“Our culture tells us that success in life is based upon performance, position, and possessions. There are huge flaws in this mentality that lead to deep emotional brokenness. This mentality will lead us to base our self-worth upon our performance—we think if we perform well, we are successful, and if we perform poorly, we are a failure. Most who base their worth upon their performance struggle with shame and pride—shame because of supposed failures and pride because of supposed successes.
What if success in life has nothing to do with your performance but rather the depth of your knowledge of God?
The world’s mentality is the more you have, the more successful you are. It’s unfortunate that this worldly paradigm has hit the church culture too. Those with larger ministries are considered successful, and those with smaller ministries are considered less successful.
I want to point you to Moses’s leadership structure as a means of dismantling this nonsensical paradigm. God instructed Moses to appoint leaders over tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands. This means that certain leaders were specifically called to lead a group of ten while others were called to lead a group of a hundred and still others, groups of a thousand. Was the leader of a group of ten less successful than the leader of a thousand? Or are numbers a completely wrong standard by which to measure success? If the leader of ten is supposed to lead ten and is completely faithful in leading his ten, is he somehow unsuccessful because he only leads ten?
What a farce! His position as a leader of ten or ten thousand makes him no less or more successful to God. What does make him successful is his faithfulness and intimacy with God. Faithfulness is what determines a man’s position in the kingdom, not the numbers in his ministry sphere. A man is no more successful than who he is in God’s eyes.
When we are faithful to God in work, in marriage, and in parenting, then we experience true success. And our faithfulness in these areas is directly linked to whether or not we know Him in these areas. Whether or not we are “good” at them is secondary.
Ultimately we must come to grips with this: Success in life is not found in the amount of money you have, your status in society, your expertise as a parent or spouse, or any other human accomplishment. The goal of life is not to be naturally successful but to come to know God.
Success in life, then, is ultimately determined by the depth of your knowledge of God, for the more you know Him, the more you will become like Him. Success in life for the believer is what Jesus called an “abundant life.” Many have misunderstood this abundant life to be about possessions. However, Jesus never measured anyone’s success by the number or quality of their possessions.
Christ was clear: “One’s life does not consist in”—is not measured by—“the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). How, then, is the abundant life that Jesus promised measured? The abundant life is a life full of the knowledge of God. It’s not about how many things you possess but how much of God you possess.” Billy Humphrey, To Know Him(Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2013), Used by permission.
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