I think it is safe to say that all of us would like to live a successful life. When we come to the end of our life, wouldn’t we all like to look back at it and know that it had purpose and meaning and was not a waste?
Whether we consciously or unconsciously do so, we all strive for success in different areas. Maybe it’s at work or school or within our family. Maybe we want to create art, music, or a book that touches others’ lives. Maybe we want to lead a social revolution to address injustice in this world. Or maybe we want to know and understand God and His plan for our life.
How Do We Measure Success?
While we can all likely connect over our desire for a successful life, how we measure success will differ among us. One person will look at the wealthy businessman or woman and view them as successful. However, another person will look at a teacher who makes a meager salary yet exerts great influence over the younger generation and see that person as successful. Our ways of measuring success are often so different!
What if there were a way to harmonize our differing measurements? Have you ever considered what the Bible says about success? Because in the end, isn’t it God’s standard of success (and only His) that will truly matter? What is the only Bible verse about success that matters?
The End of the Matter
Well, actually I think there are two Bible verses about success that hold the key to a successful life; and if you follow the “recipe” for success outlined in both these verses, you will be able to say that you have lived a purposeful, meaningful life. The first Bible verse about success that really matters is this one:
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Solomon was extremely wealthy and had nearly unlimited resources, which he used to explore all the possible sources of happiness and pleasure. The book of Ecclesiastes outlines his conquests as he searched for the key to success in diverse areas. And this verse tells us his conclusion.Ecclesiastes 12:13
Solomon didn’t find success in his wealth, women, or power. Instead, he concluded that true purpose and happiness is only found in knowing God and following His instructions for our lives. This is the “recipe” for success.
While you and I doubtless do not have unlimited resources to use to explore the numerous avenues for happiness and meaning, we can rely on Solomon’s wisdom and experience that is recorded for us. If at the end of our life we can look back and say that we feared or “had reverential awe of” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fear) God and kept His commandments, then we have lived a successful life.
Finish the Race
The second Bible verse about success that I think is one that really matters is 2 Timothy 4:7:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Paul knew he was about to die and wrote this reflection of his life. He followed it by also writing,
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
Unlike Solomon, Paul did not have wealth or prestige. Actually, he had given up his high position among the Jews to follow Jesus. In worldly terms, he was poor and lowly. Nevertheless, Paul considered his life a success because he had lived it for God, remaining faithful until death.
Earthly Vs. Spiritual
If we remain faithful to God and are rewarded in the next life with a crown of righteousness, can we not say that our earthly life was a success? However, if we spend our time and energy chasing wealth, status, or influence and do not receive that crown in Heaven, our earthly life will have been a failure. Just as it is written in Matthew 16:26:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
This verse teaches us the importance of making our spiritual health a priority. There is nothing more important and more precious than a soul. While this earthly life is temporary, our spiritual life is eternal. Therefore, which realm should get our attention, time, and energy?
So, actually maybe that’s three Bible verses that matter about success. They give straightforward instructions for achieving true success in your life. Are you fearing God and keeping His commandments? Are you running the race of faith in the Lord Jesus? Do you have a Heavenly crown to look forward to when your life ends? If not and you would like to know more, we’d love to help you!