirit, if the sense of peace and well-being and wholeness is upset within us when we encounter something or encounter someone, you know.
But it’s an indication that something’s wrong. Yes, but I would be very careful to. I would be very careful, in your estimation, of what may be causing that dis ease. Yeah, because sometimes it is that the frame and the focus and the lens through which we look. Not necessarily. I mean, who are we to judge another? You know, really the only thing that we can judge at the end of the day, I think anyways and, you know, you may choose to think differently, but the only thing that we can really judge is our own response and reaction to these.
Kind of things, you know, it’s it’s no good pointing a finger because the Bible says that seven will point back at us and, you know, even if there is something that is amiss and I think there often is Jimenez, a lot of a lot of marketing particularly, is aimed to stir up a sense of inadequacy and our sense of need and our sense of lack and a fear of missing out and all of those silly things. You know, but but I think we’re all prone to it in our souls so, so easily.
But at the end of the day, it’s no good pointing a finger and saying they are wrong or this is wrong or whatever. At the end of the day, all we can do is look at the man or the woman in the mirror and say, hey, look, why did I respond in this way? What is what is there in me that this can hook into and draw up this negative emotion, you know, and our personal walk and I walk with God.
You a really does not need to be shadowed by a thousand other tiring. I’m like towering voices. We want to walk in the light of his grace. We want to walk in the full light of obedience to what he has spoken to us and stay true to that, not looking in every direction. And I was reminded as I was praying, you know, of this verse in Matthew. And again, it’s another searching verse for where your treasure is there.
Will your heart be? Also, the light of the body is the eye. If there for thine I be single, your whole body will be full of light. But if you’re your be evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in the darkness, how great is that darkness? Now that’s that’s a kind of very it seems like a very cryptic verse, if I’m honest. And that but I was vague, was brought to my attention this morning as I was praying and just discussing some of this stuff with the Holy Ghost.
And I love to just dig under the surface. I’m no Hebrew or Greek scholar. But, you know, there are plenty of tools now at our disposal to make it look like we could be. And I one of my favourites is Fayaz Theological Word Book. And this word a single I to be single, it literally means without Foulds. So nothing is hidden or covered up. It’s laid out straight. It means a single unwavering purpose, fulfilling its office.
It means simple when nothing is complicated or confused at clear, I intent on fulfilling its singular purpose. Oh, with one focus to serve the king generously and without comparison. It’s not pointing in every direction. It’s not looking at everything else and everyone else. It is singularly focussed in one direction. I am going to serve the King and I’m going to do as he has told me. And then it speaks then of an evil eye, opening the doorway for darkness to come in and obscure our vision and obscure the way we see things in the perspective that we come to, to, to view life with.
And it literally means deceased disease full of labours and annoyances. And if you feel like annoyance and irritation over things, it’s probably because there’s a bit of a narrow eye there that you’re looking through. It means pressed and harassed by works and hardships. This is not this is not the kind of productivity that I want to get involved in. I really, really, honestly let me off the hamster wheel. It means unintimidated toil carrying no suggestion of results.
That’s what I like. That’s like so awful, isn’t it? Unintimidated. There with no break, with no breathing, with no pause, with no place of rest, just unintimidated toil carrying, no suggestion of results, this is not what we want and envious. It is envious and narrow in its estimations of others. And in this conversation of productivity producing good and abundant fruit, we are talking holistically, you know, our family lives should be richer as a result of our business lives, and our business lives should be informed by the richness and the overflow of our family lives and our relationships.
You know, nothing should be starved of our presence and our full our full, passionate engagement because of something else. And a life is not productive if it is like over productive in one area, but absent, but like sucking the life out of somewhere else, there is more to life. Honestly, we live broadly and full lives that the Lord is leading us as a shepherd to Stillwater’s and to lush pastures where we can not only enjoy abundant fruitfulness, but we can also lay down and find places of rest, not not places of unintimidated toil.
Thank God. You know, too often, you know, it’s. A richly a truly rich and fruitful, productive man, a woman lives by measures of genuine value and they regulate their life accordingly. And too often it’s very easy for us to be guided like kind of blind cattle into thinking that our progress and towards whatever goal we are aiming at is measured only by our bottom line. You know, and like this, let me say it straight, man.
Your true worth is not and never will be determined by your net worth. You are valuable with or without anything else. Like seriously, inherently. And then so sometimes limited pie thinking insists that if someone else has got a big slice, then that means it’s less for me. If they if they have gained, I have lost. But really, honestly, the pie is not staying the same size as we all rise. The pie expands and the opportunities, opportunities open up that previously did not exist.
And we should be looking for those opportunities, we should be looking and seeing like, wow, when someone opens something up, when something opens up for someone else, it’s actually a doorway through which we can then step through and experience a bigger life. Through which we can engage with a greater level of opportunity and and success, so and this is not easy to do. I mean, I’m not saying that this is just like, OK, let’s let’s just not compare.
Let’s just not compete. Oh, happy day. Well, big happy family. You know, it’s not easy. It’s something that we have to come to again and again. And this is not a conversation that is one that I’ve not previously had. I’m just aware that, you know, we have to watch over ourselves and really seek to free ourselves from this never ending cycle of comparing and competing and really commit to our goal, our personal unique.
Call. Serving Christ with our whole heart and that that we would continue to sow and let him take care of the outcomes because we know that he is an abundant. Reward of those who earnestly and diligently seek him and desire to do his will and fulfil his purposes. Well, thanks for listening. Hopefully. It’s been an encouragement to you today. If you want to connect any further, you can do so through my website at Davidleemartin.com.
Have a great day.