All throughout this series, we've been talking about plans, goals, resolutions and visions, the importance of including God in the process, the self-discipline it takes, and how to stay focused amidst inevitable distractions.
In this post, we will end this series with the topic of measuring and celebrating success.
Anytime we shift our mindset from our own way of thinking to align with the Word of God and His will for our lives - its a huge accomplishment! If there is one thing I've learned in my own personal walk with God, its how important it is to celebrate success throughout your Christian journey.
What is True Success?
Some consider true success to be fame or fortune. For others it is simply winning (recognition, medals, awards, and other accolades). Many will put a ton of effort into pursuing success. Whether its going to school, starting a business, investing money, etc.
Even among Christians, there are many definitions of true success. Some say its simply having your needs met by God. Others will say success is making a living and taking care of your family and other responsibilities.
But, in simple terms, the basic definition of success is: the accomplishment of a goal or purpose.
Therefore, to some degree, we have all experienced success in one way shape or form. However, true success in life is dependent upon perspective, and most importantly what the bible has to say.
What Does the Bible Say about True Success?
If success is simply the accomplishment of a goal or purpose, then from a biblical perspective, we have already learned that our main goal/purpose should be that of growing our relationship with God and putting Him first in all things. The good news is when we do this, success is inevitable!
Lets look at some verses.
Some Success Comes Simply Because God is With Us
As Christians, when we choose to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and make a decision to serve Him, we automatically gain certain "spiritual privileges" that come with simply being a child of God.
God is with us always, and when we serve Him, His presence alone breeds success in our lives.
Genesis 39:23 (NIV) - 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.
I Samuel 18:14 (NIV) - In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. (David)
II Kings 18:7 (NIV) - And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. (King Hezekiah)
In all 3 instances above, Joseph, David and King Hezekiah had chosen to serve God and because He was with them, the bible says they were successful.
Putting God First and Learning His Word Guarantees More Success
Yes, there are blessings and success that will come our way simply by mere association as believers. But, many Christians want success, without having to do what is required to attain it. And therefore, they have limited success.
There are other levels of success that can ONLY be achieved when we put God first by growing our relationship with Him and learning His Word.
Joshua 1:7-8 (NIV) - “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.
II Chronicles 26:5 (NIV) - 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. (King Uzziah)
Proverbs 2:7 (NIV) - He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.
Regardless of how you look at success, one thing is for certain according to the bible: success is inevitable for those who seek the Lord and obey His Word. #success #Christiansuccess #seekGod #learningthebible #inthemirrorofGod
We Can Pray for Success
Just like with anything else in our lives that we desire to have - prayer is always the BEST place to start. Going back to that whole concept of including God in all we do, we absolutely cannot forget to pray. Just ask Him for success!
Genesis 24:12 (NIV) - Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
Psalms 118:25 (NIV) - Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
Once you make it a habit to start including God in your plans, it only becomes natural to also pray throughout the journey for success. It is never wrong to talk to God or ask Him for anything.
NOTE: asking doesn't guarantee the answer we want, but it would be foolish of us as Christians to NOT ask at all.
Material Things are NOT the True Measure of Success
In the society we live in today, most often than not, whether you are speaking to a Christian or non-Christian, they will associate success with something material.
Whether its being famous, having a ton of money, owning several businesses, multiple homes or cars, having thousands of followers on social media, getting a national award, or getting a doctor's degree. Most people measure success by the amount of their material things or possessions.
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. #truesuccess #blessings #Christiansuccess #inthemirrorofGod
Lets look at some key verses.
Proverbs 31:30 (NIV) - Charm is deceptive, and beauty and fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Don't let outer beauty be such a measure of success that you forget about the inner beauty that is most important to God.
I Timothy 6:10 (NIV) - 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.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having money in and of itself. However, when we make attaining money such a measure of success that we begin to love it, then it becomes something that can lead us to all kinds of evil. To the point, that it causes even Christians to wander from the faith.
