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5 minutes reading time (918 words)

"How God Defines Success"

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

Matthew 6:33

Most sports enthusiasts agree that the game of baseball is the most difficult of all sports. When you think of the definition of success you come to understand that success is a relative term, especially in baseball. The success metrics for which a baseball players' career are measured by are significantly lower than compared to other sports. Are you aware that a major league baseball player who gets a hit just 30% of the time throughout his career, that's 3 hits for every 10 at bats will more than likely end up in Cooperstown, baseball's Hall of Fame? Yes, that's right, if a professional baseball player fails to get a hit 7 out of 10 times, not counting a base on balls or sacrifices (contact with the ball that ends in an out but advances or scores a runner) for his career, that player will most likely be voted as one of the best players of all time! All time! In no other sport, as in much of life, is so much failure rewarded with so much admiration. 

That is unless you consider the thief on the Cross crucified next to Jesus. A complete and utter failure in life, found guilty and put to death for his crimes. And just moments before he breathes his last breath he cries out to God and Jesus who Himself was moments away from His own death (albeit, Jesus was innocent and was dying so that we, like the thief in this story could be forgiven and experience eternal life) responds, "today you will be with Me in paradise." In baseball thinking the thief struck out every time during his earthly career and right before he dies he strikes out one last time and scores a home run in the process! It really is possible.

I read a quote yesterday that said, "successful people do consistently what others do occasionally" and immediately I praised God for who He is. Wouldn't we all love to have said of us, "they are the same yesterday, today and forever" but that title is reserved for God alone. There is only One who is perfect in all His ways and that is why we can both rely upon and rest in Him. As I considered that quote yesterday a couple of things stood out to me that both encouraged and motivated me. First, the quote said, "successful people do consistently…" it didn't say, "successful people do perfectly." That encouraged me because I am fully aware of the lack of consistency in my life in a variety of areas (I strike out a lot) which would have discouraged me had not the Word of God been quickened to my mind.

The apostle Paul writes regarding God's idea of success when he writes regarding the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Living a Spirit controlled and empowered life is not only God's will for our lives, it is also the means to the end, a picture of what a successful life looks like. The fruit of God's Spirit cannot be achieved by direct pursuit, the fruit of God's Spirit in our lives is a by-product of remaining connected to Jesus, by abiding in Him. Jesus said it best, "a part from Me you can do nothing."

God's definition of success is measured then exclusively by our surrender to His will not our personal achievements. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray His instructions were clear, "Not my will but Thine be done." Mark 8:36-37 records Jesus own words that shed more light on the contrast between the worlds idea of success and Gods when Jesus said, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" In God's economy it's not "he who has the gold makes the rules" nor is it, "he who dies with the most toys wins." Something that financial advisor Ron Blue once shared comes to mind when I consider success in the life of a child of God. Mr. Blue said, "I measure the success of each year not by how much money I make but rather by how much money my wife and I give away." He was speaking of his financial resources. God wants us to be fruitful in every facet of our lives. After all, the word perfect means "complete or whole."

God's idea of success Pastor Greg Laurie explains is the worlds system upside down. The first one to the bottom wins! The greatest among us is the servant and Jesus is the servant of us all. Jesus Christ is both the model and the means to a successful life. Yes, the statement "successful people do consistently what others do occasionally" is true. Those of us who place our hope and trust in Jesus will regardless of how many times we may strike out will in the end have our names added to God's Hall of Faith because its…

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Ephesians 2:8-10


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Wednesday, 23 January 2019