What is it that is going to lead to a life that is truly worth living both in the eyes of God and in your eyes?
Chapter 8 of Victory Over the Darkness lists 8 words that speak of a life worth living. I would like to focus on one of those 8 words: Success.
Success: Key Scripture 2 Peter 1:2-10 Also: John 15:1-11; Psalm 1
What is success? Unfortunately, success can reflect whatever a person deems as his goal. For example, if someone has pursued the goal of becoming a millionaire then he would be considered successful if he achieved his goal of becoming worth a million dollars. If you only think of self-defined success, then it can be as meaningless as holding the record for the number of super bowls you’ve attended or winning your club championship in golf or tennis. The point is that self-defined success is somewhat meaningless since it implies that there is no objective standard for a worthy life.
For the child of God, success is not self-defined. God has set a path (or a race) and success is using your life to complete the path that God has laid out for you. Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:12
Philippians 3:12 (NASB95)
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Paul understood that Jesus had laid hold of him for a purpose. Paul’s passion was to discover and embrace the purpose that Jesus had for his life. There are two concepts of success in the Christian Life.
- Becoming the person God has created you to be
- Influencing the people God has called you to influence
- Doing the work God has called you to do
2 Peter 1:2-11 speaks of the journey of becoming the person God has created you to be. It focuses on the cultivation of the character of Christ in your life. This journey has been the most challenging and rewarding of my life. One principle I have learned is that inward success is a necessary foundation for external success.
2 Peter 1:2-4 speaks of what God has done to equip you for the journey.
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
God has given you an infinite supply of his grace and peace: his desire is that your experience of his provision would be multiplied every day for the rest of your life. He has given his divine power to provide everything you need for life (overcoming the challenges and distractions of life) and godliness (learning to respond to situations and people in a godly manner). He has give you his precious and magnificent promises so that as you apply them you will escape the pull of the world and become a partaker of his nature. I would encourage you to memorize and meditate on these powerful verses. The more you focus on them, the more you will embrace the truth that you have everything you need for life and godliness!
2 Peter 1:5-7 focuses on your challenge to build on the foundation of your faith the character qualities of moral excellence (integrity or virtue), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Think about how your life would change if these character qualities were yours and growing! Think about the influence that would flow from your life!
2 Peter 1:8-11 focuses on what God promises will be true of you if you are diligent in developing these character qualities: basically the promise is success!
Success is also about influencing the people that God has called you to influence. If you are married, think first of all of the influence that God wants you to have in your family. This is more important than how much money you will make, or how successful you will be in your career (even if you’re a pastor). What influence do you want to have on your wife? What influence do you want to have on your children? You better answer this question because, whether you like it or not, you are having an influence!
Colossians 1:28–29 (ESV)
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
In Colossians 1:28-29, Paul shares his passion. He wants to present every person complete (mature) in Christ. He wants to help every person God brings into his life to become the person that God has created him to be. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul says that he loved the Thessalonians so much that he was willing to share not only the gospel, but also his own life!
Success in life is not enduring people, nor is it manipulating or controlling people. It is building people – encouraging them to become all that God has created them to be!
Finally, God has a job for you to do and he has given you unique gifts to do that job. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
1 Peter 4:10–11 (ESV)
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
God has created you with gifts, talents, and passions. He has used your life experiences to equip you. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to discover the race that God has set before YOU. (Hebrews 12:1-3).
This is an overview. I’m going to add two more posts to this week. One is a sheet that goes into more details on 2 Peter 1:2-11 and the second is a worksheet to help you determine the race that Jesus wants you to run. Please take time to download these and apply them to your life.
To stir your thinking
- How can you apply diligence to the cultivation of godly character in your life? What specifically can you do to grow in conforming your character to the character of Jesus Christ?
- Where are you weak when you consider the list of character qualities in 2 Peter 1:5-7?
- Who does God wants you to influence for his kingdom?
- What influence do you want to have?
- Begin working on the question, what is the race that Jesus has set before you?