Monday, October 17, 2011

The Measure of Success

How do we find success in life? What does success in ministry look like? Who are the people who rank the ideal success for people's lives?  As usual what does the Bible say about success? Many come up with their own ideas. In the business world success is measured by the amount of money is made and the expansion of the business. In the church world we measure success by how many people we have on Sunday Mornings or by how many satetillite churches we can have. Is this really success? As individuals we measure success by the size of our house, the expensiveness of our car, and the neighborhood we live in. All the while, in reality, no one can really afford those things.

Jesus had a different take on success. One that should make us rethink where we stand in today's world.  "He said the last shall be first and the first shall be last." Now what is that suppose to mean?

Matthew 19:29-30  And everyone who gave up homes, brothers or sisters, father, mother, children, or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life.  (30)  However, many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Being successful in the kingdom of God means giving up everything that exists in our realm and storing up treasures in the Realm of Christ. Now what does that mean? Did Jesus say we need to disown our family? No he did not. Did he say we have to be poor and live on the streets? No he did not. Did he say we should never work and have a job that supports our family? No he did not.  What he did say was that those things should not be our source of life or means of gauging success.  In other words, we can have things but things should never have us. We can have relationships but those relationships should never draw us away from living and serving the Lord.  No one in my family or in the relationships I keep will draw me away from serving and loving my Savior. I am sorry. I love them all deeply but not one of them have done for me what my Lord has done for me.  I love my job but if my job started to tare me away from my godly principles. I would chose Christ each time. I love having a car, a house, and things but if those things become more of a substance for me than serving the Lord. I will get rid of those things. This is what Jesus was saying and this is the true measure of Success.  What has you? What owns you? What stops you from being you?

Jesus told us to labor not for the things of this world, but to store up treasures in heaven.

John 6:27 (KJV) 
    Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 



Matthew 6:19-21  "Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.  (20)  Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don't destroy and thieves don't break in and steal.  (21)  Your heart will be where your treasure is.


We are forever making deposits and withdrawals in our heavenly account. This is where the true riches lie and this is where true success is sustained. Our measure of success will not be gauged on how many churches we built,how many people we baptized, how many religious statements we made and so forth. It will be gauged on how we lived like Jesus and how our character became his character. As believers our idea of success can not be the same as the worlds. Success in the world will come and go. There have been business which were once on the top of their game and are now no more. Nothing on this planet lasts forever. Our success lies in the Lord and in serving Him.

So what is Success to Jesus?

1. Giving your heart and life to Him.
2. Hating the things of this world.
3. Laying up treasures in Heaven.
4. Having a relationship with Father God.
5. Living the Character of Christ through your life.
6. Forsaking all and following him.
7. Living free from sin.
8. Seeking after the eternal not the finite.
9. Fighting the good fight of faith.
10. Enduring temptations.
11. Loving everyone.
12. Obeying his word no matter what.

These are just a few but you get the point. This is our success in life. Once again, you can have things. You can have a company or work at a Plant. You can get married and have children. You can do all those things that this finite world does in respect to keeping holy. However, you can not allow the actions or the living in the world stop you from following the hope of Glory. Remember we are aliens, strangers in this world. We are just passing through. Your roots can not be in the soil which the wind will one day blow away. It must be in that heavenly soil where it will prosper for eternity.

Love you all,

Johnny

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