Relatively speaking, most people want to be successful in life.  What that success looks like is dependent upon the individual.  Even among Christians, there are extremely different views on the topic, which prompts a lot of questions such as:

  • What defines Christian success?
  • Is success a sin?
  • What is success from God’s perspective?
  • What does the bible say about success and prosperity?

As a Christian woman desiring to be successful in life, I, too, have asked these same questions at some point. However, upon careful study of the Bible, God has changed my perspective on the topic.

In this post, we will look specifically at bible verses about success, in which we will learn exactly what success is, how to measure it, how to attain it, and even how to celebrate it.

roadway to success

What is Success?

As stated previously, success can mean a variety of things, depending on who you ask. For some, it’s fame. For some, it’s fortune (money, cars, property, and other material things). For others, it may be winning in life (recognition, medals, awards, and other accolades).

Still, others may define their success by their education or intelligence level, career or business, talents or skills, or even their beauty or sense of fashion.

In the modern age of social media, many measure their success by the number of followers, likes, or subscribers they have.

Some of our fellow Christians would never include any of the items mentioned above in their definition of success.  Instead, they may respond with something like ‘having your needs met by God’, or ‘making a living and taking care of your family and other responsibilities’.

In simple terms, the basic definition of success is:

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt
  • the accomplishment of a goal or purpose

Therefore, to some degree, we have all experienced success in one way, shape, or form. But, what does success mean as a Christian?  What is God’s idea of success?  How do you become successful according to the bible?

What Does the Bible Say About Success?

Before we dive in, I have to make a serious and important statement here: If you are a true Bible-believing Christian (emphasis on Bible-believing because NOT all are, which is a post for another day), then you absolutely MUST consider what the Word of God has to say on ANY topic. Period.

I promise you, that approaching anything in life from this starting point will guarantee you success in ways that nothing else can.

1. What Success is NOT

To have a good understanding of the biblical definition of success, let’s first take a look at what the bible says clearly is NOT success.

When Jesus was speaking to his disciples about the costs of following him, he said:

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  

Matthew 16:26 AMP

It’s a short and simple verse, that says so much. 

Note that Jesus never says that gaining the things of this world is wrong or sinful.   However, if one were to become successful to the point that he gains everything he wants in the whole world, but doesn’t have a personal relationship with God (forfeits his soul), how does it benefit him?

Where is the profit in being “successful” in every area of life except in the area where it matters most? What is the point of attaining so much in this temporary life, only to die, and have your soul spend eternity in hell?

Pursuing all the desires of your heart and attaining everything you want in life, in the absence of a relationship with God is NOT true riches or true success.

We are so quick to look at everyone in the world around us and be jealous of what they have.  But, the truth is, if they don’t have a relationship with God, at best they will enjoy a brief period of happiness before they die.  I say brief because whether you live 5 years or 105 years, it all pales in comparison to eternity.

2. The Biblical Definition of Success

So. . . for those of us, who are Christians, what is success for us?

I believe Solomon said it best:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep his commandments,for this is the duty of all mankind.  

Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

The main goal of Christianity is to fear God (reverence, respect, and serve Him) and obey his Word! How well we do that is the true measure of success for Christians. That is “good” success.

The problem is, just like our non-Christian counterparts we get fixated on ‘gaining the whole world’, and seeking our own glory instead of working on cultivating our relationship with God.

We chase success in all the other areas of our lives, while spiritual growth holds little to no priority for us at all.

Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Luke 12:15 NLT

We have a finite time on earth, and the Bible is very clear on what our priorities as Christians should be while we’re here:

  • As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  (Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV)
  • Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (I Corinthians 15:58 NIV)
  • Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.  Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)

When we put God first and seek success in our spiritual growth, it’s amazing what success we will begin to see in other areas of our lives as well.

3. Putting God First Brings Success in Other Areas

Our secular culture teaches us to work hard, hustle daily, and do everything we can to achieve what we want out of life.  Hard work does have its place when it comes to success, and it, too, is a biblical concept.  However, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.”  And, as a Christian, the “smart” way to achieve success is by working with God.

