Philippians 2:3-11 (ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(This is part 7 of our multipart study on Success in the Bible)
Success. What have we learned? That success is defined by how you measure it, and the perspective you measure it from.
Too often we all measure success by our own or others standards. It is natural for us, it is even encouraged by all those around us. It is taught in our schools, taught by the examples that we all see around us, especially in mainstream media.
So how should we measure our success? Success is measured by God’s measurement.
In the verses above written by Paul, our topic is addressed perfectly – ‘do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit’. Selfish ambition is when we measure success by our own standards (selfish – self centered), or when we try to meet or exceed the standards of others (often termed ‘ambition’). Interestingly, the older English translations such as the King James translate this as ‘vain glory’. How fitting! There is glory indeed in worldly success, but it is all vain – it is all for nothing.
And then Paul completes our example – again with Jesus. Jesus who is in very nature God, a member of the trinity, the very God who created this world, and in all things sustains this world (Colossians 1:17). How was Jesus successful in all things? By humbling Himself like a servant, and doing the Fathers will.
What perspective should we see our success from? We need to measure it from God’s perspective.
Don’t measure success by your own standards – that is foolish and self centered. Don’t measure yourself compared to others – we are all different, created specifically by God for a purpose, and each purpose is different from the others’.
Romans 12:3-5 (ESV)
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another
Find God’s will for your life and do it – that is the true measure of biblical success, exampled in the life of Jesus, and offered to us all.
At the start of this series I suggested you take a look at your life and define to yourself what you are striving towards, how you personally define success. Take some time and see how that measures up with God’s standard. Maybe you are right on course, maybe you need a little fine tuning. Maybe you are going the wrong way all together. Even if you are totally off track, what matters is that you find out what Gods plan for your life is – and act on it.
The past is gone, your sins are forgiven – go forward in the grace God gives you and be successful – in Him.