Five Characteristics of Spiritual Success

An article titled “5 characteristics of financial success” by Michael Ryan in last week’s paper caught my attention.  It focused on the financial goal of reaching retirement with enough money to last the rest of our lives, stating “that goal will be affected greatly by all of the spending and saving decisions we make along the road to our retirement.”  As I read the characteristics, they reminded me of their application to spiritual success.  Our spiritual goal needs to be pleasing God (2 Cor 5:9), with the reward being heaven with Him.  All the decisions we make along the road throughout our lives will determine the end result.  “Here are some of the characteristics of that successful mindset.”

1 - Responsibility  “The rational, successful savers realize early in their adult lives that they are ultimately responsible for their own well-being.  They understand that relying on the government, parents, or anyone else to take care of them is a very bad plan.”  Likewise spiritual success depends on us taking responsibility for our own decisions.  While my parents have some responsibility, the ultimate responsibility rests upon my shoulders (Ezekiel 18). “...the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” (:20).

2 - Confidence “You have to first believe you can before you can.”  As Christians we can have confidence in Christ.  “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13).

3 - Value education  “Those successful in almost any field realize the need for constant education” – including Christianity.  The Bereans were considered more noble because they “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  Diligence with God’s word leads to spiritual success (2 Tim 2:15).

4 - Understand risk  “Hiding your savings in a Mason jar in the backyard will likely not result in success.”  Neither will hiding your light.  Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:15-16).  Understand that there is risk in doing so, because not everyone wants to see that light.  “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12).  We must understand the risk and realize the reward is worth it.  The apostles did.  After being flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, “they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42).

5 - Persistence  “Many successful retirees got that way by faithfully contributing to their 401ks.”  Were there times they may have been tempted not to?  Sure, but they kept doing it anyway.  We need the same attitude spiritually.  Will it always be easy living for the Lord?  No, but we must keep doing it anyway.  “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Gal 6:9).  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58).

The article concluded by saying, “Money will never be the most important thing, but still, money matters.”  Pleasing God should always be the most important thing.  Is it in your life?  If so, then you are on the road to true success.