Success is defined as the favorable or prosperous termination of any thing attempted; a termination which answers the purpose intended; properly in a good sense, but often in a bad sense.—Noah Webster

The modern world defines success as the fortune (good or bad) befalling anyone in a particular situation or affair; the prosperous achievement of something attempted; the attainment of an object according to one’s desire: now often with particular reference to the attainment of wealth or position. This definition is glaringly materialistic. According to its Latin root, the verb succedere simply means to come close after, as in to succeed, hence, its connotation to achieve or to result in any outcome, good or not good.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.”—Matthew 6:33

Financial success, with its attendant wealth, prestige and power, has long been associated with The American Dream. However, the original American dream of the Pilgrim Puritans of the 1600s was fired by their desire for religious freedom to worship according to the dictates of their conscience and beliefs. This evolved to include the quest for financial and personal autonomy by the time Jefferson wrote, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—The Declaration of Independence.

We recognize the need for financial well-being and personal autonomy, including free speech and the freedom to worship as we choose. Yet, on the Via Christa, we find the goals of freedom and success in the mundane sense to be inadequate. We desire soul freedom and hold it paramount, above the world’s taint. Success, on the Via Christa, is measured in how completely one becomes like unto Jesus the Christ in soul stature, as a Christed one.

Edna Lister on Success

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.—Romans 8:16-18. According to this proclamation, we are joint-heirs with Christ to the kingdom of God. We may share in his life, wisdom, love, companionship, health, wealth, success and power.—Edna Lister, Your Royal Birth, November 30, 1931, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The simple secret of success is always to be the servant of all God’s Power!—Edna Lister, Undated 1934.

Anyone enthralled with an idea becomes a success at it. Anyone enthralled with the idea of selfless service is successful, because Power doubles their ability. Anyone enamored with this divine love, which is Power, shall become a world leader.—Edna Lister, Divine Love, August 26, 1934.

Your thoughts may be beautiful, but if your acts or words are ungainly, others will perceive you as always wrong. If your thoughts and approach are powerful, success should follow.—Edna Lister, The Life Powerful, September 21, 1934.

Each of us is a genius. You are all experts in something, often in your profession or favorite hobby. Some are experts in avoiding work, or experts in finding excuses. Many are specialists in poverty and disease. If you want to know a person’s genius, listen to his line of talk. You are radiant with genius, yet your use of silence is the turning point, the parting of the way to success or failure.

You cannot be an expert job holder and an expert job hunter at the same time. Let go of the job you do not yet have, and apply yourself in your present place. Let your Light so shine.—Edna Lister, Intuition, November 22, 1934.

Put your failures in your asset column as successful experiences in how not to do it.—Edna Lister, Power as Life, February 16, 1936.

Gratitude, joy and faith determine your success, which equals your steadfastness of purpose.—Edna Lister, Joy, March 19, 1937.

You can turn defeat into success, and profit from your defeats. A defeat cannot make you a failure. Only your ideas about defeat can do that. A defeat is nothing more than an experience that if you choose, can gain you spirit and courage. Defeat and delays are good. They broaden your perceptions, understanding and lead to illumination.—Edna Lister, Illumination Through Perception, June 26, 1938.

Success does not come because you want it or desire it. Success must be planned for, served for, sacrificed for. It pushes forth from within you according to your loyalty and steadfastness under the Light, and no man may add it to you from the outside. You must build each step by your own service to the Father.—Edna Lister, August 25 1938.

You need only two ingredients to make the greatest success the world has ever seen: unconquerable faith and unquenchable love. They will conquer anything the world of darkness can produce. They will part the Red Sea. They will overcome the little self. They will uncover self’s hidden treasures of darkness. They will turn any darkness of failure into the full Light of success. They will close the mouths of lions. They will render impotent any illness. All you need to do is exercise them instead of the limitations.—Edna Lister, January 22, 1941.

The joy of the Lord pours down and radiates through me as health, strength and success in all my affairs. Success is now mine.! Success is now mine! Success is now mine!—Edna Lister, November 19, 1941.

