According to the world’s standards, Jesus was not a success.
He left a good career as a carpenter to become an itinerant preacher. He did not have an important job, big salary, or fancy house. He did not find favor with the religious authorities. A lot of people followed him for a while, but when he was executed like a common criminal, all but a few deserted him.
But from another perspective, Jesus was the most successful person to ever walk on this planet.
He did what no one else could do. He showed us the way of salvation. He was the way of salvation.
What was Jesus’s definition of success?
Jesus had a definition of success for himself: to do the will of the Father and to bear witness to the truth. This he did.
In this episode, I explore what Jesus considered to be a successful life for himself and his followers. It’s about obedience to God and putting into practice the things Jesus taught us.
Worldly success vs. spiritual success
The world has many definitions of success: lots of money, a great job, a fancy car, an expensive house, popularity and fame. The list goes on.
But all these concepts of success are based on things that are temporary. If you are rich, you can lose your money. If you have a great job, you might get fired. If you have a fancy car or an expensive house, they could be stolen or destroyed. You get the picture.
The kind of success Jesus talked about was much more substantial because it was spiritual. Spiritual success is not about how many things you have but how much love you express, how much humility and obedience to God are in your life.
My personal definition of success
True success is discerning, and accomplishing the specific purpose God has for you, to answer the call God has on your life. No one else can do what God has called you to do.
My prayer for you is that you discover God’s specific call on your life. If you don’t know what that might be, I suggest you listen to a previous episode, How to Discover Your Spiritual Purpose in Life (episode 19).
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here.
Have a great week.
P.S. Can you think of someone who might enjoy this episode? Please share it with them.
Bible references in this episode:
John 18:36 ESV
36 My kingdom is not of this world.
John 5:30 ESV
30 I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 8:50 ESV
50 I do not seek my own glory;
John 18:37 ESV
37 For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
John 19:30 ESV
30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Mark 1:15 ESV
15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Luke 9:23 ESV
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Matthew 7:24, 25 ESV
24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
Matthew 22:37-39 ESV
37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 7:15-20 ESV
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
John 13:35 ESV
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Matthew 23:25-28 ESV
25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Luke 12: 16-21 ESV
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,
17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
John 17: 3 ESV
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.