I’m not one to toot my own horn (like ever) but I think that the title of this article asks a pretty unique question.
How do we as Christians define success?
Maybe it’s all a numbers game.
(It’s actually not).
Maybe we’re successful if we start a church and gain a certain number of members.
Maybe we’re successful if we evangelize like crazy and meet a weekly quota of 5-6 souls converted per week.
Maybe we’re successful if we start a blog and write about what we’ve learned from God to try and trick people into thinking we’re smart.
(Wait, I’m I talking about myself? Weird…)
No no no, Christian success, and therefore the best form of success anyone can hope to have, isn’t about what we gain or even by what we accomplish.
Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
To further explain this, let’s go to the Bible.
Matthew 16:24-25 reads,
24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25″For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Here’s the low down…
being a successful Christian isn’t about being willing to gain things like money or fame because you don’t have to believe in a god to want those kinds of things.
Being a successful Christian is about being willing to give up those kinds of things and deny yourself in the pursuit of God.
It’s a give not a take.
And this can be hard to accept for a lot of people.
I recently read on that a former British liberal leader recently stated while discussing the results of a survey taken on the subject,
“People don’t mind Christianity until you show any sign of actually believing in it”.
Let me tell you, this hit me like a truck.
But at the same time…
it makes so much sense.
Christianity isn’t about God giving us what we want or God allowing us to live our lives the way we want to live them.
It is literally and biblically the exact opposite.
A successful Christian isn’t determined by a person’s willingness to get things like wealth or notoriety.
It’s determined by his willingness to give all of those things up.
Yet let me make myself perfectly clear so that you won’t get any misunderstandings about what I mean when I say “willingness to give all of those things up”.
What I mean is… literally just that.
Don’t allow physical and replaceable things be the foundation of your dream of a happy life.
If you love God only because you believe that he will give you a nice house for believing in him you have not denied yourself.
God is not your reason for living, the gain of property is.
If you love God only because you believe that he will provide you with good friends who will always be there for you, it is not God you’re really after, just fellowship with good people.
A desire that you don’t have to be Christian to have.
If you love God only because you believe that he will protect you from all the hardships you hear about in other people’s lives, you don’t love God or the person of Jesus, you just run to him whenever you feel afraid so that as soon as your fear is gone, you be your own man again.
Property, wealth, friendship, protection, you don’t have to be Christian to want any of these things.
You don’t have to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus to want any of these things.
You don’t have to love God to want any of these things.
They are things that you want for yourself…
and God asks us to deny ourselves.
So where does that leave us?
It leaves us with nothing else to do but to lay down these things at the feet of God and give them to him completely because as it says in Matthew 16:24-25 it is ourselves that we must deny in order to follow after Jesus and it is our very lives that we must surrender completely if we wish to find life anew in the love of God.
I invite you now to search yourself.
Take a few minutes and ask yourself “why is it that I worship God? Do I only love him for the good that I believe he will give me? At this moment in my life, am I truly denying myself as Jesus asks?”
If you’re reading this, I wish I could be there with you because there are 100s of questions I could ask in order for you to get the breakthrough that I’m hoping for you.
But then again, you know yourself much better than I ever could.
So take a moment and ask yourself however many questions you need to ask in order for you to see what you need to do to love God for the sole reason that he loved you first and nothing else.
Not for money, not for fame, not for relationships, not for anything else but for the sole purpose that because God loved you so much that he gave his son for you, you ought to give him your all.
Christianity is not easy because Christian success is hard.
So search yourself and ensure that God is given the place in your heart that he has always deserved… all of it.
Do this and I promise you, you will look back on this single moment as the best decision you ever made.
Thanks for Reading, be blessed friends.