Success = Obedience?

To get a bit personal, I’m realizing that I might have an unbiblical view of success. I care about grades, what people think about me, hitting deadlines, finishing tasks, fulfilling responsibilities, exceeding expectations, etc. I’m not convinced that those are absolutely and unequivocally bad things, but I’m wondering if they’re healthy ways of defining success.

Larry suggested last night that success equals obedience. The only thing we can ask of ourselves in this Christian life is, am I taking the next obedient step? That is, we can’t measure our achievements and determine from that whether or not we’re on the right track. The only think we can ask is whether or not what we are doing right now, at this moment, in this place, with this task, is in line with obeying God. For instance, it’s not whether working at the bed and breakfast making beds was the best thing that I could do or whether I was doing the work according to the manager’s expectations but whether or not I was obeying God by working there and making the bed the best that he’s enabled me to do. Or, it’s not whether I succeeded as a Spanish major or not but whether or not I was listening and obeying God in my studies.

Do you think he’s right? Do you think the best and really only measure for success is obedience?

One more word of clarification– I am NOT asking if salvation = obedience. I am NOT saying that our salvation is dependent upon obedience. What I am saying is that in this life, is my only measure of success to be whether or not I am obeying God?

Here are some scriptures to take into consideration…

“I (God) will surely bless you (Abram), and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:17-18

“Now therefore, if you (Israel) will indeed obey my (God’s) voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6

“For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD;” Joshua 5:6

“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

“And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:32

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

“Although he (Jesus) was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…” Hebrews 5:8-9

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” 1 John 5:2


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