Bible Answers for Achieving Significance and Success

Faith and Significance (from the Book Faith Therapy)

            Even if we are now convinced that what God says about us is the only reasonable evaluation of our worth, we must still deal with the issue of significance.  Significance has to do with carrying out the meaning that God placed in our lives when He created us.  Significance, as defined in the Standard College Dictionary (Funk & Wagnalls, 1963), is that which is signified or intended to be expressed; the meaning of the object.  It is the degree that the object meets its intended use or potential.  A closely related issue is that of having a feeling that we are important in some way.  As an example, a Rembrandt painting has certain value no matter where it is and how it is used.  However, it is not very effective in improving the looks of a room when it is hung upside down on a shattered wall of a rundown slum.  God is glorified when we reach our potential.  Sin is missing the mark of that potential.  If we never sinned, we would achieve absolute significance for a human being, just as Jesus did. 

  

How We Develop Worldly Significance 

           

             Just as with the case of self-worth, we first develop our concept of significance in our families of origin as we grow up.  From the first experiences we have as we play with other children, we begin to determine who is fastest, smartest, or best at any particular game.  Once we begin to attend school, it very soon becomes evident who gets the best grades or who is the best at certain sports.  This is the beginning of a pecking order of who is popular and who is not, and who is most likely to succeed in life.  Even at this early age, we have entered the “rat race” of life.  We are in a battle or competition for who will win the game of “king of the hill.”  As we discovered in the previous chapter, this information concerning our significance is also many times erroneously applied to our evaluation of our worth or value.

 

The World’s System 

 

            From the world’s point of view—without God in the picture—each of us is in competition with all others to obtain the scarce resources of life in order to meet our needs.  We want to feel that we are important or significant in life and that we count for something.  The problem is that the world believes that each of us, as our own god, must determine our own destiny and then compete with others in order to achieve it.  Of course, in the world’s system, only a few make it to the top, and those who do will soon be replaced by the generation that follows. 

 

            The world is filled with pride.  Each of us wants to become somebody, be important, and do something significant in life.  It should humble us to understand that almost nothing that we do or attempt to do will even be known two hundred years from now and that our entire solar system is totally insignificant in the universe.  We are like ants thinking that we are so great because we can move a larger grain of sand than another ant.  The Bible compares us to vapor that exists one moment and is gone.  (James 4:14) 

 

The Consequences of the World’s System to Achieve Significance—All Eventually Lose. 

 

            Every society has a focus that is its own particular theme or somewhat universal goal.  In the Orient it is saving face, in the Middle East it is getting revenge for wrongs suffered, and in the United States and much of Europe, it is being successful.  In our drive for worldly success, one of the premises of our societal system is that significance must be obtained at the expense of others in our society.  We are all in competition but we cannot all be significant.  This is called the “rat race.”  It results in a number of direct consequences for our lives. 

 

1.  We are stressed by our competitive life style.  Because we view our world as a “zero sum game,” we view all others in our society as competitors for a limited resource called success.  A zero sum game means that to the degree one person wins, another has to lose out on that resource.  Consequently, some will win, some will lose and it is our desire to do whatever it takes in order to be one of the winners.  Stress results when we perceive that what is required of us may exceed our capabilities.  Of course, failure is always possible in a competition and therefore, we live a life filled with stress.  Because this competitive way of viewing life pervades our entire society, we are stressed about almost everything in our lives.  This competitive mindset is clear from the high salaries we provide for the most successful players of our competitive sports.

 

2.  Only a limited few achieve significance at any time and it is short-lived.  In the game called “king of the hill,” only one can achieve the significance of being “top dog” or king of the hill.  The rest will do anything to topple the king, including stepping on others who are also trying to be king.  The result is a selfish “dog fight” to be somebody and the majority who play this game do not go away without emotional bruises or worse.  Of course, in our society, we prize those who know how to win in a more socialized manner, but the battle for promotion is a clear fact in most of the corporate world.  There are only a few of the six billion people on this planet who can reach the top and even fewer are able to remain at the top for an entire lifetime.

