Am I successful enough? We live in a time where people are actively encouraged to think like this. How can I be smarter, richer, more good-looking? How can I get a better job, earn more money and afford a better lifestyle?
But, as Christians, we should be asking ourselves: Do all these things have anything to do with success?
Chasing after what is earthly and temporary
The Bible doesn’t encourage nor forbid people to be rich, smart or good-looking. Jesus has invited both the rich and the poor to be His disciples, but He made it very clear that what is often considered “success” in this world is totally unimportant when it regards our heavenly calling.
Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (MEV).
Many people today are focused on getting earthly treasures, honour or a certain lifestyle. Society teaches us to achieve these things, and to get them is what most people consider “success.” But, God’s Word tells us these things will pass away; they have no value in eternity.
Whom do you serve?
This doesn’t mean that we should neglect our studies, career or business. Instead, we are encouraged to use our talents and gifts for the good, according to the amount of faith that we have. In Colossians 3:23 Paul also exhorts us to do everything heartily as for the Lord. This means that we should be sincere and hard-working people who are dedicated to carry out whatever job we have to do. God can use persons with such a mindset, those who have action power and are eager to do good works. (Titus 2:14.)
But, the problem comes when we seek to serve ourselves instead of the living God in our lives, when we become busy with making ourselves great and becoming something great in this world, instead of doing everything wholeheartedly for Him. In Matthew 6:24 (NCV) Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].” In other words, we can’t serve God and at the same time trying to be something great in this world.
A focus on things of worth
Instead of being busy with earthly and temporary things, allowing ourselves to be driven by selfish ambition and pride, we can have our focus on things of worth! We can seek the things that are above and are of true value in eternity. Think how different it is to chase after God’s honour, instead of the honour that comes from people, to “…aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart,” instead of earthly riches! (2 Timothy 2:22 RSV.) These things are of eternal worth; they are not corrupted, nor do they pass away. And people who chase after such goals in life will never be worried or disappointed.
True success is to get Christ’s virtues in our lives, to come to godly nature. There is nothing more valuable than this! And God promises that it will succeed for us if we obey His Word in our lives, with sincerity of heart. (Joshua 1:8.) May we make every effort to be successful Christians, not seeking things that are great in this world, but chasing after godliness in our lives.
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and excellence, by which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these things you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:3-7 (MEV).