Montag, 10. September 2018

The integrity of success

If you really want to know, what a man is made of, put him either under adversity or under prosperity (success). If one had to chose between these two, most would choose success, realizing that it is far harder to handle as they expected. Thomas Carlyle said: “for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred who will stand adversity.” Adversity tests a man’s character. When things get tough, a man must demonstrate his abilities to give everything when needed. Success instead tests the integrity of a man. Even with plenty of success, will he remain loyal to his personal code of ethics? When adversity strikes, things get rather simple. You can rely on your principles and know what to do to survive. Prosperity however makes your life more complicated. With our numerous needs with other needs coming from prosperity putting to test, one needs to demonstrate his integrity.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise.” (Psalm 27:21)

Success is challenging because it produces pride. “The success has got to their head” saying doesn’t come from nowhere. Success tends to make men believe that their achievements are only their merit, forgetting all the people that helped them along the way and often their humble beginnings. Everything came and will return to God. Success is always temporary. As it came, it will inevitably fade away. In the scripture it says: “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. “(Ps. 75:6–7) That’s why success is one of the biggest challenges a man can face. He suddenly has to face temptations, that he never had to deal with. He has more disposable income, has more social prestige and gets consulted by many people for his advice. How should the success not go to his head? 

The only way is to be a man of integrity. Oxford dictionary describes “integrity” as follows:  “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” When you take the success away from a man, he remains with his principles. Success isn’t a merit, but a responsibility. In the harsh world of business, it is a relief to rely on Christian principles.  God wants everyone to be successful. However, waiting for success to fall in your lab is against the will of God. A man of Christ takes his work ethic from the scriptures: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lod, not the men.”(Colossians 3:23-24)

The integrity that is needed for success, is also needed for failure. Facing failure hurts. Our self-worth declines, we feel humiliated and feel doubt in our own abilities. Don’t do that. Rely on your faith. Failure is often a step stone for greatness. Take Nathaniel Hawthorne for example. He lost his job as a surveyor in the Salem Custom House. Around the same time his mother died and described it as the "the darkest hour I ever lived." Nevertheless he used the new free time for his writing and created his best work, The Scarlet Letter.

Failure isn’t final. Plenty of great men in the bible were first confronted with failure before rising to greatness. Moses was a murder and fugitive. Peter denied Jesus. Saul of Tarsus prosecuted Christians. It is all a matter of your principles. Work on your integrity, because failure doesn’t break a man, but how he responds to it.

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