What does success look like? A private jet? Or having your head chopped off? Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But the world’s definition of success isn’t the same as God’s.
In the old testament, material wealth was often seen as success. But in the new testament, Jesus redefined success. The Beatitudes are about what the blessed, or divinely successful life looks like, and it seems to run against all we would assume.
We’d assume the rich are blessed, but Jesus pronounced woe upon them and blessed the poor. He Himself will have been an obscure carpenter for most of His life. And although He was successful as an itinerant preacher, He was practically homeless during that ministry, which was brutally cut short by His execution as a common criminal.
The world might look at Jesus and decide He wasn’t so successful compared to great warriors, warlords and gurus. But they’re all dead/dying and Jesus is alive forevermore. He defeated death, the first to rise from the dead forevermore.
Okay, so maybe you’re going to argue that Jesus had a seemingly unsuccessful earthly life so that we could have successful, healthy, wealthy, happy, prosperous lives.
Well He doesn’t really give us that option, because He commands us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses (be prepared to die) and to follow Him.
Even if we have apparently unsuccessful lives in this world, if we’ve stored up treasures in heaven, we’ll be eternally successful.
A homeless child who trusts in Jesus and is beheaded for her faith is far more successful in God’s eyes than some prosperity preacher jetting around the world spreading lies.