    

3.  Eventually, we all lose.  It might seem negative, but it is a fact of life that eventually all lose in this worldly fight for significance.  Let me explain through the example of a high jumper.  If you are good at high jumping at your school, you will compete in more competitions at the state, regional, and, finally, national level.  If you prove to be one of the very best, you may even make the Olympic Team.  If you compete in the Olympic Games, you may even win the gold medal.  If you do, you are definitely successful and significant at least for the moment.  If you do not go on to win a gold medal at the next Olympic Games, you will be labeled a loser, even if you win the silver medal.  If you continue to win, eventually you will grow older, and will be beaten by a younger, stronger competitor.  If you set a world record, eventually someone will surpass your accomplishment, and your great success will be forgotten. 

 

4.  We are driven to take on more than we can easily accomplish.  Although talent is highly rewarded in the world’s system, it also has its downside.  The more talented we are, the more opportunities we will be given to take on more and more difficult tasks.  Figuratively, if we are a very successful fish in a small fish bowl, we will be promoted to larger and larger bowls.  Unfortunately, in the larger bowls are other very talented fish and larger sharks.  Because we feel each promotion makes us more significant, we are driven to take on more and more difficult tasks.  One well-known statement concerning this issue is “the higher you go, the harder you fall.”  The problem is that there is always a higher mountain.  One of my friends, caught up with this drive for significance, died in the Himalayan Mountains on Annapurna I.  Another froze to death after making the summit of Mount Everest.

     

5.  We all eventually top out at the level of our incompetence.  In the corporate world, this has been called “The Peter Principle.”  It goes like this.  In most cases as long as we are doing a good job at the current level of responsibility, we will be promoted.  When we reach a level where we are no longer competent, we will be passed over for promotion.  Therefore, unless we are fired, we will finish our careers working at our level of incompetence.  Of course, this also means that we will find ourselves locked into a stressful job that requires more of us than we can produce for the remainder of our careers.

 

6.  We are driven to medicate our stress with addictions, alcohol or drugs.  Because of the high stress environment produced by this drive for significance, we are tempted to medicate our emotional swings and our stress with some sort of addiction or drug.  Drug, alcohol and other addictions are commonplace in the corporate world.  It seems to be a necessary part of attempting to cope with such a competitive and stressful life. 

 

7.  We are taught to sacrifice character in order to accomplish things.  With this as the predominant message in our society, it is not difficult to understand why the number of high-ranking politicians and corporate executives charged with ethical violations or crimes seems to be increasing.

 

8.  Anxiety has become a major factor in our failures.  Because we are so driven to be successful, the fear of failure is an underlying cause in many dysfunctional attempts to succeed, avoidant types of codependency and even mental illness.  The anxiety from a fear of failure can prevent us from even trying something, it can lead us to an all-or-nothing mentality, and it can drive us to try too hard to be successful.  All of these can lead to failure, which in turn leads to more dysfunctional attempts to succeed and more failure. 


9.  We are losing our soul for the sake of success in this world.  Unfortunately, even many Christians are not aware that we have been caught up in this “rat race” of life.  It can cost us our families, will do damage to the quality of our lives, and will limit our ability to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God.  In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explained that it was the cares of this world that were the weeds that choked out the plants and caused them not to produce fruit.  (Matthew 13:22) 


God’s System of Significance

 

            As you might have already guessed, God has a very different method of achieving significance and a successful life.  Let us start our investigation by examining what the Word of God tells us about this subject. 

          

1.  When the Bible speaks of significance, it generally uses the term “worthy” to evaluate our merit as compared to what God originally intended  us to be.  The word translated from the Greek as worthy is axios, which means, “something having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much, or one who has merited anything worthy both in a good and a bad sense.”  Those who act in a worthy way deserve rewards. 

 

Mt 10:37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  22:8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 

 

2.  The ultimate in human functioning is called “the glory of God.”  The word translated as glory is doxa, which means, “a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory; splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; or the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ.” 

 

1 Th 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Php 1:11  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

 

3.  Everything we do in our own strength is motivated by selfishness and is, therefore, filthy rags in God’s eyes.  Before we accept Christ, we are dominated by our sin nature.  Each of us has sinned.  Sin simply means missing the mark of the full potential for which God has designed us.  We are selfish and therefore, everything we do is motivated by that selfishness and is no better than filthy rags to God.  The Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  (Rom 3:23) 

 

Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 

 

4.  When we were saved, God began the process of delivering us from our selfishness through salvation by faith, and God has declared us to be righteous based on that faith.  Righteousness is another word for reaching our potential (making right judgments and carrying them out).  Because God operates outside of any reference of time, when we have faith in Him, He counts us as already being righteous.  This allows us to have intimate fellowship with Him. 

 

Ro 4:3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 

 

5.  As our faith grows, we are transformed more and more into our full potential.  Through the process of salvation, we become more and more righteous and we sin less and less.  In direct proportion to our faith, we learn to love others unselfishly and we are conformed into the image of Christ Jesus—our full potential. 

 

Ro 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

 

6.  When we sin, our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus' sacrifice and so, in God's eyes, we remain righteous

Col 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.           

 

7.  Jesus resolved the problem of shame for us when He took our shame upon Himself as He died on the cross.  Since Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we have had the capacity to judge our actions; therefore, we feel guilt or shame when we sin.  This shame leads us to negative evaluations of ourselves, especially when we try to hide the shame or blame others.  Shame and guilt must be dealt with effectively or they will result in toxic shame—a pervasive feeling that we are bad.  

 

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God

Isa 50:6  I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Ro 10:11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 

 

8.  Even with all that Christ has done for us, the Bible tells us that we are still powerless to do anything of merit for God, without doing it in His power and strength.  Everything we attempt to do in our own strength will be deficient in some manner and will be rejected. 

 

Jo 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 

 

9.  The Bible makes it clear that we cannot do anything in our own efforts (the law) to make ourselves better people or more significant.  

 

Ga 3:1  O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?  4  Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5  He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 

 

10.  It is God Who makes us want to do what is right, promotes us, and assists us in being successful and wealthy.  Therefore, He is the one Who should get the glory for everything.  We have not made ourselves successful.  It is God who created us, gave us the talents we have, promoted us and gave us all the good things that we have.  All the thanks and glory are to go to Him.  

 

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Deuteronomy 8:18  But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

1 Co 1:31  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 

 

11.  If we think that we have accomplished anything and take the credit for it, we have fallen into the trap of pride.  A prideful attitude states that we do not appreciate what God has done for us, and that we do not need God.  For our own good, God will resist our success and will bring us low until we realize that everything that we have is a gift from him.  (See the biblical model of King Nebuchadnezzar for overcoming pride later in this book.) 

 

Dan 4:30  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?  31  While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.  32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.  33  The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.   37  Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

 

Job 33:17  That he (God) may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

Ps 10:4  The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Pr 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 


12.  The fact that God has adopted us into His family makes us so significant that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to make ourselves any more significant.  As I have stated before, without God, we as people, are so insignificant in the universe that even if we blew up our entire solar system it would hardly be noticeable.  The fact that God has already made us children of the ruler of the universe, joint heirs with Christ (we will own a huge chunk of the universe), selected us to be on the team that will rule the universe, has provided a throne for us, and has declared us to be righteous through faith elevates us far beyond anything we can do in our own efforts in this lifetime.  This is our position in Christ.  What can we do on this earth that is so important that it will make us more significant than this?           

 

13.  We must, therefore, draw the conclusion that our significance is totally dependent on what Christ did, and that we cannot do anything in our own strength to achieve any greater success than this by ourselves.  It is God, through the process of salvation by faith, who delivers us from our selfishness, so that we are capable of good works.  It is the blood of Jesus that provides for the forgiveness for our failures (sins).  It is Jesus who took our shame upon himself so that we would not be ashamed.  It is God Who provides the strength and ability to do His will.  And it is God Who, by adopting us into His family, makes us so significant that there in nothing we can do to make ourselves any more significant.  

