Things I’m Learning // A Definition of Success

*** This post is the first in a new series that I am simply entitling, “Things I’m Learning”, in which I attempt to expound upon, literally, subjects that I am learning more about as I am growing older. This will encourage me as I seek to grow stronger in the Lord, and I hope it encourages you as well!

All of us want to be successful. We want to thrive in our careers, schoolwork, relationships, and even our health. But have you ever thought about being successful in your spiritual life? Furthermore, what if our success in each part of our lives was dependent upon being successful in our spiritual lives?

If this were this case, we must define spiritual success. Scripture tells us that we are to glorify God in our everyday Christian lives (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 10:31), while teaching the gospel to the world (Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19-20). 2 Peter 1:5-11 lists what many have termed the “Christian virtues”, which essentially sums up what living for Christ is all about:

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
(2 Peter 1:5-11)

Particularly notice again verse 10: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”  This does not mean, of course, that we will automatically excell in everything we do. Rather, if we are diligent to keep our trust in Him, He will be with us and see that we reach our heavenly goal (verse 11; Revelation 2:10). If our whole lives are to be devoted to the Lord, then our definition of success will embody advancing His cause in any way that we can! So then, true success is living your life determined to go to heaven while taking as many people with you as possible. If we are making this our life mission, we will have the proper perspective on every other aspect in our lives.

Additionally, taking this idea of success even further, consider with me Philippians 2:3-5:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

If we desire success in our lives, we must also remember others who are wanting the same thing. No matter what our job description is, our mission is to help those around us be successful. But how do we do that?

As is Christ-like, we do not focus solely on what will make us successful, but instead, think outside of the box. Try identifying two people in your life (one older than you and one younger), and think about their goals. What are they trying to accomplish? What are their passions? Then, seek to make them successful. Brainstorm how you could help them out. Put their needs first, and see where it leads you! This is not to say to neglect your own goals, but to help all of us expand our interpretation of success. Moreover, mentoring someone else in their success might help sharpen your goals.

What do you want to succeed in? No matter if it is earning a degree, getting a promotion in the workplace, or strengthening a relationship, remember to put God first, and everything else will fall into place.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)


Footnote: Some ideas for this post was adapted from this video. Click the link to learn more!

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