Success vs. Faithfulness

Jesus did not say, “Be successful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”  I wonder if many of us think that is what He meant.

Have you ever noticed that our culture tends to push all of us toward success.  We need to be successful on our jobs, successful with relationships, successful in our finances, etc.  This crazy drive for success often nudges us towards self-centeredness.  We act out selfish desires at the expense of others.  We develop volumes of pride at the littlest of accomplishments.  We constantly compare ourselves with whoever we perceive to be somewhat less successful than us.  Our infatuation with success moves us through life at a hectic pace and we expect everyone else to support our insatiable and addictive fix for success.

Certainly one issue with our bent toward success is that we are seldom successful on our own.  We need the help of others.  I cannot be a successful parent without some cooperation from my children.  For the most part, life is a team sport.

Jesus did say, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”  Revelation 2:11b

Maybe in stead of aiming for success, we should simply focus on faithfulness.  I can be faithful in spite of those around me.  Aiming for faithfulness allows me to reach for something over which I have significant control.  My faithfulness is pretty much totally dependent upon me and the choices I make. My faithfulness may not look successful but being faithful means I made the most out of what God gave me. So I aim for being being a faithful dad, a faithful husband, a faithful minister, a faithful encourager, a faithful coach and any other role that I fill.  Overall, I want to be a faithful lover of God and a faithful lover of people.  Those two things are significant to God and paramount to me if I am going to show up faithful.  What does that leave me with?  I will work at being faithful in my small little kingdom and I will trust God to be faithful at being Lord of the Universe.  I do not want His job.




  1. Chris Long says:

    Dean, this topic so resonates with me. Thanks for your thoughts. Please pray for me as I make heart changes regarding the effort I put toward my faithfulness toward God. I have also been given the opportunity to share with three other men about this topic. I believe men 35-45 years of age are being eaten for lunch by satan on this topic…


  2. wow… great first post! This really simply sums up my ongoing struggle.
    “I can be faithful in spite of those around me” hit me the hardest, since i live in such a world of distraction and often find myself blaming my circumstances for my inability to focus. What i got from this post was that being able to focus is not what God is expecting of me, but being able to focus on the right thing is.

    Thanks brother, and i am glad you are finally able to have a blog (and post on it yourself!)… i pray that it’s impact and reach would far exceed your expectations.

  3. Joyce Morris says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on faithfulness. As I continue on my own journey toward faithfulness and total focus on God, I too find myself sidetracked by opinions of those around me, others’ ideas of what Christian ministry/success looks like. I’m reminded that God has asked us to be human ‘beings’, and not human ‘doings.’

    The ultimate test question for me has been, ‘If there was absolutely no one with me but God, would I find Him enough?’ Would His presence, His truth, His relationship with me be sufficient? Ultimately, all that I am, all that I do, in relationships, in ministries, must be grounded in the firm conviction that God is EVERYTHING to me. Then Phil 2 becomes the reality, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”

    God bless, Joyce

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