What is GODs definition of success for the NT believer?

(Akshay Ghorpade ) #1

I had to recently face some major setbacks in my career. i took my decisions after prayer and in what i, my church community and family felt was the leading of GOD. It made me wonder what is success in the view of GOD?
Does GOD necessarily want us to succeed to higher ranks?
Should we except success in everything that i do?
Is success only in the spiritual realm for the NT believer?
Views on the same would be much appreciated.

(SeanO) #2

@akshay807 I believe success for a believer is putting God’s Kingdom first - making Jesus our greatest treasure. We might be successful in the world - and we might not… Each person’s story is different. Consider Hebrews 11 - the list of faithful saints who God is not ashamed to call His own and of whom the world is not worthy. Each of their stories is different, but none of them had the easy life the world so often desires. They had major disappointments and suffered terribly in some cases, but they were not living for this world - they were looking forward to another country - God’s country! I believe that is what success means for the believer - no matter what our story looks like - Abraham was tested but generally quite wealthy, Jeremiah was often mistreated and ultimately martyred, Paul was beaten and poor and shipwrecked and Job had a boomerang experience. Each of our stories is different and we cannot control our circumstances - the only choice we have is to honor God in the circumstances in which we are in. We cannot control the outcomes.

I have experienced similar situations to yourself - where I sought wise council, prayed and then things did not go as I expected. It can be and was very disheartening. But one thing I know - when I chose to trust Jesus and praise Him through the situation, He always made a way and restored to me the joy and peace of my salvation.

May the Lord Jesus grant you peace in the midst of a difficult situation and bless you and your family in every way - physically, spiritually and emotionally as you seek His face. May His Spirit go before you and grant you wisdom and strength in all that you do.

Hebrews 11:13-16, 37-40 - All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

God’s Definition of Success

I thought this article from Ligonier expressed some very helpful thoughts. We are often too quick to judge whether or not a course of action was a success or failure. Consider the cross of Christ - that looked like a huge failure from a worldly perspective, but from the perspective of Heaven it was the greatest victory of all.

This is surely what it means to succeed from a biblical perspective. In place of serving the goals of our own personal kingdoms, whatever they might be—comfort, approval, money, and so on—the successful person puts first God’s kingdom. He is willing to give up any of these things if they get in the way of serving God, or to use them for God as resources over which he is a steward who will one day be called to account (see Matt. 25:14–30). The successful steward is not the one who is entrusted with the most resources, of whatever kind. It is the steward who is faithful with the resources with which he has been entrusted (Matt. 25:21).

Yet, human beings are remarkably poor judges of success and failure. On the one hand, we often use the wrong measuring sticks. The people whom we judge as “success”—the rich, the powerful, the influential, and the attractive—receive no special adulation in God’s kingdom. Meanwhile, those we look down on as failures—the poor, the broken, and the unimportant people—are often those for whom it seems God has a special concern. According to Jesus, it is possible to gain the whole world—to succeed against almost every human yardstick—and still fail at life because you lose your soul in the process (Matt. 16:26). At the same time, Jesus declares that it is possible to lose all your possessions, relationships, and status, and yet succeed in what really matters—in your relationship with God (Mark 10:28–30).

In addition, we often make premature judgments. We judge on the basis of present appearances, evaluating people as if we knew the outcome of their story. In reality, the end of the story will not be told in this world but in the world to come, where some who are now first (“successful”) will be last, while others who are now judged to be last (“failures”) will be first in God’s kingdom (Mark 10:31). The measures of success in God’s upside-down kingdom are not the same as those of this present age.

Discerning God’s Will

It sounds like you did everything possible to discern God’s will in this situation. Here are some resources that have helped me as I process the ups and downs of life while seeking to follow God.

  • does it align with Biblical principles? Is what you are praying for Biblical?
  • what are your motivations for praying for this particular thing? Are your motives pure before God?
  • what is the counsel of godly people around you? Do they affirm that this is something you should be pursuing?
  • is this course of action wise? is it in keeping with what you know about reality and your own abilities?

You may also benefit from this thread:

(Akshay Ghorpade ) #3

Thank you so much @SeanO for your wisdom on this. Definitely a lot to think about.

(SeanO) #4

@akshay807 Glad to be helpful - feel free to share any additional thoughts / think through it here with us :slight_smile: