Success for a secular person is not the same as success for a Christian. In most cases, they are diametrically opposed, because worldly success always revolves around a material gain or achievement while Christian success revolves around a spiritual gain that benefits a person’s soul. Since becoming a Christian, my secular successes have dried up to the point where, in the eyes of the world, I am a failure, but spiritually, it is no longer a certainty that I will be condemned by God for eternity.

When I was of the world, the main device I used to achieve benefits was salesmanship through effort and persistence. I would make “sales calls” on the objects of my desire with obsessive dedication. To achieve fornication, I kept talking to girls until I found one who was willing. To gain fame, I simply kept inserting myself into the zeitgeist with controversial statements that weren’t precisely the truth. To gain money, I kept pumping out pickup books for men who were desirous of carnal passions. To gain fleeting happiness, I kept traveling to new cities or countries whenever I’d feel bored. To those of the world, I was a success because I was receiving measurable benefits, and it helped that my material pursuits formed synergies that encouraged me to continue (e.g., my fame helped me meet women and my pursuit of novelty helped me write books that increased my income). Due to my fallen nature, inherent genetic gifts, and support from the demons, as long as I kept working towards sinful ends, I couldn’t fail.

I’ve since replaced the will to chase worldly things with God’s will. Some may think the same rules apply, that probability and hard work are the main drivers of achieving spiritual “success,” but I haven’t found that to be the case. Spiritual success transcends human biology and statistical probability and may only be made aware to you by God after the fact, not in the process of perceiving a sort of spiritual feat or achievement. In other words, I’m not quite sure if the life events and experiences happening to me right now, good or bad, will end up being spiritually beneficial or not. I may have to wait weeks, months, or even years to measure their effects on my faith, whether it was increased or decreased, and only then can I declare an achievement a “success,” but I still wouldn’t do so because how could I claim it as a success achieved by my own hand when it was given to me by God? As an Orthodox Christian, the word success has begun to lose all meaning, and I only use it to condescend to those who are outcome-oriented.

It’s no surprise that events which have been spiritually successful for me have been abject failures in the material sense. For example, in the past, I never had problems finding a place to live. I’ve rented dozens of rooms and apartments, and only when my reputation as a “pro-rape advocate” hit Google did I hit some comical snags that in the end were manageable. But since becoming a Christian, I can’t seem to settle down. It’s been two-and-a-half years since I received God’s grace and I write this article from the confines of my mother’s apartment, and yet it’s while living with her that the path to being received in the Orthodox Church opened for me. To most of the world I am middle-aged loser, and yet my faith keeps growing, and my salvation is more assured.

As long as I maintain my faith during a stretch of material failure, my faith will be increased, while periods of material success that lead to comfort will have the opposite effect. Therefore I’ve had to reformulate how I approach “failure,” the definition of which was cemented into my brain from secular life, and how to gain the will to proceed with a spiritually profitable task where material failure is inevitable. Satan’s success and God’s success are different, so it would make sense that all the outcomes that happen as you go from worshiping one to the other will also begin to change in shape and meaning.

In my short life as a Christian, I’ve observed that to succeed with God is to fail with the world, or to be rejected by it, and to succeed with the world is to fail with God, but we are not of the world because Lord Jesus Christ chose us out of the world. He may give us blessings to be materially sated, especially if we have mouths to feed, but only up to a point where it’s needed in your fallen weakness to serve Him. If you can endure abject poverty, and in that poverty He knows you will become more saint-like, poverty is what you will get as long as you keep telling him, “Thy will be done, not mine.” If you are instead a hero of your time, the envy of all, and the faithless rush to you to learn how to achieve your sins, you are not receiving your success from God.

According to the world, I’m a has-been who fell from the heights of sexual glory. I live with my mother, my income is a fraction of what it used to be, I don’t have huge muscles, I don’t sexually attract women, and I am unable to tell you a single interesting or novel story of something I’ve done in the past week that doesn’t involve watching birds—and not even handsome birds but common house sparrows—and yet my faith is deepening. God is pouring out his grace upon me. I am meeting more devout Christians and they’re helping me stay on the right path. God knows what I need to be saved, and it’s not the things that I can measure and count as when I was pursuing vice. Material success leads nowhere if it is disconnected from God; serving Him fully in this life and the next is the only success that matters.

