Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus
So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.
What are we measuring against?
To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.
Now we have to live as a disciple
This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?
Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”
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