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Should Christians Be Great Achievers?
by Mark Nickles
3/14/2012 / Christian Living
Christians should be no strangers to achievement. The primary differences between those who follow Christ and those who follow the world might not be WHAT they achieve, but will always be WHY they achieve it.
The message of the world is to do all you can to get your piece of the American Dream. Many Christians have subscribed to the philosophy that, as long as they are here, they may as well have the biggest house, nicest car, and largest amount of disposable income they can achieve. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with those things. However, when considering achievement in the Christian's life, we need to understand why God created us in the first place, and what kind of achievement should take precedence.
According to Ephesians 2:10, we were "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Sounds good, right? I mean, who doesn't like being known for doing good works? But, we should also have a clear understanding of the proper motivation for those works. Isaiah 43:7 states that God created us for his glory. In other words, as followers of Christ, our lives ought to be about pointing people to our Heavenly Father. These important points remind the Christian that we don't seek achievement for ourselves, but instead, that God might be glorified.
Having come to a basic understanding of why we are here, it's only natural to inquire as to how we plan for the good works God has intended for us to achieve. We find a passage in 2 Timothy 3 which speaks directly to that question. Specifically, verses 16 and 17 tell us, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Emphasis added.) It seems clear that the primary way God prepares us for the work he intends for us to do is by shaping our hearts and minds through his word. As we become more like Jesus by constant exposure to God's word and prayer, God outfits us to do his will and his work.
While all of the above is important for the Christian to keep in mind, this is certainly not to say that God's people should not have any earthly pursuits. Obviously, we have to earn a living for our families, and we all want a career in a field we can be passionate about. We need physical activities for fitness and/or just relieving stress. Most of us will have different diversions we engage in on a regular basis. In all of these pursuits, however, the committed Christ follower always wants to keep God's purpose in mind. Seeking His will in all of these ventures will allow Him to use our business relationships, friendships we make indulging in our hobbies, acquaintances from extra-curricular activities, etc., to win others to faith in our Savior. And, speaking frankly, nothing attracts people like excellence.
As a final word on achievement, consider Colossians 3:23 in relation to an occupation, trade, or profession. The scripture reads, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters". This was a message specifically to servants, pertaining to how they should work for their earthly masters. The point is made that they should ultimately work to please Christ, not an earthly lord. If this doesn't make a case for the Christian being an achiever, I don't believe a case can be made. After all, how SHOULD we work for the Son of the Almighty, the King of kings and Lord of lords? At one-hundred percent efficiency and with unsurpassed effort and enthusiasm, I should think.
No doubt, the Christian should be a hard-working, diligent achiever, just as the world often cheers us to do. The difference, however, should always be in the motivation. Choosing to elevate ourselves satisfies for a while, but never produces lasting fulfillment. Instead, may we always seek to achieve greater things in order to lift up Christ that others may be drawn to him, and we may experience the joy of accomplishing our true purpose!
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.
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