Redefining Success

Written by Ed Becker

edbeckerIn 1977, I thought I was successful. I owned 50 percent of a successful business, had a PhD and was married with three children. I believed I had accomplished this all through my own capability and wisdom. I thought I could accomplish anything if I just tried hard enough. My knowledge, strength of will, college degrees and business success were important to me, and I put them ahead of everything else.

My 20-year-old son Alan had different priorities. He tried to tell me what Jesus Christ meant to him, but I was convinced I didn’t need him. I told Alan that I could do everything myself. I was so firm about rejecting the Christian faith that Alan told his pastor, “My dad will never become a Christian!” As a chemical engineer, I had tried to prove or disprove the existence of God as one does chemical reactions in a lab. The tests came up empty, so I ignored God.

Alan later became seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. After his heart stopped beating, I stood outside the emergency room struggling with pain, anguish and helplessness. It was here that I realized I could not do everything myself. There was nothing I could do as my son hovered on the brink of death. I didn’t even know how to pray.

beckerAlan survived the cardiac arrest, but he was in the hospital for a long time suffering from a serious head infection. He told me, “God is in charge. If God’s purpose in my suffering is to bring you to Christ, then everything I’m going through is worth it.” I was astonished!

I read Alan’s Bible to him every day at his bedside. For the first time, I began to learn what the Bible was really about. And I began to learn about Jesus. Alan’s strong belief in Jesus, combined with what I read in the Bible, made me realize that Jesus was real. He had to be who he claimed to be. Although I tried to believe that he was nothing more than a great teacher or prophet, this argument didn’t stand up to the test. He claimed to be the true Son of God. I decided that Jesus must have been telling the truth, and I accepted his claims.

A month later, I asked Christ to take charge of my life, to be my Lord and Savior. I knew God wanted me to have a more meaningful life. Alan was thrilled when I told him about my decision! He had prayed for a long time that his father would know eternal life.

Three weeks after my decision, Alan went into a coma. For three days I hardly left his bedside, until finally he slipped away from life on earth to be with his Lord and Savior. I had looked forward to sharing my new Christian life with my son, but I knew that he would now spend eternity in heaven and that I would see him again someday. Though we were grief stricken, God gave my wife and me a peace and hope that surpassed all human understanding.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ, he is a “new creation.” The old self has gone and the new has come. This certainly was true in my life. God now has first priority, followed by my wife and family, and then my business. My principles for decision-making have also changed completely. I ask God for help in making daily business decisions, and no longer rely solely on my own knowledge. I have found that God’s infinite wisdom is vastly superior to my own. Best of all, there is joy in my life no matter what happens to me. I know that I have eternal life to look forward to.

Is this the life for me?

Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as he is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as he promised.

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that he is in your life, that he will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much he loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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