Success comes from service and the sacrifice of self. Being yoked in love can give you the courage to push on and stand by until you reach success. Yet some people stand by for the wrong reason or in misunderstanding. They are yoked unequally. To find yourself yoked unequally requires that you make a choice. The law is Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.—2 Corinthians 6:14. The law also says that you cannot go to heaven while walking over the broken backs or hearts of others. Emancipation comes only through mastery of the situation in which you find yourself.—Edna Lister, The Yoke of Love, December 7, 1941.

You must work for your day of success.—Edna Lister, Threefold Consciousness, March 15, 1942.

Sacrifice means different things to different people, but we view it as service and sacrifice to gain success. We are all familiar with the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), which ends with For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.—Matthew 25:29.

Success comes to the soul who desires to succeed, is willing to serve God in any and all capacities, and to sacrifice self to do so. The soul who is too lazy to exert himself will atrophy (lose) his developed talents through lack of use. To the soul who has the desire to achieve, more shall be added.

You can do anything if you have the flaming desire to succeed, backed by the courage of your highest convictions. Let no one push you off your high point in consciousness. God can take you anywhere your soul vision conjures.—Edna Lister, Your Inheritance, May 31, 1942.

Praise is the stuff of which your success is made.—Edna Lister, October 21, 1942.

The long-range view of life is the success view of life. When you cramp your view down to fit today’s despair, you lose the incentive and the power to move forward into your success. So, make your 1945 vision a long-range vision, part of a 10- or 20-year plan.—Edna Lister, January 8, 1945.

A wise person always has a plan, daily, monthly, and yearly. If you aim at the sun, you at least get to the roof of your house. Do not be rigid in your plan. Climb over or tunnel through the obstacles, but never stop or give up your plan. The successful fellow holds to his plan, and is also able to joyfully sacrifice time and effort to do the next thing next. You are a success now.

If you do not like today’s degree of success, change your plan. Unless you declare your success, you are saying that you do not like that law of life or care to obey it. God credits you with every thought, every second of planning and praying about your plan. A grudging attitude about doing the next thing next dilutes all the credit in your account.—Edna Lister, Trailing Robes of Glory, March 25, 1945.

Those who are successful in business apply the lash to self and driving power to use the hours others spend in sleep and play, to work for outer success. A genius, who is always a soul devoted to Spirit, has the inner strength to apply the lash a million-fold harder to gain outer success, and is conscious of under-the-surface limitations that hinder him from perfect freedom and so digs them out. The one who fails, generally uses his time for vain indifference, laziness and lukewarmness of desire to become a success.—Edna Lister, October 14, 1945.

God has made you as a creator with Him, and has given you the substance to use in creation. Yet, you can create nothing lasting while you wobble and waver in doubt and fear. Instead, you must nourish and sustain every creation by love to become an even greater creator. Hour by hour, you achieve success through using your desire, thinking and imagination.—Edna Lister, Successful Healing, March 22, 1946.

A successful idealist or businessman, who has an altruistic vision and what it will do for the world and others, is automatically reaching the high place in consciousness.—Edna Lister, June 28, 1946.

A nation is built of a group of individuals. Whatever qualities are essential for individual success, those same ingredients and abilities are necessary for a nation to succeed, too. Three qualities are keys for success: First, you must know that God is all life. Second, you must know that God is divine love. Third, you must practice the principles of right living.—Edna Lister, Stepping Stones to Success, May 25, 1947.

Failure balances success when you come by balance through travail. The best thing to know is how not to do it. When you learn it the hard way, you are more apt to hold onto your success.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

Do your duties and be success.—Edna Lister, June 22, 1947.

Every small thing is a test. How do you pass? Success will be yours when you make molehills out of earth mountains. You can do this by blessing everything below and praising everything above.

Everyone is free to speak or act as he chooses. Some try to push their will on you or fight your desire to do it your way. You satisfy the adversary by agreeing but inside you know that the door will open at the right time for the next step. Agree that the adversary has the right to say what he thinks, loose him and let him go. Declare, This person (Name) will be divinely happy to see me step through the door to success. You need not agree that what the adversary says is right for you. That may be the law for him and that’s where you agree.—Edna Lister, July 31, 1949.

