Striving to be Successful

Isaiah 48.15 I have spoken – yes, I have summoned him; I lead him and he will succeed.

Everyone wants to be successful. It comes from our being created in the image of God, Who described His pleasure in making the universe and all it contains as being very good. After every thing God made He would step back and say to Himself, ‘that is good.’ When He made humanity He was even more pleased, stating, ‘this is very good.’

So too when we accomplish a good work we take pride and feel good about ourselves. This propensity begins at the youngest of ages and is visible to us when our small child brings to us their picture pronouncing the greatness of their creation and looking to us for additional praise.

When people turn to God they often do so because they want Him to make them great too. The health and wealth industry within Christianity is arguably the largest and fastest growing, at least in North and South American as well as Africa. This brand of Christianity draws upon our desire to be healthy and wealthy.

Today’s scripture on the surface appears to advocate for such thinking but like most of the Scriptures used to show God loves us most and best and therefore wants us blest, when taken in context, God’s definition of success is different from our want for success.

God defines success as obedience to His commands. God defines success as faithfulness to His ways. God defines success as accomplishing His will. God’s definition of success is seen in the lives of the saints from the past who are considered great not because of their wealth and power but because of the power of God that was exhibited through their suffering, giving and serving for the glory of God.

Our brand of success will last us twenty to fifty years. God rewards those who successfully obeyed His commands for all eternity. God rewards those who loved Him and the gospel more than their own lives forever and ever. God rewards those who successfully used their talents and treasure for His purposes with position and honor in His Kingdom that never ends.

We seek to make our success eternal through hall of fame entries, world records and stars poured into concrete. God makes success eternal by rewarding His people with eternal life to be honored among those who also will live eternally with them. We wont need reminders of past success in the kingdom to come because God will remind us of those whom He deemed successful with eternal significance in His kingdom.

Everyone wants success. Whose definition of success will we strive to meet? God’s definition or our own? A temporary definition or an eternal definition?

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