Whether it is in our work, our home life, or our Christian walk, it’s easy to become overly interested in goals. We can become caught up in measuring success by cultural standards. We turn to gimmicks and fads to get “results” when living the Christian life seems difficult or when the gospel seems to fail us in the here and now. We easily forget how Christ measures success in this life.
As C. S. Lewis reminded his friend Arthur Greeves, “It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that), but to do right. When you have done so, the rest lies with God.” This is something we must constantly remind ourselves of, but there is more God’s Word tells us.
The Bible outlines a very different vision of success. The book of Revelation is a dramatic picture of true success:
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Rev. 12:11)
The new life we have by the blood of Christ is ultimately how we must measure victory in this age. True success, as God measures things, is the only path to true joy, even if it leads to our death (Ps. 28:7). Our joy, our victory, and our success are not measured by the things that seem powerful or potent. They are measured by the cross.
God’s grace seems like weakness and foolishness in this world, but in reality the weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men. Any success we have is only because of the work of Christ done on our behalf. Joy in Christ by the power of his Spirit is true success in this life.
Christ’s victory is seen in us as we are conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). And this “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Let us have this mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, so we might run this race with joy!