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Great article, Roosh. Oftentimes even so-called religious people throw the "you don't bear any fruit, you can't really be following God" line at me, even though I've been blessed with a perfectly decent life, good health, functioning mind, and many good material things. I'm not working as hard as possible to earn more money, and when I do, my lifestyle does not increase but instead I put the money in a low-cost index fund where no one sees it. So to worldly people especially within my own family I look like a failure, "not living up to my potential."

What these people don't understand is how much the works of the flesh have decreased, and how much the fruits of the Spirit have increased within me, ever since I stopped resisting and allowed God to begin working to fix my reprobation. I simply have other, more important things to focus on now, and many people will never understand.

This is from Galatians 5:

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

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Roosh, I think this might be my favorite article of yours yet. Thank you.

I go to 12-Step meetings. Some of the people I’ve encountered at 12-Step meetings have awed me with their spiritual wealth. Most of the people at 12-Step meetings have hit some kind of very serious bottom in their lives that has forced them, in their despair, to seek rescue. In their seeking, some of them have found God. Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-Step program and the model for all the others, was founded as a Christian program. God is at the center of 12-Step programs.

It’s interesting because the world would call many of the people who end up in 12-Step programs “losers” and “failures.” Yet some of them are spiritual billionaires and living saints. They have become, by God’s grace in allowing them to experience worldly suffering and shame, Yoda-like emissaries of God’s redemptive love.

I try to never forget that Christ Himself was looked upon as a loser and a failure - so hated by the world that he was condemned to death. Isaiah 53 reminds us that Christ was, “spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, like one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.”

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For me "success" is having a nice, joyful Christian family.

Im struggling with the notion that a true Christian should be able to choose God over one's family.

Those of you who are Christian and married with kids, could you truly choose God over your wife and children?

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What happened with Roosh: he was living a wicked life, so all of what he did was built on a foundation of sin. So he had to tear it all down and start over. (Being a single guy is the easiest time to do that....)

I, on the other hand, had Christ "baked in" at a young age, much of what I did since then was on a spiritual foundation. Just read Proverbs and you see the blessings of wisely following God's ways, that can look like worldly success, but it's from God. There's no need to tear down what I have and start over, only to continue to share the blessings.

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Where I grew up, we had plenty of "interesting" birds: titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, mountain bluebirds, gold finches, etc. The first time I saw a sparrow at my grandma's house, I asked my mom, "What is that?" I thought its red head pretty. But my mom was dismissive, "That's just a sparrow!"

We get a lot of sparrows, finches, and starlings since I put up a feeder. The cardinal and his wife come around once a day, as well as some turtle doves.

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interesting" birds: titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, mountain bluebirds, gold finches, etc.

A few weeks ago we had a great run of a month seeing these birds on our feeders; the finches are still here given the seeds and sunflowers blooming. However, the other interesting birds you mentioned have not returned since running out of the bird mix specific to those birds (nuts, berries, special seeds).

We have a lot of sparrows now and the bulk seeds go fast in the feeders. Hummingbirds are feed nicely in the yard too.

We get a lot of sparrows, finches, and starlings since I put up a feeder. The cardinal and his wife come around once a day, as well as some turtle doves.

It is always nice to see the family of cardinals here too- once saved a baby cardinal from light traffic because it was following the audio of the cross walk light sounding like a chirping bird. Drove it home, placed the fledgling in the backyard, and discovered male cardinals will feed fledglings has their own. There are a lot more cardinals in the neighbor these last few years.

Matthew 6:26-34

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It is always nice to see the family of cardinals here too- once saved a baby cardinal from light traffic because it was following the audio of the cross walk light sounding like a chirping bird. Drove it home, placed the fledgling in the backyard, and discovered male cardinals will feed fledglings has their own. There are a lot more cardinals in the neighbor these last few years.

Matthew 6:26-34

I've noticed more cardinals too. I put the feeder up specifically to lure them over, though.

