“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” – Luke 23:34
Before considering the road to success, we must first acknowledge the most successful achievement this world will ever encounter. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6). Jesus was God, Himself, who became a man. He died on a cross of shame with not one of His friends to help Him. Yet, even at the lowest point of abandonment and shame, it was the exact point in which the standard of success was defined.
After such a sacrifice, being for the sake of the world, Jesus was not only risen above every name (Philippians 2:9), He has claimed everyone who believes in Him as seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Therefore, the key to success is knowing we have already succeeded in Christ Jesus. Because of what Christ has accomplished, the road of success we ought to pursue is none other than the footsteps of Jesus (1John 2:6).
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). If while we hope for success without the willingness to taste death for everyone, our ambition will strive for nothing more than selfish gain that leads to destruction. Whether it’s to create the best business plan, provide for one’s family, or grow in some level of maturity, our aim should always be the kingdom of God for the sake of the world. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). In the same way Jesus had His joy set on salvation for the world, so must we be willing to love not our lives unto death within our endeavors to success (Revelation 12:11).
The example that Jesus lived, if we choose to walk in it, is what makes the Christian shine, even in the middle of a workplace in today’s society. “Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that it be said to you, ‘Come up here,’”(Proverbs 25:6-7). As we consider the interest of others above our own (Philippians 2:4), the purpose of our work is to be a blessing before any concern of receiving a kind of raise or promotion that others may think they deserve. But we know the raise and promotion we’ve already received in Christ Jesus. While Christ has united us with the Lord God on high (John 17:21), why would such concerns hinder our enjoyment towards the work we do? “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” (Colossians 3:23).
“He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The work we do should never be done for our own gain. Because He possesses us and we are then possessed by Him, we do good works for none other than the simple, yet passionate joy of doing them; for all good things come only from Him (James 1:17). “Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Even an ant does not concern itself by thinking, “I hope one day I get to be the queen.” How much more should the children of God be encouraged towards love and good works?
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Whatever we do, whether in the simple workplace or in chasing our dreams, let it be done while acknowledging the accomplishment we’ve already received in Christ Jesus. “We love because He first loved us” (1John 4:19). The value of our deeds is determined by our capacity of love (1Corinthians 13). The only way we are able to love is by understanding the love He’s displayed for us. Therefore, how is success achieved if it is apart from this same kind of love? But let us remain secure in the foundation of His success and thereby keep from defeat in what appears to be failure.
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” – Romans 8:37