True Success

1 Kings 16:25-27
But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.  For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.  Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Throughout the biblical account of all the kings of Israel and Judah, this is the main descriptive given about their lives—whether they did evil in God’s sight or good in God’s sight.  They may have done mighty things, won battles, built cities, obtained the highest rule in the land.  And from a worldly perspective, most of them would be considered successful.  By that measure, they did impressive things and showed great strength.

But that is not God’s measure of success.  He wanted them to follow His ways and be obedient to Him.  He wanted them to remain faithful to Him and not follow after others gods.  He wanted them to pursue lives of honor and righteousness that matched His high and holy standard of living.  And so in God’s eyes, many of these great men were failures.  Many of these men who would be highly exalted by the multitudes around them were lowly in God’s eyes.  Their evil works and evil hearts rejected God and brought His wrath upon them.

But isn’t that the demarcation of our lives, as well?  Whether we’ve lived for God or something else?  Whether we’ve honored Him or displeased Him?  The world around us would measure the success or failure of our lives by these other things—accomplishments, position, wealth, whatever worldly greatness we could achieve.  But God is most concerned with our relationship to Him, so shouldn’t we be, as well?  God is measuring us by what is in our hearts, whether we’re trusting Christ, accepting His will, obeying His Word.

So let’s measure ourselves by God’s standards, not man’s or the world’s.  Let’s be concerned with pleasing Him, and to do so, we’ll have to forsake the evil of the world around us.  We’ll have to avoid the traps and temptations around us that will pull our hearts toward some other gods, some other pursuits apart from God.  We’ll have to choose God and His way over all other paths.  And whether or not we achieve any of those other so-called measures of greatness in our lives, may what matters most be to hear those words, “Well done,” by Jesus Himself.

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