For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:9
The Apostle Paul’s definition of success is very different than the world’s definition. His definition of success is: To advance the gospel and to live under the approval of God.
- With the help of our God, we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition (2:2 NIV).
Success is to advance the gospel.
- We are not trying to please men but God who tests our hearts (2:4).
Success is to live under the approval of God.
- We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel (2:4).
Success is advancing the gospel and living under the approval of God.
Western postmodern culture places great emphasis on the way that each person is uniquely wired. What’s right for you? What works for you? Have it your way! But the Bible does not major on what is uniquely you, but on what is commonly us.
All of us (if we are human beings) are created by God. All of us are descended from Adam. All of us share the effects of his sin. And all of us depend on Christ for our righteousness.
All of us (if we are Christians) have the Spirit of God living within us. We all struggle with the flesh. And we all suffer. All of us are being conformed to the image of Christ. All of us are entrusted with the gospel. And all of us are called to lay down our lives in the service of others.
What are some ways you might be tempted to emphasize your own unique design over our common calling in Christ?