Success means different things to different people. Our culture often equates success with wealth, fame, power, and status. However, as Christians, we must look at success through the lens of God’s Word. The Bible provides timeless principles for achieving true, lasting success. This blog post will explore a biblical perspective on success and provide key takeaways for living a successful Christian life.
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
As Christians, our primary motivation should not be getting more stuff. So how do we define success? The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” True success involves accomplishing the purpose for which God created us – to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. As C.S. Lewis said:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism summarizes the purpose of human existence as “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” This should be our definition of success.
- True success involves accomplishing our God-given purpose, not worldly ideals of fame and fortune.
- Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy relationship with Him forever. This is true success.
- Life is more than material possessions and accomplishments. Don’t make idols of earthly things.
A Biblical Framework for Success
To understand true success, we must start with who God is and who we are in relation to Him. The Bible teaches several key truths:
1. God is the sovereign, holy, and loving Creator. He reigns over all (Psalm 103:19) and created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). His nature is perfect, moral purity.
2. Humans are God’s image-bearers, made to reflect His glory through righteous living (Ephesians 4:24). We are eternal beings designed for intimate relationship with God.
3. Sin has damaged God’s image in us. Our rebellion cut us off from relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2). We cannot achieve righteousness on our own.
5. God’s ultimate plan is to restore creation and dwell with redeemed humanity forever. Our eternal destiny is living in resurrected bodies on a restored Earth in loving relationship with God, one another, and all creation (Revelation 21:1-4)
With this biblical framework in mind, we can now explore principles for true success.
Principles for True Success
The Bible is our handbook for living successfully. Here are several biblical principles for true, lasting success:
1. Seek Intimate Relationship with God
Our highest purpose is knowing and loving God. Jesus said the greatest commandment is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37-38). To succeed, we must pursue close relationship with God through prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and listening to His Spirit.
2. Glorify God in All You Do
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). God created us for His glory. We glorify Him by reflecting His character, obeying His Word, praising Him, and bearing spiritual fruit. Our work, ministry, family – everything should aim at magnifying His greatness.
3. Walk in Holiness and Obedience
Sin blocks our intimacy with God. To succeed, we must put sin to death (Colossians 3:5), renew our minds (Romans 12:2), and walk in obedience to God’s Word. The Holy Spirit empowers us to produce His fruit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22).
4. Invest in Eternal Rewards
Jesus urges us to store up heavenly treasures rather than earthly wealth (Matthew 6:19-21). We must steward resources, time, and talents well since God will evaluate our works and reward us accordingly (2 Corinthians 5:10). Wise investment in eternity brings true success.
5. Love Others Deeply
The second greatest commandment is loving people as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Success involves maintaining unity (Ephesians 4:3), bearing others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2), forgiving wrongs (Ephesians 4:32), and meeting practical needs (James 2:14-17).
6. Make Disciples of Christ
Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). True success includes sharing the gospel, discipling other believers, training faithful leaders, and planting churches that multiply. These spiritual investments produce eternal rewards.
Avoiding False Definitions of Success
Our culture promotes many false definitions of success that lead to frustration and emptiness. As Christians, we must reject unbiblical notions of success based on:
Wealth – Nowhere does Scripture equate financial prosperity with God’s blessing or spiritual maturity. Seeking wealth often leads to greed, destruction, and unfruitfulness (1 Timothy 6:9).
Status – Pursuing titles, prestige, and position feeds the sin of pride. Instead, Jesus calls us to lowliness and servanthood (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Popularity – Craving the applause and acclaim of men is futile, since all human glory fades. Only God’s approval secures our worth (2 Corinthians 10:18).
Pleasure – Living for comfort, leisure, and entertainment often produces self-indulgence. We are called to sacrifice, self-denial, and perseverance to run our race (Hebrews 12:1).
Achievement – Trying to validate ourselves through performance and accomplishments leads to burnout, emptiness, and tormenting comparison. Our worth is secure in who God says we are.
Independence – The “self-made man” is an American idol. But we are designed for wholehearted dependence on God. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
True success requires demolishing these cultural idols and embracing God’s definition – loving Him and others through pursuing intimate relationship with Christ.
Applying Biblical Success in Life and Ministry
Now let’s explore practical application for true success. God calls each of us to love Him and serve others in unique ways. Here are principles for stewarding your specific gifts and callings for maximum eternal impact:
Your Work – Work wholeheartedly as for the Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23). Seek to reflect Christ and advance Kingdom values through integrity, excellence, generosity, and compassion in your vocation.
Your Finances – View money as a tool for glorifying God, not acquiring treasures. Be radical in generosity, wise in stewardship, focused on eternity, and content with provision (Philippians 4:11-13).
Your Relationships – Nurture family and friendships for discipleship, not mere social pleasure. Model Christ-like love in the home. Maintain unity in the church. Be hospitable and share Jesus’ love.
Your Ministry – If in church leadership, shepherd God’s people with wisdom, humility, and care for souls. Resist temptation to build your own kingdom. Lead others to imitate Christ. Equip disciples for works of service.
Your Trials – When suffering hits, don’t view it as failure, but a tool for growth. Let hardship drive you closer to God and produce maturity and Christlike character. Keep an eternal perspective.
In all areas, pursue intimacy with Christ, invest for eternity, resist worldly myths of success, and express God’s love to people. Keep the Great Commission central to your life vision.
True success aligns our lives with God’s eternal purposes summed up in the Great Commandment and Great Commission. As we grow in intimacy with Christ, love others wholeheartedly, invest in the eternal rewards, and resist cultural myths of success, we will bear Kingdom fruit that brings glory to God. While the world’s definition is temporal, the biblical framework for success stands forever because it flows from God’s unchanging, authoritative Word. May the Lord bless you as you pursue His vision of true success to the glory of Christ!