I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of everyone telling me their 5, 10 or even 50 tips for success, aka fame and fortune. As Christians I think that our view of success should be totally different from that of the secular world’s, yet often we buy into the same values. And as we plant churches and work to disciple our congregations we need to seriously think about how we model success.
Think about it. How did Jesus model success? Certainly not by becoming rich and famous. Definitely not in the ways that all the business gurus tell us we will find success. He modelled a different form of success that had him rubbing shoulders with outcasts, living without a home and finally dying the death of a criminal. Yet his was the most successful life in the history of humanity.
So what is Jesus’ formula for success? Here are my five top tips for a really successful Christ-centred life.
- Get Your Priorities Straight: Jesus had a very different view of success. He was not concerned about personal glory and fame. He was passionate about bringing the Kingdom of God into being and wants us to be too. John 6:38, 39 says: I have come down from heaven not to pursue My own agenda but to do what He desires. I am here on behalf of the Father who sent Me. He sent Me to care for all He has given Me so that nothing and no one will perish. In the end, on the last day, He wants everything to be resurrected into new life (The Voice).
- Die to self: Fruitfulness come not from seeking our own fulfillment but from being willing to die so that others can flourish. John 12:24 says: I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest (The Voice).
- Share generously: 1 John 3:17 links the theme of dying to self with the need to be generous especially toward those at the margins – not exactly Wall Street’s view of success: We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters (The Voice). If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? (The Voice).
- Take Time for Prayer: Jesus never made major decisions without spending at least a night in prayer. He inaugurated his ministry with 40 days in the wilderness. [Tweet “”How much more “successful” would we be if we had a fraction of Jesus’ commitment to prayer?””]
- Listen to the Spirit and be willing to let go: Jesus often walked away from the crowds, not towards them – usually inspired by hours in prayer. He alienated his followers by doing all kinds of things they disapproved of: walking through Samaria, talking to women, eating with tax collectors. He crowned it all by walking away from the most successful healing ministry in the history of the world to walk toward Jerusalem and the cross – a very deliberate step away from the power structures of the world.
Success for followers of Christ, more than anything, means doing the will of God, and that may not mean planting the biggest church in town.
So think about it. What kind of success are you striving for as you plant your church and disciple your congregation? Are there ways you need to change to model a more Christ-centred form of success?
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