Success Story

“Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.”—Psalm 31:23 (NKJV)
How do you define success? What constitutes a “win” in your book? Is it measurable by a certain number; a dollar amount, a head count, or a ratio?
Hold your answer for a few moments because we’re going to compare our definition of success with God’s. After all, isn’t it God’s way of doing things that matters most? And shouldn’t we seek to model our measure of success after His?
The psalmist gives us a glimpse of God’s idea of success, and the flashpoint is found in the world “faithful.” Notice how God promises to preserve those who are faithful and how faithfulness is juxtaposed to pride. He’s honoring faithfulness in an extraordinary way.
In fact, when we study God’s Word from cover to cover, we find that He bases success on faithfulness, not a number. Numerically speaking, Jeremiah was unsuccessful. Not many repented and returned to God as a result of his ministry. The world would count him a failure . . . but not God.
We see another example of success defined by faithfulness in Timothy. As Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he zeroes in on Timothy’s faithfulness as a co-laborer in Christ: “You know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:22 NKJV).
Here’s what’s interesting: Paul doesn’t go into detail about Timothy being a gifted communicator or possessing a charismatic personality—things that we might associate with ministerial success. Instead, Paul points to the man’s faithfulness. Timothy was where God wanted him to be and was doing what God wanted him to do. That was enough for Paul because he understood that faithfulness is God’s standard for success.
This simple truth needs to be enough for us, as well. We need to be people who base our sense of value on faithful obedience to what God wants. That should be our focus when we wake up each morning—just as it was for Jeremiah and Timothy.
Results and outcomes are in the Lord’s hands, and they don’t ultimately determine success. But persistent obedience to His will is our responsibility, and the true measure of success is hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . .” (Matthew 25:21 NKJV).
DIG: How does God define success?

DISCOVER: How does God’s definition often differ from your own?
DISPLAY: What are some ways that you can redefine success to align with God’s view?

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.