What does it mean to be successful? These seven things are usually associated with the world’s view of success:
Financial prosperity: Having enough money to possess everything you want and to care for others. For many people, this is the only standard of success.
Popularity and favor: This might come through physical attractiveness, personality, talent, or something else. People will sell their souls to be liked.
Power and influence: This is the social, financial, or spiritual authority to do what you want or protect the people you care about. Success comes from rank.
Relational happiness: Loving others and being loved, in a secure and meaningful relationship, is something everyone desires.
Intellect and education: Having a high IQ and reaching an impressive level of education is, for many people, their definition of personal success.
Giftedness: This means having artistic, athletic, musical, or other creative gifts that gather appreciation from others. These gifts get people noticed.
Strength and security: This means living in a safe and peaceful environment and having the ability to preserve and maintain it.
When you look at these seven worldly standards of success, please note that any one of them can be used righteously. All of them can be good. But you can also be a total failure and have all seven of these.
Consider Jesus. He wasn’t popular. He wasn’t wealthy. In the world’s eyes, He was a failure. But there will never be anyone on earth as successful as the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s standards of success are different from the world’s standards. What are God’s standards of success?
1⃣ The first is a personal relationship with Jesus. If you know Jesus, you’re successful. Period. You’re on your way to Heaven. You’ve got it made eternally.
If you don’t know Jesus, don’t tell me you’re a success. I don’t care how many degrees you have or how famous or wealthy you are. Those things won’t matter eternally. The only thing you need to be a success is to receive Jesus as Lord.
2⃣ The second standard involves your life’s purpose. Am I living for God or for myself? Purpose is more valuable than income. The most fulfilled and joyful people aren’t always the ones whose careers earn them a ton of money.
The world says to choose a career based on what it does for your bank account. But some people choose a career they love, or a career God has called them toward—like police officers, firefighters, teachers, or ministers. They may be helping people or otherwise living their lives for God. That is success.
3⃣ The third standard of success is how we treat people. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says that anytime we help the “least of these”—the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked, the thirsty, or the outcasts—then we are helping the Lord himself.
In God’s eyes, success means treating people with compassion, mercy, and love. This kind of work isn’t done to gain riches or popularity, but to serve a King and a kingdom. Success within that kingdom isn’t the same as success in this world.
Many of us need to change our minds about success. Are we pursuing worldly success, or are we trying to achieve success in the eyes of God?
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today