The Measure of True Success

Last Sunday, Pastor Ken Lewis preached from 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, and we considered the truth that God’s grace encourages and enables us to give our time, resources, and our very selves to others for the glory of God.

Read: Matthew 25:14-30

This Sunday, Joel Smith will preach from Matthew 25:14-30 and exhort us to faithfully use our lives for the glory of Christ. As you prepare your heart for our gathering, let this devotional from John MacArthur move you to greater love for Christ and faithfulness to obey his Word.

Reflect: “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” (Eph. 1:1).

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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 Cor. 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 Tim. 4:7). That’s true success!

Although we’re not apostles, we’re to follow Paul’s example of faithfulness (1 Cor. 11:1). That’s possible because, like the Ephesian believers, we are “saints [holy ones] … who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). By God’s grace we’ve trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior (Eph. 2:8–9) and have received His righteousness (Phil. 3:9) and His Spirit (Eph. 3:16) and every spiritual resource necessary for faithful, victorious Christian living (Eph. 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]” (Matt. 25:21).

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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?

“The Measure of True Success,” in Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith, by John MacArthur

Sing: Song List for Sunday

1. “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” Arr. Daniel Renstrom
2. “Jesus Paid It All,” Arr. Passion
3. “Jesus, Only Jesus,” by Passion

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