Measuring Success– By Matt Miller

Paul wrote in [Col 2:6-10 NKJV] 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

I have highlighted the verse 8 in this reading, as I want us to consider the ways which Paul says men cheat one another and ultimately God. Philosophy is the first way which is mentioned. Men will reason within themselves, deceiving and being deceived by the lies that they tell themselves, the yearnings of their own hearts, and a selfishness which is man’s to own. It is a self-serving desire which makes us so susceptible to temptations. In fact, it is philosophy which spawned all manner of idols. Notice [Rom 1:22-23 NKJV] 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. In our modern
age, men have made gods of their science and reasoning leaving no room for the concept of the true God. Men have reasoned their way to disbelief and self-service, and then wonder why the world is so evil, why it seams to be consuming its inhabitants, why we can’t get along. Notice that it was because this was man’s desire and God gave us free will so we have been allowed to be overtaken in our own perversions. Paul explains this in the next few verses of the Roman letter, [Rom 1:24-25, 28-32 NKJV] 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. … 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; [they are] whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

In addition to being given over to own philosophy, men have been given over to holding to traditions which are not God’s way. Traditions today which have resulted in man’s worship worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. How can men claim our worship is to Him when we do what we want instead of worshipping God as He prescribed? Jesus warned the Pharisees of His day and chastised them for their traditions which had made God’s law to be stricter than God had prescribed (Matt 15:3-9). These very traditions were at the heart of Paul’s own zeal in persecuting the early church (Gal 1:14).

So, it is with all that man does. We measure by our own devices; we determine good according to our standard. When we do such, we would do well to examine Israel in the days of the judges. [Jdg 21:25 NKJV] 25 In those days [there was] no king in Israel; everyone did [what was] right in his own eyes. Isn’t that the very definition of anarchy? We need to look at things how God sees them. Measure by God’s standard, look for what He wants rather than what we want. He represents perfection. It is in Christ that the fulness of God was manifested, and in Him then we have received salvation.

Go back and read our text in Col 2:7-10. Being in Christ is the way to heaven. He is the narrow gate that we have frequently discussed lately. The world would tell you that there is no God, the world would tell you to live however makes you happy, the world would tell you to live your own truth.

The Bible though, tells you that there is a better way; a right way.

[Psa 14:1 NKJV] 1 To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David. The fool has said in his heart, “[There is] no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

[Jer 10:23 NKJV] 23 O LORD, I know the way of man [is] not in himself; [It is] not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

[Act 4:12 NKJV] 12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

If we want to have success that has staying power, it’s beginning and ending is the Eternal God. We must then consider all that we do by the illumination of His Word. We must measure how God measures and submit our own ways to His ways. As a Christian, it is incumbent upon each of us who wear that name to put Him and and be rooted and grounded in Him and in our faith in Him to borrow from Paul’s language.

How are you measuring success? By the numbers in your bank account? Your identity in your profession, your family, your carnal citizenship? Do you measure success in material things or spiritual? Which success are you seeking.

Jesus instructed in the sermon on the mount that each of us should seek to find him (Matt 7:7-8) and that if we want to obtain that eternal home, He is the way, truth and life (Jhn 14:6). In fact, he also said in the sermon on the mount that where the things you value are located, there you heart is also focused (Matt 6:33). Let us then measure all that we do by our standing in Christ, our relationship to God by the measure of His Son. Are we living lives which say we are focused on an eternal Home?