 

The Consequences of God’s System—We All Can Be Significant and Important in Life

  

             It is important that we understand the difference between what it is to be successful in this world and what it means to be successful from God’s point of view.  In the world, success is deciding what we want to do and accomplishing it in such a way that others see us as making a significant contribution to something.  God’s view of success and significance is very different from this.

 

1. The Bible tells us that God has a plan for us even before we were born and that He designed us to fulfill that plan. 

 

Jer 1:5  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:5  And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Ga 1:15  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,  16  To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

 

2.  Because each of us has been designed and called for a specific purpose, we are not in competition with others, but with ourselves to become all that God has called us to be and do.  We are running different races; therefore, the Bible warns us that if we compare ourselves with others, we are not wise.  What would happen if a racer who is running 440 yards compares his progress with one running the fifty-yard dash or the marathon? 

 

2 Co 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 

 

3.  God has also chosen to give us different talents, based on our calling and He will reward us for what we do with them.  The more that He has given us, the more He requires of us.  Since it is He Who chose to give us the specific talents that we will need for the specific mission on earth for which He designed us, we are only responsible for doing our best to find and carry out that specific calling.  Notice that the man with two talents who made another two, was rewarded exactly the same as the man who had five and had made another five.  Had the man with one talent made another, he also would have received the same reward.  Only the servant who refused to use what God had given him was punished.  God sees and rewards us according to what we have done with the capabilities He has given us.  Again, we are not in competition with each other and we are not to compare ourselves with others; but only with ourselves. 

 

Mt 25:15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  20  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  24  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:  25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 

 

4.  God has specifically placed persons with differing talents in each of His churches.  We, as part of the body of Christ, are not in competition with each other, but are to care for each other, complement each other, and work together for the good of that local body and to further the Kingdom of God.

 

1 Co 12:14  For the body is not one member, but many.  15  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 


5.  Those things that are motivated by selfishness, as well as those done in the flesh according to what we want to do, will have no value and will be rejected by God. 

 

1 Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

 

6.  In God’s system, we can all win and be successful in life.  Because God has saved us from our selfishness, has called all of us to a different specific mission and has given us all differing talents to fulfill that mission, He does not compare us with each other.  Because He helps and provides all we need, absolutely every one of us can become significant, have a fully successful life, and become a hero of faith.

 

The Process of Transformation by Faith in Order to Achieve Significance or Success 


            Although all of us are already significant in the eyes of God through our position in Christ and even though all of us can become truly successful in this life according to God’s plan, the Bible warns that many of us will not actually achieve the level of success that God has intended for us.  Matthew 22:14 states that, “For many are called but few are chosen.”  Clearly every one of us has something significant to do in this life, but all of us will probably not achieve the level of commendation that Jesus gave to John the Baptist:   “…Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:..”  (Matthew 11:11)  In order to understand our part in becoming truly successful in life, let us examine the life of John the Baptist. 

 

1.  We must be saved and develop a close relationship with God in order to know specifically what He has called us to do.  When we are saved, we all have a general call on our lives to become established in a church, read our Bible, witness to others and do what we can to further the Kingdom of God.  But, as in the case of John the Baptist, God calls all of us for a particular mission even before we are born.  John the Baptist’s call was revealed to his father in the temple by an angel even before his mother Elizabeth, a relative of Mary the mother of Jesus, became pregnant.  This was prior to Jesus’ birth.  Many clients I have counseled have wished that God had revealed their specific call in a similar manner.  But for most, God requires us to get to know His voice and prove ourselves faithful to our general call before He reveals to us our specific call.

 

Lu 1:13  But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  14  And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.  15  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.  16  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  17  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 

 

2.  We must accept that we are already significant because of who we are in Christ, reject the world’s system of trying to establish our significance through worldly accomplishments, and be willing to accept what God has called us to do, even if it appears worthless in the eyes of the world.  From a worldly standpoint, John was a loser.  We are told nothing about him for the first 30 years of his life.  When God directed him to begin his ministry, he is a loner in the wilderness, wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey.  His mission was to preach that people should repent of their sins.  From a worldly standpoint, this calling does not appear to be one that will lead to great significance.  The world lies to us and tells us that we must do something “significant” in its eyes to be successful.  