No failure is possible in God. Make your great plan and put it on a cloud of Light. Success comes when you have loved enough and your plan’s power and glory haunts you day and night.—Edna Lister, Promises Made, September 17, 1950.

How can you learn the geometry of the universe if you do not memorize its mathematical rules? You cannot get proper answers unless you learn rules. Call things by their proper names or you cannot know success.—Edna Lister, Attitudes of Being, July 31, 1951.

Restrain yourself from talking about your goal to save yourself the annoyance of others’ faultfinding and the effort of lifting their opinions about what you plan. The secret of all success is to keep on working. Say, God, move in and possess me and push up through your formerly puny faith. Stop whining, Poor little me. Don’t be one of the thousands of men and women in the business world who have quit at the brink of success because some detractor spoke a harsh word that demoralized them.—Edna Lister, Prove Me Now, October 28, 1951.

If you still blame your parents for your failure after age sixteen, you are lying to yourself, for only mental and emotional laziness delays success. It is never too late to be successful, just too soon.—Edna Lister, The Great Challenge, November 23, 1952.

Success consists of continuity in expression.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1952.

Ask greatly of self. Seek first the kingdom of heaven to achieve success. The difference between a weak man and a creator lies in his ability to translate his experiences into success. Ask all sacrifices of the self, not of others.—Edna Lister, Gifts and Giving, May 24, 1953.

Those who fear failure will escape into apathy, which leads to ice coldness that freezes their talents. Lukewarmness is the room temperature where an escapist hides. Such people do not use their discrimination, discretion or discernment faculties, and are of little use to themselves or their families. You must use your talents at the boiling point to succeed.—Edna Lister, Behold, I Stand at the Door, November 29, 1953.

Years do not matter. It is never too late, just too soon. Grandma Moses began painting when she was eighty and became a famous success. Success has five keys, which we call approach, choice, plan, responsibility and fulfillment.—Edna Lister, Your Life Plan, May 16, 1954.

People ask, Why don’t I always succeed? A wise one says, Pray. They respond with, I have prayed or I’ve done all that, which reveals the opinion and prejudice that ice their zeal to lukewarmness. You cannot cook dinner just by putting it in a cold oven. You must turn up the heat, the rate of vibration. This principle operates in everything, according to degree and kind.

What have you hung in your mental art gallery, portraits of success or landscapes of failure? Imagination always builds pictures, but keep only those that are worthwhile and build a bonfire to consume the rest. Oil imagination’s hinges and turn it upward. Never descend to the basement to worship resentment-revenge idols. Do not wallow in that cellar, but clean it up and move to your tower room.

Decree, I arise and ascend past the Promised Land to enter Eden, my garden of love. I shall yearn and brood over my creations as a mother, covering them with glory, Light and the love of God.

How high do you make your decrees? Are you creating ceiling-bumpers or on huge clouds, sailing high enough to reach heaven? A man once built a canoe in his attic, then had to tear out the wall to move it. Why create in a small room rather than in the great outdoors? Why build creations in bondage?

Ascend to your Garden of Eden where God’s Power can and will use you. Love your worst favorites until they become your glory, and a Voice shall say, Child, this is your natural habitation until the Spirit and might of the Power, Love and glory of God possesses you. This is law, and law is the faith of God.—Edna Lister, I Arise, June 20, 1954.

The application of what you know to what you do brings multiplication and success.—Edna Lister, Divine Mathematics, August 28, 1955.

Your degree of enthusiasm for life and work determines your degree of success.—Edna Lister, Your Broadcasting Station, October 2, 1955.

Every life, to be successful, must have a goal, and a plan for attaining that goal. Vivid imagination is the greatest part of any plan, because what you see is what you get in life. You have heard people say, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.—Job 3:25. Your fears do come upon you.

Clearly focus what you visualize now, with no double exposures. Create a clean negative, and make your active imagination pay a dividend. Picture your accounts, wallet or purse full of money for a new home, new everything. A key to success is to use everything you already have, and prepare for more beauty everywhere. Stop the inner conflict between selfish little me and Oversoul’s Christed I AM consciousness.—Edna Lister, I Am the Light of the World, January 1, 1956.