I think we can all agree that anything that causes you to wander from the faith should not be deemed a "success story".
Psalms 127:1 (NIV) - Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
Its not wrong to put effort into a project or building a business. But, if God isn't in it, ultimately it will fail. Never let the measure of success be the project itself. True success comes in incorporating God in all we do.
The Biblical Definition of True Success
In case you haven't figured it out yet, spiritual growth is the true success that God wants us to attain.
The main goal of Christianity is to fear God (reverence, respect, serve Him) and obey his Word! How well we do that is the true measure of success for Christians. The house, car, degrees, money, accolades and anything else are simply by-products!
Jesus came so that we could have and enjoy life in abundance:
John 10:10 (AMP) - 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].
The problem is that we don't want to embrace the fact that in order to truly "live" and "enjoy life" we absolutely MUST cultivate our relationship with God by learning His Word. Only then can we truly even begin to know how He wants us to live:
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV) - 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.
I Corinthians 15:58 (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.
Ephesians 5:16-17 (NIV) - making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Being a successful Christian is learning to love God and His Word so that we can live for Him and serve Him in all we do. The more we seek to attain that on a daily basis, then and only then, will we truly begin to enjoy life to the fullest, the way God intended. #truesuccess #Christiansuccess #learningthebible #lovingGod #obeyingGod
Why Its Important to Celebrate Success
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.
Philippians 1:6 (NIV) - 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.
Because it is a lifelong process, it is all the more important to celebrate our success along the way!
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) - Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Like Paul, we have to track our progress as we go! Realize where we started, what we've accomplished so far and how much further we have to go, so we can continue daily to press towards our goal.
Maybe you never used to have devotions, but now you're doing it 3 times a week. Or maybe you never used to pray apart from saying grace at the dinner table, and now you have a set time each morning.
Maybe you've decided to let this year be the first year that you read through the bible. Or maybe you've decided to work on your anger issues and you looked up every verse you could find about anger so you can see what God has to say about it.
Maybe you never used to put money in the offering plate and now you're making it a point to at least always put something in.
Whatever the case, we should track our success. Take note (whether literally or mentally) of how God is working on you, through you and in your life.
Sometimes, I take time and read entries from some of my old journals. And its amazing to see how much I have grown spiritually. To see how God has changed my mindset. To see how the way I used to handle certain situations is a lot different than how I handle them now.
Just like with any other goal, tracking our success 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!
Our success can also be a motivational factor to those around us. Your spiritual growth could motivate someone else to work on their relationship with God. Or better yet, a non-Christian co-worker, neighbor, relative or friend may give their lives to Christ because of the changes they see in you!
Ways to Celebrate Success
The actual act of celebrating is the fun part. Its when we literally take some time to acknowledge and rejoice about our progress.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, always start by giving thanks to God. It's only by His power and grace that we do what we do. And it is very important to give praise and thanks to God EVERY step of the way.
Psalm 9:1 (NIV) - I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Other things that can be done to celebrate your success in your Christian journey 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
Need suggestions? Order your copy of: 20 Ways to Enjoy Life More As A Christian
Regardless of how you celebrate, just remember to be sure to celebrate even the small achievements. Again, the Christian journey is a lifelong process. So every little thing we accomplish along the way for God is worth celebrating and getting excited about!
God Wants Us to be Successful Christians
Regardless of your ethnicity, gender, background, profession, educational level, social status, bank account balance, or where you live - if you belong to God, He wants you to be successful in Him. Thankfully, God's measure of success is NOT dependent on any of the ways that the world measures success! In fact, He gives us EVERYTHING we need to be successful.
The world says 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 to, and you will be successful; there is no need for God.
But the bible says, seek God first and foremost, learn and obey His Word, commit your goals to Him, 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.
Don't miss out on the true blessings of this life. Don't get so caught up in the world around us and all the nonsense that is going on in our society that we neglect our relationship with God, and keep ourselves from truly living and enjoying the life He gave us.
We all know life is short and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. So whether its 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!