A Biblical Perspective of Success -Part One
Rom 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
2nd Cor 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
In the context, it is clear that both scriptures are referring to Christians, not unbelievers. The Judgment Seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1Jn 2:2) and our faith in Him (Jn 3:16). All of our repented sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Rom 8:1). We should not look at the Judgment Seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us in heaven’s Kingdom for our lives on earth.
- God invites everyone to be great in His kingdom. He put within each of us a longing to be great and successful. We cannot repent of this longing, but we should just repent of seeking after it in a worldly way.
Whoever breaks…these commandments (of the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle of Mat 5-7)…shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom… (Mt. 5:19)
- There is much confusion, pain, and disillusionment related to what a great and successful life is. We need a biblical definition of what success is. Our humanistic culture wrongly defines success in terms of receiving recognition from people and being in a position of influence with great finances.
- God invites us to greatness without regard to our outward achievements or the size of our ministry impact. What God will reward is actually based on the development of our heart in love, meekness, and revelation. No one is born with these things, we must realign our priorities to get a prayer life to keep our naturally cold heart before the fire of His Word and Spirit.
- Some Christians think that everyone gets the same reward in heaven, however in Mat 13, the parable of the sower, Jesus says some will get 30, some 60 and some 100-fold return in their works on the earth, in letting the Word be watered in the soil of their innerman, by the Holy Spirit, that they would bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. The fruitful Spirit-filled ministry of love.
- Also 1 Cor 15 talks about the saints having different levels of glory, based on their works related to love. Most of us only have small and few things to be faithful of, but to whom much is given, much is required.
- We are accountable for the sphere of our influence. Mat 16:27 “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
- Let’s ask God for a BIG vision of His love in our lives. We don’t want to be in heaven and look back with regret.
1. We are to focus on being great in His sight rather than in the sight of men.
2. The greatness is based on our heart responses not on natural giftings and resources.
3. It will not be fully manifest until the age to come, after Jesus’ return.
- God gave each person an assignment that will lead to their greatness with eternal rewards. This is based on the capacities that He gave each mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. We will be rewarded according to what God entrusted to us. We are not accountable for what we do not have. Some have despair over what they do not have, and so sadly, they neglect to use what they do have.
- If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (1 Cor. 3:14)
The definition of a great and successful life is found in doing God’s will and in hearing Jesus say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” All can succeed in their God-given assignment.
Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord… (Mt. 25:21) Most people are only given a few things to steward, and the biggest one is growing the Word in their heart by the Spirit.
In the parable of the faithful steward (Mt. 25:14-30), Jesus called us to focus on three things: to walk in the grace to be faithful (diligence) and good (motives) with a servant spirit (humility) in our life assignment even when it is difficult (v. 24) and small (v. 21).
- Good points to the goals and motivations with which things are done. It refers to the sincere intentions to love God and people and to do God’s will in each area of our life.
- Faithful emphasizes the diligence in our work. It refers to the follow-through in our intentions to do good in the face of pressure, difficulty, mundaneness, and temptation. To be considered faithful requires that we are consistent for years. Our best faithfulness is flawed, but His evaluation of it is “human friendly” as He edits our life by grace.
- Servant refers to the willingness to deny our personal agenda, honor, and comfort. Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant (Mat 20:26).
One stumbling block to a life of greatness is that the pathway to it is to be diligent and humble in context to smallness with difficulty. We imagine that we would be faithful and humble if God gave us big and easy things to do.
We must continually re-align ourselves to greatness and success on God’s terms as defined by Jesus. He calls us to greatness that is based on a life focused on doing good, being faithful, and living with a servant spirit in context to smallness and difficulty.
Many of us know the ‘love’ chapter of 1 Cor 13. Works done without love will not profit us in heaven. We also know the first and second commandment loving God, and loving others. What is so crucial to understand here, is the principle of 1 Jn 4:18 “We love, because He first loved us.” Meaning that our love is anointed best, when we are filled with His love. When we are focused on feeding our hearts of the love of the Father and the love of Jesus. It takes the Holy Spirit and hunger to experience God’s love. The Holy Spirit was given to us to anoint the Scriptures of God’s love and open our hearts to receive of it. Like all things of God, hunger is required. For more on praying Scripture see “Deeper Prayer.”
In pursuing God and the things of Holy Spirit “Hunger is required.”
-See James 5:16 (The fervent prayer of a righteous man makes much available to him). (James 4:2 You do not have because you do not ask).
Mark 4:24 (The measure you use, is the measure you will receive).
Mat 5:6 (Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.)
Jn 7:37 (“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”)
Mat 11:12 (“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”)