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How Can We Live A Life of Integrity In A World Driven by Success?

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right. When you have done so, the rest lies with God.” – C.S. Lewis

The business world is often one of ethical compromise, climbing the ladder of success, and getting more of what we never really needed. I’m grateful for my job and for all that I’m learning, but sadly, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is one taught by my co-workers. A compromise for a dollar seems to be the going rate for the human heart these days. If it comes down to doing what is right and doing what makes us financially and socially successful, it’s becoming far too common to see the right thing tossed to the side.

It’s not just this way in the business world. Sadly, I see it in relationships, the arts, and even churches. We want more and we want accolades, so we compromise and we lose our souls for the worthless dust of this temporary life.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Mark 8:36

What good is it? Why are we so hungry for worldly success, yet we have a distaste for that which lasts into eternity?

I have been asked to compromise for success, whether in careers or in relationships. I can honestly say that I have resisted the compromise I have faced in my jobs. However, I have forfeited what was right to be accepted and popular within relationships throughout my life. We all have skeletons in the closet and that is one I have to own…I’ve torn others apart to build myself up. I’ve lied to others about my life in order to receive praise or admiration. My heart has always wrestled with wanting to be praised and wanting to do what is right…

I’m constantly reminded each day that my life is passing by WAY TOO FAST. I’m turning 34 this summer and I still can’t wrap my mind around that…How did that even happen? I graduated college in 2005! What the heck! Those friends I once wanted to impress are gone. The praise I desired in college is long-gone. Those athletic achievements in high school are an afterthought. Those girls I tried to impress with my expensive cologne and fashionable clothing are but a vapor in my memory.

Nothing lasts forever beyond the human spirit and the God who created all things.

When I take time into perspective, I can then remember the brevity of life and the worthlessness of human achievement. Once I come to terms with how ridiculous my pursuit of “success” is in the grand scheme of things, I can then live a life focused on integrity, not success.

God invites us to live for what is right, true, and just. We are called to live for something bigger than just ourselves and our temporary success.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden