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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Measure of True Success

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:1).


God is more interested in your faithfulness than He is in your accomplishments.


Our society is success-oriented. We love success stories. We even have television programs that exalt the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But God's standard for success is quite different. Unimpressed by our status or wealth, He looks instead for faithfulness to His will.


Paul understood that principle and diligently pursued his calling as an apostle - one of those unique men who were foundational to the church and who were recipients, teachers, and writers of the New Testament.


That was a high calling, and yet, judging from Paul's lifestyle, most people would hardly call him successful - having suffered imprisonments, beatings, death threats, shipwrecks, robberies, hatred from his theological enemies, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, and exposure to the elements (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). But none of those things deterred him from obeying God's will. His final testimony was, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). That's true success!


Although we're not apostles, we're to follow Paul's example of faithfulness (1 Corinthians 11:1). That's possible because, like the Ephesian believers, we are "saints (holy ones) ... who are faithful in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:1). By God's grace we've trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9) and have received His righteousness (Phil.3:9) and His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) and every spiritual resource necessary for faithful,c victorious Christian living (Ephesians 1:3).


What remains is to cultivate greater love for Christ and more consistent obedience to His Word. Those are the hallmarks of a true disciple and God's measure of success. Make it your goal that your life today warrants the Lord's commendation: "Well done, good and faithful (servant" (Matthew 25:21).


Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for His wonderful grace, by which He granted you salvation and all the spiritual resources you need. Thank Him for His Word, through which you learn the principles of godly living. Ask Him for opportunities today to encourage the faithfulness of others.


For Further Study: Read Ephesians 1:3-4; 2:10; Titus 2:11-12. What is the goal of your salvation? Are you living each day in light of that goal?


~John MacArthur~

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