We all want success—to feel like we’ve accomplished something and done it well. But because success ties to personal goals and desires, there is a discrepancy between what people consider success. Not only do people in general have different expectations, but individuals can have mixed or conflicting desires related to those expectations. The question isn’t simply, “What is success?” but also, “Who defines success?”
For Christians, it’s the classic Sunday school answer, “Jesus!” But how do we take the goals and desires of Christ and apply them to the work in front of us? It’s a challenge, but it can be done…and it will look different for everyone. That is what is so hard. There is no objective standard for success contrary to what our world tries to convince us of.
For example, suppose Jesus impresses on you in your devotions that he desires you to grow in faith as you serve him. (see Luke 7:9) Now let’s say you’ve been working all morning on a presentation that will decide whether you get an assignment you have been hoping for. Success in your mind would be for the meeting to go smoothly, for your presentation to be accepted, and for you to be selected to head the project. So how do you pray? How does Christ see success in this situation? What will cause you to depend on him in faith? Can you entertain the thought that he might be glorified even if you don’t get the assignment? What if he wants someone in the office to see how you deal with disappointment? God may be up to something entirely different than you expect…expect it!
So again, how do you pray? Let’s go back to Sunday school for that one too. “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NIV)
Are you asking God to help you define success or are you using the metrics of the world to create your definition? Ask God to give you new perspective on success this weekend and see how he changes your focus in the coming weeks.