Am I Living a Successful Life?
Practically no one purposely sets out to be an unsuccessful person. Many of us yearn for insight on how to be more successful in our professions and lives. We love to read books about people and their success stories. But, what does success really look like for you as a believer? What’s the measure of a truly successful life?
One word: faithfulness. That’s it. You could publish books, travel the world, establish a Fortune 500 company and this would not be the fullest, most robust picture of success. In fact, you could accomplish none of these things and still be successful.
When we judge success solely by the world’s standards, we commit a huge error. The Word offers us a different measure of success. Consider these stunning words written by the apostle Paul to Timothy. Paul knew he was about to die, he writes,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Perhaps most interesting is what Paul does not write. He does not write to Timothy “I have written books, I have planted churches, I ran an amazing tent making business…” Paul’s measure of success was whether or not he had “kept the faith,” and he gladly headed towards his death with the happy thought that he could hear "Well done, good and faithful servant," from his Master. Is this your measure of success? That you are not just successful, but faithful?
Think about some of the lives of the people in the Bible. Would they really be considered success stories if you evaluated them by your current view of success? Church history believes the apostle Peter was crucified, Paul was likely executed under Nero, John was banished to the isle of Patmos, Stephen was stoned to death by those he was trying to minister the Gospel to. And even in more recent history, think of Jim Elliot and his team of missionaries who sought to bring the Good News to the Auca Indian tribe only to meet brutal deaths in the prime years of their lives, or Betsie Ten Boom who wasted away her last years in a concentration camp ministering to victims of the Holocaust. Were these people successful? Yes, because they were faithful to God where He had placed them.
May this be your measure and aim of success as you work and plan your life—that you would follow God fully and be found faithful with all that He has given you.
Think about the successful people you admire. What makes them successful in your eyes? Read over 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Ask the Lord to help you prize faithfulness to Him more than just success in the world. Evaluate what faithfulness to God might look like for you in your career and living.