As a Christian I wanted to know from the Bible God’s idea of success. Usually success is related to money however, in this blogpost I am considering all kinds of success. Many times, when I thought about success I used to remember the song “This world is not my home, I am just passing through” and think to myself pursuing success is worldly.
I started researching the Bible to see if my thinking was accurate and I will share here what I have found.
Success according to the Bible is two-fold. One, your commitments to God and two, your commitment to yourself. It is based on these two similar verses.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
What does commitment mean?
Commitment has a two-fold meaning. On the one hand it refers to your willingness to give your time, energy etc. for the purpose you are after. It also refers to the dedication you show towards the activity.
On the other hand, commitment refers to an engagement that restricts freedom of action meaning that you don’t involve yourself by spending your time and energy on activities that align with the word of God.
The word commit makes more sense when we look at what the Psalmist writes, he says “delight in the Lord”. The word delight refers to a task that gives you a high degree of satisfaction and fulfilment. Think about seeing your loved ones after a long time or the feeling you have when you achieve a long-time goal.
Some achieve satisfaction and fulfilment after they’ve taken revenge but the delight that we are referring to is in line with engagement that restricts freedom of action, one that in accordance to God’s words.
Commitment to God
First and foremost, God’s commitment to us is not transactional. God demonstrates his commitment to us every day. The sun rises every day, the air that we breathe is the start of a never-ending list that proves His commitment. What does our commitment to God look like?
Jesus summarized in what areas our commitment should be in Matthew. Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Our commitment to God then in one that depends on values and service.
Commitment to Values
When need to uphold Christ-like values. I believe we can summarize Christ-like values in three: righteous, merciful, and faithful. Being righteous is doing what is right. It can also be described as just, holy, pure, and good. When all our decision are based on what is right and not what is convenient or beneficial to ourselves then we are on our way to right living.
Commitment to serve
Doing what is right for others, treating others with respect, working for a win-win in all that we do is based on the golden rule. What would l want here for me and do that for the person in front of you. Seeking to serve others shows your commitment to God.
Jesus is the ultimate example of commitment. He came to serve us and fulfil the plan of salvation that laid out when Adam fell. Jesus showed how to live right both in the eyes of God and man. Therefore, commitment to God is imitating Jesus in our everyday life.
Commitment to yourself
Both the verses that we saw earlier in Psalms and Proverbs end with all our plans and desires coming to pass. The phrase “all our plans” must be seen in the light of the first part of the verse which is to commit ourselves to God. Under that commitment our success then will depend on what we do next.
Sitting still is not going to bring us the success we seek. We need a plan to pursue success. It reveals intention and intensity. The intention is the desire to achieve the goal that we have and when that intention is combined with intensity then we have a winning formula for success.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 summarizes our part beautifully. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” We can pursue anything and there is no prior qualification required. If your desire supports right living and is in service of others you are to seek your heart’s desire.
What does Christian success then mean?
Christian success then reveals to me that everyone can be successful. Success is not based on the country of origin or the color of your skin rather it is based on your commitment to God and yourself.
Christian success is not limited to certain fields. King Solomon says, whatever your hand finds to do which means no job is too small or too meagre to help you reach success.
Christian success depends on you. “your hands” in the verse refers to the action that you will take. What will you do? Will you persevere till you succeed? Are you willing to do what it takes to go after your heart’s desire?
Christian success is also about material possessions. When you desire is to earn more wealth that is also covered under the “desires of your heart.” Luke 16:11 says material possession comes with an additional responsibility of trustworthiness. “So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”Again, being trustworthy comes under our commitment to God.
Christian success is not equal. When success is measured in terms of worldly requirements then it is not equal. In the parable of the talents, we see the three servants receiving 1, 3 and 5 talents. In worldly terms, the one with the 5 talents is the rich person and the one with just the 1 talent is poor. Then, Christian success in worldly terms is not equal.
God sees your success differently. You are successful in God’s eyes when you have made the most of your opportunity. In the parable where the master calls for laborers to work the vineyard they all get the same pay at the end of the day. It is unfair in worldly eyes but going to heaven is the ultimate reward and God’s reward for your success is then the same.
Even in the parable of the talents both the 3 and 5 talent servants receive the same reward of “entering the joy of the Lord” which is also our ultimate reward.
In honor of your commitment to Christ, pursue your opportunity with all that you have, and you can be certain of your reward to enter the joy of the Lord.