 

Mt 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,  4  And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 

 

3.  We must obey God and do what He tells us to do even if we feel unworthy, or the task seems overwhelming or insignificant to us.  John obeyed God and baptized Jesus, even though he felt he was unworthy to do so.  Another danger in our attempt to fulfill our calling is listening to our own evaluation of ourselves when we feel unworthy, inadequate, or incompetent to accomplish what we have been called to do.  As in the case of the one talent man in the parable of the talents, we can be easily diverted from our purpose by our fear of failure.  (Matt 25:25)  Jonah was also temporarily diverted by his fear of failure when he was called to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.  (Jonah 1:3) 

 

Mt 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 

 

4.  We must not seek to make a name for ourselves or compete with others, but do our best to fulfill exactly what God has called us to do.  John the Baptist did not try to make a name for himself.  In fact, he said that he must decrease so that Jesus could increase.  He refused the temptation to compete with Jesus when his disciples complained that Jesus was becoming more popular and was baptizing more converts.  In fact, he even sent some of his disciples to Jesus.  He understood that he was called only to go before Jesus to prepare the way for His ministry.  He recognized that they both had distinct and different callings.

 

Jo 3: 26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.  27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.  28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.  29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.  30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

5.  We must be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to fully fulfill our ministry and accept whatever role God has for us in this life.  John was condemned by the world and eventually executed after only six months of ministry.  From the world’s standpoint, he was a total failure.  We are not to defend our ministry or ourselves but simply do what God calls us to do.

 

Mt 11:18  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.  14:3  For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.  4  For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.  8  And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.  10  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

 

6.  We must persevere in viewing our life and what is important in this world from God’s point of view.  This will enable us to yield our lives for His glory, and trust Him to bring it to pass.  Although, from a worldly standpoint, John the Baptist might be considered a loser, Christ Himself stated that from God’s standpoint, up until that time, there had been none greater than John had.  That meant that in God’s eyes, John was as great as Abraham, Moses and Elijah!  If we wish to be significant in the Kingdom of God, we need to find what God has called us to do, focus on our mission, serve God and complete it, without comparing ourselves to others.  The soldier who does exactly what he is called to do is the one who is great and who will be rewarded.  We must make a choice between being significant in this world, which passes away, or significant in the Kingdom of God, which lasts forever.  We all have the potential to become great in God’s Kingdom if we will simply seek His will for our lives, do our best to carry it out, and trust God for the results.  This last verse states that all of us can be even greater than John the Baptist was, because the Spirit of God is within us. 

 

Mt 11:2  Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 4  Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 7  And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 11  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

 

Steps for Overcoming Insignificance


1.   True significance comes by fulfilling what God has designed and called us to do.  It is achieved by accepting our identity in Christ and doing God’s will, not ours.  We must find our importance in the sight of God, not in the sight of men.

 

2.   We must be convinced that the world’s system of competing with others (The “rat race”) to achieve significance is a lie.

 

3.   We must understand that we are not in competition with others, but that we are to compete against ourselves in order to run our own race and become all that God designed us to be.

 

4.  It is God Who has chosen to give us life and the talents we have.  He is the one who gave us our mission on this earth, He is the one who gave us  the ability to get wealth, and He is the one Who promoted us, so we cannot take credit for anything that we have done, for what we possess, or for our success. 

 

5.  We must fight pride by being careful not to accept credit for anything we do, since without Christ, we cannot do anything of eternal value. 

 

6.  To God, all of our attempts to be righteous in our own efforts are filthy rags, because they are motivated out of selfishness.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more significant.

 

7.  Through the process of salvation by faith, God delivers us from our selfishness, forgives our sins, deals with our shame, and brings us into a place where we can do right motivated by unconditional love. 

 

8.  Because of what Christ has done, we have become so significant that we cannot do anything on this earth to make ourselves any more important.  God has adopted us into His family, chosen us to assist in ruling the universe, made us joint heirs with Jesus, and has declared us to be righteous through faith.  This is our position in Christ and it cannot be improved upon.  All we have to do is to accept it by faith. 

 

 

Books on Achieving Significance and Success

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