Success That Pleases God
The world’s philosophy of success defines purpose as excelling in a profession or acquiring fame and fortune. Personal success stories highlight people who have started from nothing but achieve their dreams through hard work and ingenuity. Successful entrepreneurs, famed athletes, doctors, or attorneys name a few professionals that we deem successful, and many humbly serve others and are successful. However, some people’s status and success may be superficial or contrary to the success that God desires. Therefore, we must interpret scripture correctly and bring balance to its principles. The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead, but it also tells us to be patient and wait on God. Do we work tirelessly to achieve success, or do we do something different from what the culture may suggest? Undoubtedly, the Bible gives us a recipe that balances these two ideas. Romans 12:1 indicates that we “be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Therefore, our thinking and way of doing things have to be weighed by God’s word when pursuing our purpose and valuing our success. If we do not balance the scales and work relentlessly to please God, we could still fail. Or maybe we strive to accomplish a goal that is shrouded in mystery and becomes a difficult pursuit of grappling for that which seems unattainable. I drowned in a sea of doubt and was tormented by the thought that I had failed God when I strove for success. Like me, fulfilling purpose can become a complicated query and ever ending cycle to win no matter the cost; when we do it in our strength or pursue dreams that are not His plan for our life.
The Bible outlines a simple path and provides an understanding of how to fulfill our God-given purpose without striving. John 8:29 says, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29 NIV) Christians fulfill purpose by doing what pleases God. This takes courage and the ability to hear what the Father asks, share His love, and bring souls into the kingdom in the profession or pathway that He opens for you. Your purpose could be serving in a homeless shelter or speaking to an individual in a parking lot. Or maybe sharing the gospel with a person sitting in your salon chair or becoming a missionary in a remote part of the world. Successful purpose could include teaching in a classroom, being a doctor, preaching the gospel, or building homes for the disenfranchised. If you are doing what pleases Him—you are fulfilling your purpose. But remember to be fluid. Do not allow your perception to paint the picture of what your vision will look like? See it vaguely but allow God to paint it.
Matthew 4:4 says, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” [Mat 4:4 NIV] Thus, God speaks to us daily, and He nudges us to fulfill His will in the earth by asking us to do what He asks. Remember, purpose is fluid, and it can change from day to day, month to month, or year to year according to how God leads us. It requires us to hear His voice and courageously step out and do what He communicates. Release the pressure of endeavoring to achieve status in the eyes of men, but humbly resign to accomplish what the Father requests of you. It may not be glamourous or defined as successful in the world’s view; however, if He is pleased, that is all that matters!