Hello brothers and sisters!
God has put this topic on my heart to speak to you about for the past couple of days. This is what should we define success as?
This topic is central to being a Christian, as it tells us where our priorities lie.
If you are like me, I have problems keeping my definition of success and as such my priorities straight in multiple ways. One way is that my priorities will shift subtly daily. Certain things will lose their importance if I do not re-affirm their importance daily. Another way that my priorities will shift is that a lower priority will overwhelm a higher priority subconciously.
Usually for me this happens with a primary and derived priority. What I mean is that there is an overarching abstract priority that creates a lower, but concrete, priority.
One example of this is this blog. Fletcher and I have talked about blogging and writing for several years. We have both talked about the reasons why it is important, its value, and most important its purpose.
That is and prayerfully will always be to share with others what God shares with us.
As a concrete sub-priority there is the maximization of how many others we share with. This is why we share our posts on facebook and twitter, and are exceptionally thankful when y’all share our posts with others.
However, very conciously I had to fight in the R&R post on the Gospel to prevent myself from changing the Gospel to try and attract more people. This obviously goes against the priority of sharing with others what God has shared with us, but it is affirmed by increasing the number of others. Notice that the overarching priority is abstract, it cannot be measured how well we shared with others what God had shared with us. However how many people are being reach is easily measured and as such is concrete.
Because it is easy for my head to work around concretes, the concrete priority was pushing me to ignore the real purpose and goal.
Easily the most common situation with this is results. I struggle the worst with not allowing results to become more important than other things.
To put it clearly, we prioritize what is coming out of what we do more than what we do. We feel unsuccessful when we don’t see results from what we do.
The big realization is that success in the Christian life is about obedience…not results or anything else!
Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” – [1Sa 15:22-23 NASB]
This means two things.
One we should be very vigilant in maintaining a correct focus and priority in our lives of obedience to God.
The second is that whenever we redefine our success in terms of anything else, we are living in rebellion to God.
This is incredibly encouraging. I would regularly slip into a habit of defining my success as a follower of Christ to the perceived success of the ministry I was engaged in. I would feel like results defined my success. This definition of success will always fall short as we have no control over the results of ministry, only God does. Because of this, along with our limited perspective, we may be ministering in a way that we will see no results. We must be content with obedience to God. Always check the obedience of your heart to God before anything else.
The application of this is that whenever you feel as if something is off in your life or ministry, you check your obedience:
- Is the primary act of your life worshiping God?
- Are you remaining open to His will through regular time spent with Him through a cultivation of spiritual disciplines?
- Is there anything He has revealed to you through His word, His Spirit, or His people that you are ignoring or refusing to incorporate into your life?