A "successful" life - please define Biblically

Hi Priscilla again.

How do we define a life lived “successfully” in the light of the Bible and what we ought to strive for, as seeking followers of Christ. It is really related to my former question placed here “being stewards of our talents”. Actually what I wish to know now, is how a successful life for a Christian looks like and how ought its definition be. I hope I am not veering away from the matter here but recently I was exploring the differences between “being holy” vs “being pious”. God Almighty did say, “Be holy for I am holy”, and not “Be pious”. I hope this doesn’t mess up the first query! Maybe they should be both answered, if separately. Thanks!


@mutts Terrific and challenging question :slight_smile: In our celebrity and results oriented culture I think it is tempting to try to measure the success of our walk with Christ. Sometimes we even use spiritual language - how happy are we in Christ, how filled with joy, how prayerful… But I think even those metrics miss the realities of seeking Christ as broken creatures in a fallen world and create unattainable expectations.

For me, Philippians 3 is a model for what Christian success looks like: persevering in pursuing Christ above all else no matter the circumstances, our emotional state, or the difficulties we face.

I think there are seasons when our world is so broken that all we can do is rest in Christ and other seasons when it seems like we can’t turn a corner without advancing God’s Kingdom. And I don’t think we are in control of the seasons, so however we define success it must take into account the reality that at times the Christian life is dutiful perseverance, at time joyful worship and at times weeping at the feet of Christ.


Is not a successful life one that has achieved its purpose? Why are we here? What is God’s expectation of us? These are the great existential questions everyone asks, if not consciously, then under the surface. For me, I still go back to Westminster. “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”. Do this, and we will have lived a successful life.

As Peter states in his writings that took place near the end of his life.
2 Peter 1:1‭-‬8 NLT This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I see this passage as success is a constant not a one time achievement. It’s as Paul wrote in,
Philippians 3:14 NLT I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Our father knows what we need
Matthew 6:33‭-‬34 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

As we know our righteousness is filthy rags. We must put on His righteousness.

One day at a time sweet Jesus
So be it or amen

Thank you dear brothers-in-Christ.
Your rummages from the Bible have been welcome fodder. Indeed I was prompted to go to 2Samuel 24:1 which told of David succumbing to the “adversary” (the devil) to make a census of his army - not a wrong move by itself but in context an evidence of an ambitious curiosity and vanity on the side of David. Thank you SeanO for this reminder.
For the Westminster ‘statement’ stating the reason for our lives “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” is shakeningly alive and so relevant for us.
To other hard-hitting references, thank you. 2Peter 1:1-8. Phil 3:14, Matt 6:33-34 (NLT).
I may have gone off-kilter after a long while of living. Your kindly reminders from His word grounds me deep down again.

You brothers are certainly the “salt” of the earth. Thanks to this “savoury” platform, RZIM.

Matt 5:13 KJV: “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”

To everyone of us reading this: Keep in the “savour” !

Priscilla Tang


Indeed, “one step at a time sweet Jesus…”
and for us to remember those lyrics, “Trust and obey…” whenever we are irked by impatience and doubt.