You see, when we shift our perspective of what success is from living to please only ourselves, to living to please God first and foremost, God tends to take care of all the other areas in the process:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 NIV

He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.  

Proverbs 2:7 NIV

Here are several great examples of people who put God first and were successful in other areas of their daily lives as a result:

  • Joshua: Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  (Joshua 1:7-8 NIV)
  • King Uzziah: He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.  (II Chronicles 26:5 NIV)
  • Joseph:  The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.  (Genesis 39:23 NIV)
  • David:  In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.  (I Samuel 18:14 NIV)
  • King Hezekiah:  And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.  (II Kings 18:7 NIV) 

4. Maintain a Biblical Perspective Regarding Success

In light of all this, it’s important to maintain a biblical perspective regarding success, especially when everything and everyone in the world tells us to do otherwise.

The truth is God wants our focus to be on Him and His will for our lives, remembering that because our lives on earth are temporary, we should be storing up treasures for the life to come.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].

Colossians 3:2 AMP

We can’t adopt the pattern of this world and allow temporal things to become such a measure of success that we forget about the things God desires from and for us.

For example, if we begin to view acquiring money and wealth as such a measure of success that we begin to love it, then it becomes something that can lead us away from God.  It can even cause us to wander from the faith.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  

I Timothy 6:10 NIV

I think we can all agree that anything that causes you to wander from the faith should not be deemed a “success story.”

At the end of the day, we would all do well to remember that God doesn’t owe us anything, but we owe Him everything.   When we keep this in mind, we can maintain a healthy and biblical perspective when it comes to success.

Whereas, material things are certainly considered blessings and can be a measure of success, they are NOT nor should they ever be the measure of true success.

Another important point to make here is the success we often overlook. How often do we, in our pursuit of material things, forget the things God blesses us with and the success He gives us simply because we are Christians? 

I don’t know about you, but I would consider any blessing of the Lord (His love, provision, peace, protection, etc.) to be a huge success!

Here are just a few bible verses about success of this nature:

  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
  • What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  (Romans 8:31-32 NIV)
  • No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (John 16:33 NIV)

5. Pray For Success

In line with keeping things in perspective, it’s also important that we realize that we can and should pray for success. The Bible teaches that we should include God in our planning, so it only makes sense that we talk to Him regarding the areas in which we want to be successful.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

The following list of bible verses provides several great examples of praying for success:

  • Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. (Genesis 24:12 NIV) 
  • Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! (Psalms 118:25 NIV) 
  • Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man. (Nehemiah 1:11 NIV)
  • May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17 NIV)
  • Always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. (Romans 1:10 ESV)
  • Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.  (2 Chronicles 4:10 NIV)

Once you make it a habit of putting God first and including Him in your plans, it will become natural to also pray throughout the journey for success. 

Celebrating Success

We will inevitably want to celebrate once we start to experience success in different areas of our lives.   And, when it comes to celebrating success, there are five key biblical principles that I encourage you to live by:

1. Track Your Success

Whether it’s your spiritual walk with God, or your journey to pursue a master’s degree, buy a house, get out of debt, launch your new business, or lose 25 pounds, tracking your progress along the way is important.

For example, success in spiritual growth is a lifelong process. It doesn’t matter how long you have been a Christian; God is constantly working on us to be more Christ-like and will continue to do so until we join Him in heaven.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 NIV

Tracking our progress is a huge motivational factor to keep us moving in the right direction. It shows us what God has done, and gets us excited to see what He is going to do next in our lives!

2. Celebrate Victories Along the Way

The actual act of celebrating is not only the fun part, but it’s also a good thing. It’s when we take some time to acknowledge and rejoice over our progress. And we should celebrate ALL the great things along the way—whether big victories or small.

Some ideas for celebrating are:

  • Share the news with others (accountability partners, family, friends)
  • Make it an event – throw a “progress party”
  • Treat yourself to a “cheat” day – go off your diet, have a drink, skip the gym, or take a “mental health day” off from work
  • Go and do something you enjoy

3. Always Give God Praise For Your Success

No matter how you choose to celebrate, always give praise and thanks to God for your success. It’s only by His power and grace that we do what we do.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  

Psalm 126:2-3 NIV

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.  

Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

4. Honor God With Your Success

Giving God praise and thanks for your success is one thing, but honoring God with your success is quite another. 

Honoring God with our success is two-fold:

  1. Stay committed to God and continue to serve Him regardless of how successful we become
  2. Use what God has blessed us with to bless others (i.e., giving to a ministry/charity from your wealth, operating your business with integrity)

This passage from Deuteronomy is one of my favorite bible verses about success, that I believe best illustrates the attitude we can develop if we DON’T honor God with our success:

Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”

Deuteronomy 8:11-17 NIV

It’s so easy to get sidetracked and so caught up in success that we forget about God altogether and even become prideful by attributing our success to our power and strength (hence the warning about the love of money from the verse we looked at earlier). 

Don’t ever let success take you away from God.  Always honor Him with everything He blesses you with.

5. Celebrate the Success of Others

Last but certainly not least, I believe nothing shows humility and love when it comes to success like celebrating the success of others—regardless of whether or not we ourselves have attained success.

Our flesh and the world around us tell us to be envious when others succeed and do well, especially when they are seemingly doing much better than we are in certain areas of life.  But the Bible teaches us to do otherwise:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15 NKJV

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  

Philippians 2:4 NLT

As Christians, having a proper biblical view about success means always being willing to celebrate the success of others, regardless of our level of success.

God Wants Us to Be Successful Christians!

So, from all the bible verses about success that we’ve looked at, do you think God wants us to be successful?  

Yes, He does!

Regardless of your ethnicity, gender, background, profession, education level, social status, bank account balance, or where you live, as a Christian, God wants you to be successful in Him. Thankfully, God’s measure of success is NOT dependent on how the world measures success. 

The world says to get an education, go to college, get a high-paying job so you can make a ton of money, buy anything you want, do what you want, when you want, how you want, and you will be successful; there is no need for God.

But the Bible says to seek God first, learn and obey His Word, commit your goals to Him, and include Him in everything you do. And He will bless you and give you success spiritually, and in all other aspects of your life as well.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].  

John 10:10 AMP

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  

Galatians 6:9 NLT

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11 ESV

Don’t miss out on the true blessings of this life. Don’t get so caught up in the pursuit of worldly wealth and success that you start to adopt secular ways of living and thinking.  Don’t neglect your relationship with God, keeping yourself from truly living and enjoying life as He intended.

We all know life is short, and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. So whether it’s a work day, vacation day, the weekend, or you’re sick and shut-in – make every day count as a success by spending time with God, living for Him, and truly enjoying life!  That is God’s will for us, and that is true success!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Demetra is a busy, self-employed, single mom who loves Jesus and is a fanatic about prioritizing her time with God!  She created In the Mirror of God to help other Christian women learn how regularly looking into our spiritual mirror (the Bible) equips us to cultivate a deeper relationship with God, think biblically about everything, conquer the challenges of everyday life, and truly enjoy life to the fullest, the way God intended.  Go here to learn more about her story, or visit her contact page to send a quick message.

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37 Inspirational Bible Verses About Success

4 Comments

  1. Truly helpful, Ive bren struggling with understanding how to celebrate my successes without feeling like I’m bragging. Knowing where I am coming from, what I’ve overcomed with God’s Help , I want to celebrate the wins!!! I want to show others, I want to talk about it…I just need to ensure that I never make it seem like it’s by my own doing because it certainly isn’t. I feared praying for success, I’d pray for what I want and be nervous when I have it! God is good, our success is a reward for our walk with God, let’s celebrate in Jesus Name!!!!!

    1. Author

      I’m glad this was helpful for you Tashae. It’s all about perspective – as long as, we give God the glory in and for everything, we can maintain a healthy perspective every time He blesses us. I will be praying for you and for more success!

  2. This post was awesome and right on time! Including God in your plans is key to experiencing any success! We should always be humble because just as he gives us the moments of success, he can take them away, just as quickly.

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