You probably want to be a success. And that's alright-it's a very reasonable thing to desire. The question "Am I successful?' or "What is success" are significant questions we ask ourselves. 'It's no wonder, -- we are constantly assaulted with a combination of capitalism and consumerism, social media, cancel culture, polarized ideologies, and more.
In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him (Jesus) who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success.
This yearning for a successful life, as elusive as it may seem, is felt acutely by the majority of those who have ever lived. And today with technology shrinking the world, it is understandable that you may not feel particularly successful or successful enough.
Success has now become synonymous with living a life that others want. Chase an experience. Do it now! Everything is rushed, there is never enough time!
Read any random article about successful people and a lot of what is conveyed is a fearful relationship with time. "You only have one shot in life" "I do not want to waste time."
We need to look at what motivates us.
What does the German word Geltungsbedurfnis mean? A brilliant word meaning " the need to be recognized as valuable and worthwhile in the eyes of others" Being praised for doing something others admire feels good, I admit it. But is it the right way to live your life?
As long as I keep looking for my true self in a world of conditional love, I will remain "hooked" to the world-trying. failing, and trying again. It is a world that fosters addictions because what it offers cannot satisfy the deepest cravings of our heart... leaving us to face an endless series of disillusionments while our sense of self remains unfulfilled.
I'm not suggesting we retreat to some desert in pursuit of a purer pursuit of faith, but this has worked at times in the past. What I suggest is a most indescribably beautiful reality. More real than physical things- it is called the Kingdom of God.
I know what I just said may seem mysterious to you. But the Kingdom of God is a real thing. It was one of Jesus's favorite things to talk about. God’s kingdom was coming to replace the authority of all earthly kingdoms. And it was beginning immediately.
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
The kingdom of God was Jesus’ way of talking about God’s powerful presence with humanity and God’s dream for our future.
It is what happens too us and through us when we lean into the power and participation of God in His creation. It is the little by little of God's shalom (peace) into the wounds of this world. Its the transcending-through-redeeming of what caused-pain into something that now brings joy. It is the victory God promises and will eventually bring forth.
What is the effect of God's Kingdom on us?
It helps us to align our longings and wants with his, to want what God wants, to hunger and thirst after God and to crave a world with God in it. The Kingdom invites you into a deeper internal virtue than a surface level rule following. It can be slow, and painful, but always liberating.
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
God's love extends to us and the wholeness that comes from being obedient to him and will provide the true approval we all need. Paul said it very well.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
What is Success?
Success for me is learning, not necessarily achieving, but making an attempt and learning. Success is continuing the journey that God has me on. Doing my best to become the person God meant for me to be and accomplishing whatever purpose God wants me to achieve.
In today's world, the pursuit of power, prestige, wealth, and exclusive community—are the dominant values of any society, followers of Jesus will always find themselves counter-cultural. God’s kingdom is not established by domination, coercion, or violence. It is open to all and is offered as an invitation. But it relies on a profound change of heart and a radical change of life to enter.
The kingdom of God is a movement, a gathering of people who have decided to follow Jesus. It is a community of people who are committed to the new values of the new order. These are people who listen to the words of Jesus and act on them. Jesus referred to this community as his true family.
The kingdom of God is not great and mighty. Most of the time it appears hidden from view. It is found in action. It involves simple everyday acts of compassion, acceptance, forgiveness and service. Every act that weakens the domination system, strengthens the kingdom of God. Through small actions by many people the world will be transformed.
“Reshape your lives, for the kingdom of God is confronting you!”