These concepts, self-actualization and finding and fulfilling our destiny, are not out of necessity juxtaposed, but for the purpose of illustrating the point of this writing, they are. We all desire 'to be' and many of us desire to be all that we can be. There are two paths to greatness, both potential satisfying, each leading to a different place. There is the actualization of our self - meaning rising to the highest level that we can attain. How high? To many, that is like asking 'How much money is enough?', the answer always being "More..."
Browsing the titles of books in many libraries will show us the need, the desire, indeed the compulsion to actualizing the full potential, to rise to the top, to the very pinnacle of success and maybe even to go beyond that pinnacle - rising higher than any man has risen before. What will come of this type of success? It can bring satisfaction; an intense satisfaction in ones own accomplishments: The glory of self-fulfillment and honor from mankind. This reward calls people, skilled, talented people to higher and higher success...
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, (Isa. 13: 14)
In other words, I will be first before all the other talented and skilled people. And, who will set on my right or my left? If I am inclined to philanthropy, perhaps I will give others a 'leg up'; if I am inclined to narcissism, it will be me, just me sharing the throne with no one.
When success is scoped and defined with actualizing myself, the godless element is shown at the very pinnacle of greatness:
4 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
This desire to be exalted to the 'top' is the desire to be like God, taking His place, becoming number ONE.
This desire is in the heart of man and it is a call in the depth of many souls - the full actualization of self.
Juxtapose this with God's intent. He has a purpose for you, for me. Jesus said that he came, not to do his will but to do the will of him who sent him. And, Jesus fulfilled God's purpose, He fulfilled the role God laid out for him to do. He was a servant; his success was not gratuitous; it is the success of his serving to the utmost, paying the full and final cost. He wove for all time into the fabric of life and knowledge - the path to life is sacrifice. His will; not mine.
We are each created for a purpose; fulfilling that purpose IS life. How we fulfill that purpose is our opportunity to grasp the real or grasp at 'fools gold'; if we fulfill it by fulfilling the destiny that God has planned for us; serving, loving and living in and for him we will find life and our reward will be sweet and eternal. If we fullfill our purposes by 'ascending the ladder of success' under our own steam, demonstrating our own greatness, in the end we will find...
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble (Isa. 14: 15, 16)
So, we each have the power of choice. To chose to to find and fulfill our destiny, the things that God designed us to accomplish OR to dedicate our lives to actualizing ourselves.
Choose wisely my friends.