The Master Key to Real Success

If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.Pat Riley

In this brief article, I want to pose and answer the questions:

What is Real Success?

What is the Master Key to Achieving Real Success?

What The Culture Says

Everywhere we turn, we hear voices telling us that success means what we do to get better off . . . achieving goals, enjoying the fruits of our efforts, acquiring wealth, possessing power and prestige, and being surrounded by bands of admirers. In a constant barrage of secular and religious commercialism, these voices shout their messages of how to achieve their versions of success . . . false success. They tell us what it looks like and assure us that successful people are those who are self-made: the trendsetters, decision makers, and the movers and shakers in government, the marketplace, churches, and other places of influence.

Daily we’re inundated with extravagant claims of how to achieve “success” in phrases like “new and improved,” “greatest and most powerful ever,” “miraculous results,” and “revolutionary product!” You’d think losing twenty-five pounds, earning a higher investment return, or having whiter teeth, cleaner clothes, a higher intelligence, a college degree, a faster, prettier car, a bigger house, or a better-sex pill were the Second Coming!

Incredibly, we hear, over and over, that these things . . . perfumes and colognes, healthy drinks and food, better-smelling breath, and more efficient use of our time . . . will guarantee happiness, prove we’re successful, and show that we have found the good life. In television, radio, and newspaper ads, and all over the internet, the world’s ways and its definitions of success are trumpeted.

Advertisers, wealth merchants, prosperity hawkers, religious dogooders, and even misguided, well-intentioned Christians assure us that “more” is what we need and it’s up to our efforts to get it! More . . . obtained through self-effort . . . is said to be the key ingredient . . . the wonder-formula . . . that fixes everything and brings us success!

Unfortunately, many people genuinely believe that the better life requires us to work harder, be in charge of our lives, and do secular and religious things through self-efforts that earn us rewards like more money, material possessions, and education.

Self-help spinmeisters insist that we achieve the better life by freeing ourselves from dependenceand instead opt for a way of life that trusts and counts on no one except ourselves and our own natural talents and skills. Well, actually what they urge is that we pursue life under their influence!

Truth is their words are cheap, and following them doesn’t lead to Real Success.

Real Success

So, if all I’ve cited is not Real Success, then what is?

Scripture’s answer is Better Inward Being.  It’s not being better off, it’s a higher state of inward being that leads to genuine outward success.

And, how is Better Inward Being defined?  In Romans 8:29, Paul tells us Christ-likeness is God’s definition and standard of success…success that matters and lasts.


To introduce the Source of Better Inward Being, consider this unforgettable story.

A wise woman was traveling in the mountains. To her surprise, in a stream she discovered a shiny, large and materially precious stone. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry. When she opened her bag to share her food, he noticed the stone and had the audacity to ask her if she would give it to him. Guess what?  Without hesitation, she did!

The traveler went away rejoicing in his good fortune, knowing that the material stone’s value would mean lifetime security for him . . . financial security, that is! But, just a few days later, he returned. Holding up the shiny stone and speaking to the wise woman, he said, “I know how valuable this stone is, but I’m giving it back to you, hoping you’ll give me something far more precious.”

In reply to her questioning look, he asked her this profound question, “Will you give me what you have within you that enabled you to so readily give up this materially valuable stone?”

Want to know her Secret?

This is The Secret: Christ lives in you. It is no longer I, but Christ living in me. Christ by His Spirit living in us is our only hope of excellence. As he works within us, we become more and more like Jesus. The Spirit of Christ within us is the source of Better Inward Being…one possessing superhuman energy, giftings, skills and power. —Paul

Scripture is clear that Better Inward Being is not a self-manufactured product.  In passages such as Galatians 5: 22-23, it is abundantly clear the indwelling Holy Spirit is the supernatural causal Agent of this effect: Better Inward Being.

Walking the Walk

Being like Jesus inwardly and externally is expressed not in mere words, but a life that mirrors his. I call it being “Jesus-in-skin.” That means not talking empty talk, but being the person he was inwardly…one fashioned and led by the Holy Spirit…a Better Inward Being empowered and ennobled to walk the walk he walked…and thereby achieve Real Success!

Closing Question

How much like Jesus are you?

Your answer is critical, since inner Christ-likeness leads outwardly to Real Success….a truly difference-making life like his.