By Justin Monts
How do you define success? Some define success as making a lot of money and marrying a good-looking man or woman. With God, however, success is measured in a much different way.
The Lord instructed Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Josh. 1:8). True success is an approval that based on obedience to God (Acts 10:34-35). Having the greatest riches or the most popularity is meaningless in view of eternity. Are we living by the Book? That is the question to ask. If we are, then we are successful.
Among the Corinthians, we read of some less fortunate but, nonetheless, successful Christians. “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are” (1 Cor. 1:26-28). Sometimes, rather than act jealous toward those who “have it all,” we should just be thankful for what we lack. Those who were “unpopular” were more inclined to obey the gospel. On the other hand, the rich had to be reminded “not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, to do good, to be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Tim 6:17-19; cf. Luke 6:24). Such was not the case with the poor. In contrast, God had chosen them (Jas. 2:5).
When we stand before God in the judgment it will not matter what the world thought of us. How successful we were according to its standard is meaningless! Did we obey the Lord? This is the question to dwell upon and consider. Not long ago I came across a shirt which read, “He who dies with the most toys, still dies.” And when all is said and done that is the plain truth (Mark 8:36). Our condition before God alone determines success or failure (Eccl. 12:13-14). May each of us see things as God would have us to see them.
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