WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE FOR THE CHRISTIAN?

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Books, Christianity, Education, Family, History, Life, News, Parenting, Quotes, Uncategorized

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

When I think about the principle of success, progress comes to mind on the subject of success and the Christian. Early in my faith walk I discovered this verse that reveals God’s expectation for the Christian with regard to progress after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I am saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, so I do not have to do anything to earn, or receive salvation. After salvation, Romans 4 teaches that the promise God spoke to Abraham, which the book of Galatians chapter 3 says we are heirs as the seed of Abraham, comes by faith and grace. The book of James teaches that faith without works (actions) is dead (James 2). So when 2 Peter 1 encourages us to add to our faith, it is explaining the responsibility of growing, developing and progressing in our faith relationship with Christ in order to experience the promise of Christ of the fullness of life He came for us to have.

We cannot develop the attributes mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-8 on our own, but with deliberate consistent actions involving: 1) Prayer, 2) Bible reading, 3) Scripture meditation & memorization, and 4) Application of God’s word, we allow the Holy Spirit to grow within us to produce the qualities and spiritual attributes described in 2 Peter 1 that need to be added to our faith. Another way to look at it: A) God’s word informs us of what to do, how to do it God’s way, who we are in Him and, B) the Holy Spirit helps us accomplish what God commands and expects (grace).

Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” As we yield our hearts and minds to God, demonstrating a sincere willingness to abide by His word and live by His authority, the Holy Spirit will help us to both want to and follow through with doing what God requires. Psalm 1:1-3 explains it like this, ” Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. he is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” NIV

God desires that we prosper spiritually just as we desire to prosper personally, professionally, economically and in relationships. This is why Jesus asked the proverbial question, ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?’ The teaching of material/financial prosperity without the application of soul prosperity is an unbalanced theology of the subject of prosperity. If a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, then heaven’s perspective of success and prosperity extends well beyond what one can accomplish from the perspective, or standards, of this world. In fact, a lot of what God expects of me and requires for me to do as a Christian cannot be achieved without His Spirit at work in, through and around me.

Success as a Christian, from the perspective of scripture, is measured by how much my life imitates Christ. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6 NIV “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” – 1 John 3:9b NIV Success as a Christian is the continuous measured progress, growth, development of Christ’s person manifested through me as I learn to abide in Him and allow His word to abide in me (see John 15).

May God bless you and help you to add to your faith the qualities and attributes of Christ, by the internal work of His Holy Spirit within you and through you, so you may encounter the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

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