Baby ones must be cute

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anyone else want to know about the sparrows now ?

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Roosh - you're not a failure, period. Not even by "secular" standards. I regard you as one of the founders of a profound social movement that has become a part of the Zeitgeist. Even during your pre-Christian days you dropped a lot of truth. You have influence hundreds of thousands of us and your work pre-Christian and post has been instructive, influential, and, above all, comforting.

At the moment your message both pre and post-Christian is not being received well in the world. But nearly all visionaries have always faced this. Jesus experienced the same thing. You're in good company several other people are in the same situation as you. Never forget you're on the side of good and truth. Today, that's not too difficult to distinguish, since you not only do not advocate but vehemently oppose things like castrating young children. In that sense, perhaps, its not all that hard to be "good" I suppose if all it takes is being against child mutilation, but, then there's another quality that you have demonstrated that most have not - courage.

You have most certainly put yourself out there. For that, I'm eternally grateful to you. You're a voice that so many of us desperately need.

You've been through a lot but you are not a loser or a failure. You'll be vindicated by conventional culture someday.

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Christian success does differ from secular, but, I've always found the Christain ethos to offer a certain way of living that can help you become successful in life. Life is more than just material things. But even in the rat race, there will always be challenges, setbacks, disasters, humiliation, failure etc. Faith gets you through these times. However, hardships and Church are like a cliche. Its the times in between that matter too. Maybe when things are going well or exceptionally well. Human interaction is complex. Situations create an infinite set of decisions and choices. Christianity guides one through these moments with clarity. As a working professional, I regard my Christain faith as inseparable to whatever success I may have achieved.

The application of Christianity is practical. Work, health, love, family, friends etc. Its still mostly a mystery to me but Christianity is kind of like a balance, however, not in the Buddhist sort of way. Rather, its in a God way. Almost always its a measure of this versus of measure of that. The hardest thing for mankind to achieve is the optimal mixture. Yes, eat to sustain yourself but not too much or you'll get fat. Ditto with things like sex. And the effects aren't immediately realized. A person will be far more satisfied in the moment if they over eat or indulge in perverse acts. But, later they'll feel ill or guilty. The one that has proportioned such things achieves a lasting satisfaction. And that is better than anything even though its not flashy or vainglorious.

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For me "success" is having a nice, joyful Christian family.

Im struggling with the notion that a true Christian should be able to choose God over one's family.

Those of you who are Christian and married with kids, could you truly choose God over your wife and children?

Luke 2 . 48-49 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

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Thank you Roosh, for giving your time and effort to write this beautiful article for us

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The secular self help adage life doesn't give you what you want but what you need can be applied to God does not give you what you want but what you need. I've stopped claiming and judging things that happen in my life as good or bad. The things that I perceived as disasters in ths moment such as physical ailments, depression, darkness, financial disaster or failing of the material path turned out to be exactly the segues into new levels which I didn't know previously. Take it in, think logically, solve the problem and let the waves of God take you with it and don't fight against it. Diamonds are created by pressure so if you're going through perceived tough times keep that in mind.

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serving Him fully in this life and the next is the only success that matters.

You have made the Lord your habitation (the condition); God’s Word (the promise) is [He shall give His angels charge over, to keep you in all your ways] :

God is pouring out his grace upon me. I am meeting more devout Christians and they’re helping me stay on the right path. God knows what I need to be saved

What happened with Roosh: he was living a wicked life, so all of what he did was built on a foundation of sin. So he had to tear it all down and start over.

I, on the other hand, had Christ "baked in" at a young age, much of what I did since then was on a spiritual foundation.

Your statements are a nice reminder for all sinners:

tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.  Luke 15:3 - 7

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Have you read the writings of Saint Theresa of Lisette (aka "Little Theresa"). She spoke of approaching faith with the blind trust of a child, that God will provide. She's a Catholic saint, not Orthodox, but much of her writing speaks from a place where you are right now. God bless!

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I think righteousness and prosperity can coexist. I think you have everything you need to become more prosperous, once you get past your hangups about money. Money can and should be applied to Godly purposes.

