How we understand “Success” will directly affect the choices we make as we homeschool our children.
Success is something that the world we live in attains to; it is something that we all want for ourselves and for our children.
I believe that our definition of success, as a Christian, should be different than the definition we see around us. We are to be in the world but not of the world – our language and understanding of things need to be different. Has the spirit of success, as the world sees it, influenced us?
Success is seen as achieving –
- achieving knowledge
- achieving position
- achieving money, and
- achieving recognition
A different perspective
Success must mean something else in God’s world because the very things man sees as success God warns against.
Knowledge – brings wise in own eyes – proud and haughty spirit (one of the things God despises)
Position – God is looking for the servant heart – the last shall be the first in God’s Kingdom.
Money – the love of money is the beginning of all evil. How God must know the heart of man – He knows that should this aspect of our lives – a necessary aspect – but should it be out of whack, then it becomes a driving force in our life – an idol.
Recognition – A prince doesn’t strive for the country to recognize him – he is the prince. It comes with birth. So too for us, we are a child of the King; princes and princesses. It comes with rebirth – we are born into the kingdom. Sure, our crowns will be given in heaven – can we be content with that or do we join the world and strive for recognition now? We are to live this life worthy of the crown we will receive. Our recognition comes from God, comes from our relationship with Jesus.
Application in our Homeschool family
These thoughts on success are to be considered in my own life, what drives me personally, and as a parent for my children’s lives, what motivates me as I mold their lives? Are my efforts at educating my children being driven by a desire for them to be successful?
- For them to have knowledge?
- For them to be able to attain to a great position of leadership?
- For them to have responsibility and to earn a decent amount of money?
Or is my desire for my children directing them
- To have a heart for God,
- To have His Word in their heart (wisdom)
- To be servants in their world,
- To trust God as their provider in all things and
- To walk in such a way that God will honour them with a crown at the end of the race?
Successful men in the Bible?
David – He had a heart after God’s own heart. He had a heart for worship, a heart for relationship with his God, which included repentance.
Often when we strive for success as the world sees it we don’t have time to worship God – we are too busy getting the math lesson in, too busy with science experiments and too busy with sport commitments.
Solomon – though there were many faults that we seem to remember with Solomon, he did please God when he asked for Wisdom. And God honoured that. Are we striving for wisdom in our family? Or is it knowledge?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. The fear of the Lord – what does that mean to us? One thing that strikes me is that if I am so aware of what God asks of me as a parent – how can I do anything else? If I am so aware of what God has done for me and for our family how can I do anything but what He requires of me? As I set out to first of all ask Him, and then follow Him I believe wisdom will come my way.
Do I take the time, in our busy life, to impart to our children the things that God has done for them, do I impart who our God is? If not, then they will be without a fear of the God, and they will run after knowledge and not wisdom.
Paul is another person who I would consider a great of the Bible. Why? Because he was effective for God.
How? He heard God’s purpose for him, he lay aside all else and he followed the path God had for him. It was the extreme opposite of the way he was going before God took hold of him. He would have had a lot of preconceived ideas to be removed, a lot of habits to be broken, a lot of reputation to change but he laid all that aside for the purpose God had for him.
Can we do that as home-schoolers – lay aside preconceived ideas, lay aside and change habits, risk our reputation in our community and even in our extended families to do the things that God requires of us? To prepare our children and ourselves for the purposes God has for us?
The disciples – We may not actually know a lot about the disciples. We know they followed Jesus for 3 years, we know that they went out into the world and the Church of today – the followers of Jesus today, are because of these men’s obedience to Jesus’ command to go out into all the world and make disciples.
Once again, these men lay aside their predetermined lives, or what they considered to be their lives – their career, their livelihoods and followed a man, a teacher, the Son of God. Am I prepared to use these men’s lives as a model for success for my children? Can we lay aside our predetermined lives and go out and make disciples.
What does this look like – Firstly it looks like taking the opportunity to make a disciple when it comes your way – what is more important a new follower of Christ or a writing lesson? Secondly, it means preparing my children to be able to do that – just as Jesus took 3 years to prepare his disciples I need to take time to prepare mine.
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Our son’s thoughts on Success
At this point in writing these thoughts Joshua (12yo at the time) joined me and I asked him, Who do you think were successful people in the Bible? I typed as he talked to me and I was so blessed by his responses I thought I would conclude my thoughts with his.
This is what he had to say*:
Not Samson because ….. in a way he was successful because he managed to bring down his enemies with him, but he wasn’t successful spiritually throughout his life.
Gideon – he achieved what he wanted to do so he succeeded in that but as far as the world goes that was his only great thing – spiritually he did it but he took a lot of convincing so he wasn’t really ….. no, you can’t be successful spiritually when you doubt. (One of his 7 sons turned out to be a brat. He killed all his brothers except one who escaped.)
I can think of only one character who was totally successful and that was Jesus. Why? Because he always did what God told him to. Physically he achieved dying on the cross and teaching us how to live. Which blends in very much with the spiritual, which was to do what God told him to do.
Being successful is to do what God asked you to do. To achieve your aim. Spiritually that means to achieve what God asks you to do.
Regardless of how many times you fail as you try to be successful – God forgives you.
*These thoughts are Joshua’s exact words – they may appear disjointed in type but I have left them as they are as it shows you his thinking process as he considered Success.
Over to you:
As you think about your definition (and value) of ‘success’ can you see how that is impacting your daily decisions?