Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Do You Judge Success?

Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Insights: We live in a world fascinated with numbers and reports.  I remember working at a television station and we moved to a new accounting software because it could generate better reports.  And these reports are the world’s way of judging success or failure.  I was recently in Florida and heard one of the presidential candidates promise 750,000 jobs to Florida if he were elected.  Why would he promise such a thing he cannot keep, because unemployment numbers determine success in the world system.  Again, this methodology of determining success has crept into the church as well.  A church’s numbers are down, then the pastor must be a failure.  If he is a failure, then we need to respond like the world does and get a new pastor.  God’s predominant measuring stick is not numbers, but rather the heart.  As a way of illustration I reference today’s Scripture passage.  If the standard of measurement is just numbers, then God Himself is a failure, because more will spend eternity in hell than will in heaven.  So, from a purely numbers stand point, God’s method of redeeming a world to Himself is not a very good one.  But what is it that allows one to enter through the narrow gate?  The answer is a heart transplant.  God wants to make us new and give us a new heart if we will but receive Jesus Christ, His Son, as our Savior and Lord.  God’s primary method of judging success is transformation.  J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “You are as close to God as you want to be.”  In other words, God’s plan for transformation is dependent upon you surrendering your will and ways to Him.  As long as the world system is our only or even predominant standard, then we truly do not understand redemption.  If numbers of those attending are the only standards, then Noah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul and even Jesus would be considered failures in the modern world.  But oh how wrong we would be for their hearts belonged to the King!

  1. By what standard do you judge success?
  2. Have you come to realize you are as close to Jesus as you want to be?
Prayer: Father, forgive me for placing so much emphasis on the things of this world.  Help my heart to seek hard after You and grow in Your matchless grace.  Amen. 

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