What does the Bible say about success?
We all desire success, but a believer desires a different type of success than the world. Success for a Christian is the obedience to the known will of God whether that means going through trials or receiving a blessing. True success is doing what God wants for us even though it is painful, it costs us, etc. Many people look at mega churches like Joel Osteen’s church, but that is not success.
Jesus said, “be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
He is teaching the prosperity gospel, God is nowhere near that. You can have a million people in your church and that could be the most unsuccessful church in God’s eyes because God is not in it.
A church of 3 people that God said to plant is far more successful and even though it is small, God wills that some people have small ministries for His glory.
Christian quotes about success
“Success is on the same road as failure; success is just a little further down the road.” Jack Hyles
If our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our hearts.” Tim Keller
“To lose something in the will of God is to find something better.” Jack Hyles
“It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.”
– Peter Marshall
“The difference between success and failure is work.” Jack Hyles
Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Francis Chan
“Those who have failed miserably are often the first to see God’s formula for success.” Erwin Lutzer
“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” Robert H. Schuller
“Great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.” Albert Schweitzer
“On earth we have nothing to do with success or its results, but only being true to God and for God; for it is sincerity and not success which is the sweet savor before God.” Frederick W. Robertson
“When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey! The success of the calling is up to Him;the obedience is up to you.” David Wilkerson
Godly success vs worldly success
Many people want their own glory and not the glory of the Lord. They want to be known as success stories and have a big name. Are you willing to do the will of God even if that means there is no glory for you and your name is so small?
If God told you to start a ministry would you be willing to do it if that meant only one person would hear you preach and that is the janitor who cleans the place? Do you want what you want or do you want what God wants? Do you want to be seen by man or do you want God to be seen?
1. Philippians 2:3 nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
2. John 7:18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
3. John 8:54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.
Success is obedience to the will of God
Success is doing what God told you to do regardless of the cost and the consequences. I know sometimes it is hard, but because God’s love is so great we must.
4. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
5. Luke 22:42-44 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
God wants you to succeed
Even if it is something noble like planting a church we are not being successful when we choose to plant a church and God wants us to do something else such as being a janitor. It’s about His will and His timing.
6. Acts 16:6-7 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
7. Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Success in God’s eyes
Sometimes people are going to say things to distract you such as, “why are you doing this it’s not successful, God is clearly not with you, but people don’t know what God told you.”
It might not be successful in people’s eyes, but it is successful in God’s eyes because He told you to do it and He allowed it and even though you may go through trials He will make a way. Do you remember the story of Job? His wife and friends were telling him things that were not true. He was in the will of God. Success doesn’t always appear how we think it should be. Success can be a trial that leads to a blessing.
8. Job 2:9-10 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
9. 1 John 2:16-17 For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Sometimes being successful in God’s eyes is helping us grow in humility.
Putting us in the back and helping the person who leads. Holding the rope for the one who goes down in the well. A group of people praying in the back while the preacher leads. Being a servant is success.
10. Mark 9:35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
11. Mark 10:43-45 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
12. John 13:14-16 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Does God provide financial success?
Yes and there is nothing wrong with blessings. I pray for this blessing. But God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others, not so we can be greedy. If God blesses you financially glory to God. If He blesses you with trials, which helps you bear fruit, grow, and know God more, then glory to God.
13. Deuteronomy 8:18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
When you are in God’s will He will open doors for you. Evangelism, school, spouse, jobs, etc.
14. Genesis 24:40 “He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.
15. Proverbs 2:7 He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
16. 1 Samuel 18:14 In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.
17. Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
How does God define success?
True faith in Christ alone will change the very center of your life from your will to God’s will.
You will have new desires for Christ to live a life pleasing to Him. Living by the Word of God will give you success. Not only should you read and memorize it, you should walk by it.
18. Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
God blesses you with success
When you are walking with the Lord God is always by your side and He blesses you in your work. God makes the way. God gets all the glory.
19. Deuteronomy 2:7 “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”
20. Genesis 39:3 “Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.”
21. 1 Samuel 18:14 “In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.”
You have to continually confess your sins as you walk with the Lord. This is part of success.
22. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
23. Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.”
24. Psalm 51:2 “Wash me clean of my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
25. Psalm 32:5 “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”
Pray for success with your eyes on the Lord and His will.
26. Psalm 118:25 Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success.
27. Nehemiah 1:11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
May God grant you success
Instead of waiting for an answer expect an answer. Expect God to grant you success. Believe He will.
28. Nehemiah 2:20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
29. Genesis 24:42 “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.
30. 1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would.
Success might look like failure.
There was a preacher who never had anyone come to his service, but an 11 year old kid that lived near by. His ministry would never be considered a success to the world, but that 11 year old kid got saved, he grew up, and God used him to save millions. Don’t look to what is seen.
Jesus was the biggest failure to the world. A man claiming to be God who couldn’t save Himself on the cross. A holy God has to punish us, but He made a way for us. God crushed His Son for the world to be saved. He made a way to be reconciled to Him by repenting and trusting in Jesus Christ alone. That is a success story.
31. 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
32. Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
33. Psalm 21:11 “Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.”
34. Ecclesiastes 11:6 “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”
35. Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
36. Ecclesiastes 10:10 “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.”
37. Job 5:12 “He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.”
Examples of success in the Bible
38. 1 Chronicles 12:18 “Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.” So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.”
39. Judges 18:4-5 “He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.” 5 Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.”
40. 1 Samuel 18:5 “Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.”
41. Genesis 24:21 “Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.”
42. Romans 1:10 “always in my prayers requesting if perhaps now, at last by the will of God, I will succeed in coming to you.”
43. Psalm 140:8 “LORD, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud.”
44. Isaiah 48:15 “I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed.
45. Jeremiah 20:11 “But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.”
46. Jeremiah 32:5 “He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the LORD. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.”
47. Nehemiah 1:11 “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.”
48. Job 6:13 “No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success.”
49. 1 Chronicles 12:18 “Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.” So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.”
50. 1 Samuel 18:30 “The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.”
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.“