You cannot create a chart of How to Do It unless you first know how not to do it. You must know and understand what has caused your past failures before you can outline success and how to do it.—Edna Lister, Let Me Keep Lent, February 12, 1956.

You must know what goal you want to reach before you can succeed. What you want, you desire to do. So, you must want it enough. You must be willing to suffer, to sacrifice, to face death of the little self every hour.—Edna Lister, The Three Loves, April 15, 1956.

A defeat is not a failure. You can change even a dozen defeats into experience. Spirit is the Comforter, to console and encourage you. The Spirit of life bestows the courage to endure until you reap profits from defeat, until you change defeat into success.—Edna Lister, The Comforter, August 19, 1956.

Self-based confidence is a sign of the creature consciousness. Soul-based confidence is the sign of a creator. Self-based confidence inducts from the outer, but soul-based confidence conducts from above. A creator comprehends. Soul confidence is faith in action, which turns defeat into success. Every experience pays you dividends in knowing what to do or not to do next.—Edna Lister, What Money Cannot Buy, December 1, 1957.

The consistent and constant application of what you know to what you do brings success. This is the secret of all success in every walk of life and in every form of action.—Edna Lister, January 20, 1958.

Eliminate the I can’t do that attitude. You can. Idle words are your biggest obstacle to success. Yet even if you remove your whining I can’t, your discouraged I’ll try will still stand in the way. Stop trying and do! You repeat the same old thing until you finally bite your tongue, which is progress.—Edna Lister, As God Sees Me, June 8, 1958.

To succeed, you may not waver or let self interfere.—Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958.

The quality of your imagination, idealization and visualization determine your attitude toward life. Success or failure, wealthy, poverty-stricken or just getting by, it is your choice. Choose wisely.—Edna Lister, Visualization, May 17, 1959.

The first chapter of the Book of Genesis teaches us the secret of success, to declare everything good. God named His Creation good seven times in the first chapter of Genesis. After declaring a thing good, you then invoke law, which turns your creations into good. God’s purpose is good.—Edna Lister, Hear, Hearken, Heed and Obey, November 8, 1959.

The difference between success and failure depends on your confidence. Failure comes when self feeds the soul the sedatives of doubt and fear. Fear of failure puts soul to sleep. Self says, If I’d only had his advantages. If I had only been given a chance. When self lowers soul to half-mast, it wanders, wanting to die and leave it all behind, all the disappointments and the joy. Success demands great things of soul in confidence, but not in self-confidence. First, you must have confidence in the power of God’s love, which is bracing and building.—Edna Lister, Realization Through Praise, June 26, 1960.

When your heart’s desire is flaming to let the full Power of God use you for success, God gives you success. Your desire calls it forth.—Edna Lister, Here and Hereafter, October 9, 1960.

When you decide to push through your doubts and hesitation, unafraid, you do. This is the difference between failure and success.—Edna Lister, Know That God Takes Charge, June 11, 1961.

The key to success is to forget the world, and be one with God.—Edna Lister, Jesus’ Many Appearances, December 17, 1967.

I am formed in God’s image. God’s Power is using me and I will succeed at what is before me. Success comes from your Godlike self, the Oversoul, so you are already successful, kind, loving and prosperous.—Edna Lister, March 20, 1968.

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of success: "result, outcome," from Latin successus "an advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome."

Success is a law of doing.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topics

Money and Material Possessions.

The Secrets of Success: Edna Lister lecture transcript; January 31, 1933.

Keeping the Law: Edna Lister outline; August 19, 1934.

The Life Victorious: Edna Lister outline; September 28, 1934.

Life Triumphant and Victorious: Edna Lister outline; May 17, 1936.

Daring to Do: Edna Lister outline; February 7, 1937.

You and the Glory: Edna Lister outline; May 2, 1937.

The Open Door to Success: Edna Lister outline; October 24, 1937.

Living Prosperity: Edna Lister outline; April 2, 1947.

Open Doors to Success: Edna Lister outline; September 18, 1955.
Defeat or Success?: Edna Lister outline; September 25, 1955.

The Open Door: Edna Lister transcript, November 20, 1955.

Rose-Colored Glasses: Edna Lister outline; April 22, 1956.