More Important Than Success
Success in God’s Eyes is Often Different Than Success in Our Worlds’ Eyes
We all want to be successful. Nothing wrong with that. But what is really success from God’s perspective?
The Bible is Full of “Success” Words
The very first words God spoke over human beings were success and blessing words. (Genesis 1:26–28)
Created in God’s own image.
Be fruitful and multiply.
Fill the earth and govern it.
Being created in God’s image, being fruitful, creative, productive, multiplying, filling the earth, and governing it all sound like “success” words to me.
Over and over again God told Israel that if you will follow My instructions you will “be the head and not the tail”, “loan to others and never need to borrow”, “take the land and drive out enemies”, “vats will be overflowing and your barns full”
In the New Testament Jesus said that if we abide in Him and He abides in us, that we would bear lots of fruit.
Paul wrote that He ran to win the race, not just compete. And at the end of his life he said, “I have finished my race, I have fought the fight, and now there is a crown coming.”
How Does God Define Success?
I believe God wants every singe one of His followers to be successful. He wants us to win our race, to win the fight, to be fruitful and multiply.
God didn’t plan all these meaningful works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) and then plan for us to fall short. He wants us to succeed in what He has called us to do.
The question is, how does God define success?
We know how our world defines it: money, power, fame, freedom to do what you want, achieving what you set out to do.
There are some Christians who have gotten every single one of those markers in this life, by following God. I personally know of some wonderful Christian “successes” who have done their best to follow Jesus in every area of their life and are rich, famous, and free.
But, many “successful in God’s eyes” Christians were not rich, had little governmental or organizational power, were not very famous, and sometimes lived great portions of their lives in slavery or in prisons.
Jesus only lived 33 1/2 years. Had no home of His own, was constantly attacked by critics, was doubted by even His own brothers and sisters, and ultimately died a brutal, humiliating, and public death. In the world’s eyes He was not a success, at all.
All of the apostles, except for John, died as martyrs. They often went hungry, were beaten and thrown in jail, considered “atheists” because they didn’t worship a visible “god”, and consistently lived what we would consider very hard lives.
Not successful by the world’s definition.
It is possible to be rich, famous, and free and be successful in God’s eyes.
It’s also possible to be poor, unknown, living in a prison and be successful to God.
So what is godly success? It’s one main thing with many contributing parts.
Success is: living God’s purposes, doing His will.
Jesus said that only by abiding in Him could we do anything; we can do NOTHING without Him. (John 15:5)
From God’s perspective, what is done without abiding in Jesus and Him abiding in us is NOTHING. The only things that will matter, long-term, are attitudes, words, and actions that come out of relationship with Him.
Only the will of God counts in both this life and the next. (1 Timothy 4:8)
So, if you are living from and for Jesus, doing His will, in God’s eyes you are a success.
If you are taking care of a handicapped child in Jesus name, that is success. If you are in prison for sharing the gospel, that is success. If you are sacrificing money to help others, success. If you’re making a fortune through your business, doing it according to God’s plan, that is success.
If you are living this day, from Jesus and for Jesus, the Bible teaches you are living a successful life.
That doesn’t mean we accept mediocrity and say, “well, I’m living from Jesus and for Jesus but I’m not giving it my best, because I can’t do anything without Him anyway. I don’t want to get into ‘works of the flesh.”
No, because we are living from Him and for Him, we give each day our best. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for me, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23–24)
Some days we’ll do better than others, no doubt about it. But we can give it our best each day….because we are living from Jesus and for His eternal purposes and we know every single day counts with God.
So if I could narrow down a little more what godly success looks like, I’d say it like this, “Living each day from Jesus and for Jesus as best I can that day.”
Living for God’s purposes. Living from Jesus and for Jesus as best I can each day.
I think that’s at least a key component of how God defines success.
If you want more Free resources on living a Jesus-centered, Jesus-empowered life take a look at www.TruVineMission.com
Want training and coaching on clarifying and living your God-given purposes, check out www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com