Proverbs says: "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." That suggests to me that God wants us to be financially prudent and prosperous. We're just stewards of God's money, given by his grace.

Personally, I've worked very hard to elevate myself from next to nothing to financially strong and stable. One of my biggest drivers is the goal to be outrageously generous, to contribute my life energy to noble, Godly causes. I'm able to do this more and more, and it feels so healthy and good.

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For me "success" is having a nice, joyful Christian family.

Im struggling with the notion that a true Christian should be able to choose God over one's family.

Those of you who are Christian and married with kids, could you truly choose God over your wife and children?

God must always come first. Especially if this world manages to turn them against Christ. Just like Adam should have prioritized God over Eve his Wife and maybe could have even plead God for mercy on her behalf. As our LORD himself said:

16Behold, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17But beware of men; for they will hand you over to their councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On My account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. 20For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. 22You will be hated by everyone because of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

34Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn

‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

36A man’s enemies will be the members

of his own household.’

37Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; 38and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

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I think righteousness and prosperity can coexist. I think you have everything you need to become more prosperous, once you get past your hangups about money. Money can and should be applied to Godly purposes.

Proverbs says: "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." That suggests to me that God wants us to be financially prudent and prosperous. We're just stewards of God's money, given by his grace.

Personally, I've worked very hard to elevate myself from next to nothing to financially strong and stable. One of my biggest drivers is the goal to be outrageously generous, to contribute my life energy to noble, Godly causes. I'm able to do this more and more, and it feels so healthy and good.

True: righteousness and prosperity can coexist. There are a few examples in the Bible of wealthy and faithful people: Abraham, Job, Cornelius, and Lydia are some of the names.

However, the Bible and Christian teaching strongly warn of the dangers of desiring wealth and pursuing it. For example, 1 Tim 6 tells us, "If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains."

There's the story of fabulously wealthy and enormously blessed Solomon who, after completing the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, fell and never repented. In one of the few Biblical stories about hell in Luke 16, we hear and are not surprised, that it is the rich man who is in torment in hell while Lazarus, the poor beggar on Earth, is in paradise. Of course, Jesus also tells us that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Then, there is the story of the rich young ruler and the message of the widow's mite.

John the Baptist trod the desert in clothing made of camel's hair eating locusts. Jesus described him as the greatest among men born to women. Then there was Jesus Himself: He was born in a manger and lived a hardscrabble life.

When the rich widow, Proba, wrote to Augustine seeking instruction in prayer, Augustine first answered her for several pages with warnings against the dangers of wealth: “…but many holy men and women have been on guard in every way against riches, as the very source of pleasures, and have cast them aside by distributing them to the poor, thus, in another and better way, storing them up as treasure in heaven.”

In the Sacrum Commercium, St Francis described "Lady Poverty," symbolizing the poor Christ, as the "way to the King of glory."

Yes, a good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren. But is Proverbs trying to tell us that a materially impoverished man, say a figure like John the Baptist, St Joseph, or St Francis, is not "good" because in his poverty he is unable to store up enough material wealth to leave a worldly inheritance behind for his grandchildren? I'm not sure Proverbs is saying that because it would contradict much of the rest of the Bible and Christian thought for the last 2,000 years.

What is the most important form of inheritance we can leave to our children and our children’s children? We know that the spiritual, the laying hold of the Kingdom of Heaven by the glorification of God in our lives, is the greatest good. It is the pearl of great price that the merchant sold everything he had in order to purchase. The Bible tells us not to store up for ourselves Earthly treasure, but instead to store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. This kind of wealth can become a generational blessing that is a far more valuable inheritance to leave behind for our children and our children's children.

In fact, later in Proverbs it explains, "The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him." In the Psalms we hear, "Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed" And Paul explained to the terrified jailer in Acts, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Perhaps this is the kind of faith-rooted, salvific, immaterial inheritance that a "good" man can pass down to his grandchildren that the passage you quoted from Proverbs is really getting at?

All of this makes seeking and building Earthly wealth a dangerous proposition. It's clearly not impossible to attain salvation as a wealthy man or woman. But it's a treacherous path with stark admonitions against attempting to travel it. Tread carefully.

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