What is True Success?

Early on this year, the professional cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his career in the interview that was conducted by Oprah Winfrey. We all witnessed the tragic fall of the cycling hero of our time, as he was banned from cycling for life and stripped away of all the competitive awards that he won since 1998. He has lost more than his medals; he has lost his reputation and prestige as an athlete. Now the name “Lance Armstrong” is associated with dishonesty and cheating.

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But this is not a rare sight. From time to time, there would be stories of some politician, some businessman, or some sportsman falling from his/her grace by being involved in a scandal. Whether that is by being caught having an affair with a mistress or constructing a grand scheme designed to con people, it is only after such exposure that their hard-built public images plummet tragically. These men have all the things which constitute—in the eyes of the mass—a successful person. They are the beacons of our society, admired and respected by their peers and the people alike.

We are always surprised and flabbergasted when a person like Lance Armstrong is convicted of some shameful act; we always have that moment of doubt whether the scandal is true, before we come into terms with who they really are and ask ourselves the question, “why?” Why would they do such a thing?

Reverend Goshen Choi* once wrote an essay that can be roughly translated as “On things that are more important than success.” He, too, remarked at the falls of great public figures and rich business tycoons, using their tragedy to tell us of the great truth about success.

One of many things that he wrote on the qualities of a “true achiever” is the importance of being over doing.

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” –Matthew 7:17

Just like the Bible verse above, Pastor Choi wrote that being a good person will yield great fruits instead of the other way around. Too many people strive to achieve things and make those accomplishments a testament to what great people they are. The reverend further wrote that it is more important to first be honest, truthful, and humble; to have true faith and live by the Words of God before setting out to achieve fame and wealth. That is the way to achieve success that is truly grounded and can survive the test of time. All the achievers mentioned above have failed to do so, fixating on the awards so much that they would go out of their ways to claim the trophy.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” 

Aristotle

Likewise, success is a habit. That is why TAC strives to habitually live in accordance with the eight characters that make up the word “ACHIEVER.” These Acronyms are:

A: Attitude

C: Creativity

H: Humility

I: Intellect

E: Endurance

V: Vitality

E: Evangelism

R: Reformation & Recovery

Thus, TAC promotes a unique concept of success, where the word “success” is not defined in secular terms. Sure, it’s great to achieve fame and wealth, but that is not our priority. We strive to succeed for the glory of God and further spread his name; we wish to create a global network of like-minded achievers who will also share our vision of evangelism. Through our success we hope to ultimately reform the Christian image that has been tainted throughout the years, and glorify the Name of God. As we are but a mere human being, we can’t help but be imperfect. That is why we strive and work harder every day to live by these eight characteristics that we define to be “true achievers.” God bless us all!

– A.K.

* Reverend Goshen Choi is the founder and the president of Nyskc World Mission Center. Nyskc World Mission Center was founded in 1993 with the purpose of establishing a global organization devoted to the restoration of worship and churches. Their motto is “When the Worship is restored, the church is risen, the nation renewed and the family revived!”

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Who is the True Me?

(Episode 5: “The True Me”)

(Click through for picture source)

The question we pose in reference to an unknown theologian is this: “Who is the true me? Am I who others say I am, or am I who I think I am?

What seems to be a simple question is in fact quite complicated. We can rephrase the question as such: Is it the true me, the me judged by my actions or is it rather the thoughts I have and carry that define me?

Again, the question seems to be just as complex, partly because something within us wants to say well, “both”. It may also seem complex because of the problem with unity. What we mean by “unity” (in reference to Iskra Fileva) is the idea that we are what we seem, just as we unify others as what they seem to be as what they might always be. An honest person “should be” honest at home, or a shy person “would always be” shy wherever he goes.

How often do we think that way, and how often are we wrong?
Well, quite a lot.

The problem is thus- that we cannot clearly define our character or even the existence of our character because of the problem of time frame and unity. We have our past, our present, and future. Which section defines us, and if all three do, then how can we speak for the present which is in the making and the future that has not yet arrived? Further yet, with the issue of “unity”- if people are not what they seem, then in what angle are we to see them at all?

We point that arrow not to others but back at ourselves. When we find ourselves reflecting a part of us we do not recognize, or even if we do, a part we’d like to keep hidden- it bugs us and we wish to be liberated from it. A question of identity, “who am I?” is constantly asked throughout our lives. There are also times when the person we know we “can be” is not what others “believe we can”, and it’s despairing when they do the task of bringing you down from your true potentials.

How do we deal with these situations? When others have done a good job in bringing us down we soon begin to believe that they are right. We fight with beliefs and notions sometimes to prove ourselves, but what can bring peace to the whole matter?

The answer to the primary question is this (answered by the unknown theologian): We are truly ourselves when we are who we were supposed to be, and who we were supposed to be was the person God intended.

Simply speaking, we are who God says we are and we are our true selves before Him. The question goes on. Who does God intend “me” to be? Who am I supposed to be? And what do I look like to God?

For the short time we had, we cannot possibly answer all those questions- let alone give you any answers at all! However, let’s just concentrate on this: The Good God.

God is truly the only Being who can provide forgiveness for your past (all of it!), understand and help your shortcomings in the present, and give you hope for your future that may be daunting.

When you are in conflict with your identity or between the prejudices and the belief that you are more than the limitations around you, the only way to elevate yourself is to see the situation in God’s-eye view! How does God see me, and what does He want to see? Am I that person before Him?

Now you may ask, that is not my “true self” if I must ask if I am not enough in a way that sounds like I have to “change” myself for this Person!

However, going back to Iskra Fileva’s article in the NYTIMES, character (should not be) a state of affairs, rather a promise one makes with an intention to fulfill it with whatever it takes to live up to it.

Because our natural being is always in fluctuation, and in fact unity in character is merely an illusion- the compromise we can make in understanding character at all is this: there is no “honest” person born honest and will die completely honest. It is in fact an “ACHIEVEMENT” if s/he can but if not, it matters only that s/he wills to be an honest person until s/he dies and lives up to it.

The futuristic sense of our identity is hopeful. We can be who we will to be! Who we were and who we may be now can speak less of ourselves or rather, become a fuel to charge us into the direction we want to go- well, for us, the direction God wants us to go! The judgments of others the limitations I have, these can be broken by my will to let it break and to strive beyond it.

Our message for you until our next week is this. “LIVE UP TO IT!” and don’t let things chain you down from where God wants you to go. Well, where would the Good God want to lead you? To Him, and to a place always much better than now. Maybe you are there now, but because we should always live “Heaven as on Earth”, we can begin to help our communities and those around us.

LIVE it up for GOD!

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Article(s) mentioned:
“Character and Its Discontents” http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/character-and-its-discontents/?scp=5&sq=character&st=Search

“Heaven Can’t Wait”
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2111227,00.html

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