God Is Backward
Success is not what you’ve done compared to what others have done. Success is what you have done compared to what you were supposed to do. –Tony Evans
Have you noticed that God’s value system is radically different from ours?
In His kingdom, the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16). To be great in His kingdom, we must become servants (Matthew 20:11). The proud will be humbled; the humble will be exalted (Matthew 23:12). Those who mourn are blessed (Matthew 5:4). Only when we are weak are we in a position to be experience His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). And in order to truly live, we must die to ourselves (John 12:24).
There are many paradoxes like these in the Bible, so it shouldn’t surprise us that God doesn’t define success like we do. The world defines success as having a loaded bank account, receiving accolades, and having a fancy job title. Therefore, we admire movie stars, envy business tycoons, and worship star athletes.
Could it be that these people aren’t successful at all according to God’s definition?
God doesn’t consider the CEO of a Fortune 500 company a success just because of his position. A $120,000 Mercedes doesn’t impress Him. He doesn’t care if you make a name for yourself and are featured on Oprah. Instead, God says you are successful when you do with excellence what He has called you to do. Therefore, you can’t compare yourself to others to determine if you have been successful. Instead, God values your relationship with Him and the impact you make for Him.
Perhaps the best illustration of God’s perspective about success is His own Son. Jesus wasn’t born into a wealthy family with earthly fanfare; He was born in a stable among farm animals. His father was a hard-working carpenter in a small town. And, when Jesus chose his disciples, He didn’t select well-educated scholars, decorated military leaders, or astute businessmen. He chose common fishermen, a despised tax collector, and other ordinary guys. Even after His reputation grew and people wanted to crown Him as their leader, He chose the cross instead, a humiliating and disgraceful instrument of torture.
In spite of humble beginnings and a shameful death, Jesus was amazingly successful because He completed all that His Father sent Him to do (John 17:4). God’s value system is not at all like ours. God values humility and sacrifice, not wealth, fame, and beauty.
What are you doing to accomplish God’s purposes? Are you completing your God-given assignment? I encourage you to ask yourself each morning, “What will I do today to accomplish God’s plan? How will I move toward the mission He has given me?” Then you can experience true success.