Are you successful enough for God?

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Thoughts on God
Tags: ,

Success-300x247The world has a different definition of success than God does. The world says success comes from financial prosperity, popularity, power and influence, relational happiness, intellect and education, giftedness, and strength and security.

Let me be clear: We all want all of those things. Universally, we all strive for those things to some degree. There’s nothing wrong with them.

Any given one of those standards can be used righteously. They’re good things, in and of themselves.

But here’s the problem: You can be a total failure in life and still have all of these things. You can have them all and be a failure in God’s eyes. Look at that list above. What do those standards have to do with your spiritual life? Nothing.

Now, consider Jesus. He didn’t measure up to those standards of success. He wasn’t wealthy. He wasn’t popular or influential (at least within his own time and culture). His ministry ended in crucifixion. In the world’s eyes, He was a failure.

And yet our Savior was the most successful person who ever drew a breath on this earth. Which means we need to question how we view success and failure.

Having the wrong definition of success and failure impacts every aspect of our lives. We hold ourselves to the wrong standards. We model the wrong behavior for our children. We don’t make the right career decisions and end up in jobs that don’t fulfill us. We don’t accomplish God’s best for our lives.

Based on three parables Jesus told in Matthew 25, there are three standards of success in God’s eyes that we need to focus on instead of the world’s definition.

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus makes it clear that the first standard of success is a personal relationship with Him. According to the parable, not everyone waiting for the Bridegroom will recognize Him. Those people will have wasted their lives. Teach your children that God comes first.

In the Parable of the Three Stewards, Jesus says that one day we will have to account for how we lived our lives. Did we live for ourselves or for Him? Did we live to accumulate wealth or to accumulate people for God’s kingdom? God values human souls more than anything else.

In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus illustrates that we must treat people with love and compassion. We must live for a higher purpose than ourselves. We must feed and clothe and love the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

How do you view success?

I don’t know how much money you have. I don’t know who likes you or doesn’t like you. I don’t know what your position in life is.

But if you know Jesus, and you’re living for Him, and you treat people with love, then you are living a successful life.

You may not look as good as Hollywood says you ought to look. You may not have the intellectual or educational pedigree people say you need to have. You may not be getting any kind of recognition in your career or the business world.

But if you are following Him and living according to His standards of success, you’re doing it right. You are successful in His eyes. That’s the only thing that matters.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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