Faith Played Out: Measuring Success
How do you measure success? There are many ways that society measures our worth, and we love to praise those who are deemed successful in the world’s eyes. In sport, a player’s worth is defined by their achievements and abilities.
Because this measure of success is so visible, we can so easily buy into this idea that our worth as a sportsperson is solely based on statistics, rank or achievements. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others, particularly within the realm of sports, as well as off the pitch and to let our insecurities, jealousy or pride take over our thoughts.
Our view of ourselves may flicker fleetingly between two extremes dependent on what others think of us. And yet, as Christians, this view should be unchanging, unwavering and completely rooted in God’s view of us.
We love what we value, and we value what we love. As Mark (6:21) and Luke (12:34) both write: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be so.” By letting the world’s measure of worth influence us, we are also allowing our hearts to treasure these values too, even above God.
However, the glory of worldly success is only temporary and will not last. It does not bring us everlasting joy, nor will it fulfil our deepest needs. In 1 John 2:16 Paul warns us not to love the world: “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
He recognises that the things we value in this world will all pass away in this life; beauty is fleeting and wealth cannot overcome the grave. But what will pervade is our relationship with Jesus, and we should value this above anything else.
By spending time in the Word, we can see how there is no need for comparison because our worth and identity is now rooted eternally in Christ:
1. God made us, fearfully and wonderfully.
He didn’t make a mistake when he created us; we were made perfect for the purpose that he had set out for us! “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 14)
2. We are God’s children, holy and blameless because of Jesus’ ultimate act of love on the cross.
“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
3. We are co-heirs with Christ and seated at the right hand of the Father with him.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8: 17)
So, being confident in this knowledge, we are to rest in our identity in Christ. God defines our value and has seated us along with Jesus at the right-hand of God’s throne. He loved us so much he gave up his only Son, so that we may be reconciled to him and adopted as his children.
This frees us up to perform our best knowing that our value doesn’t change according to whether we win or lose… God doesn’t think less of us if we lose and doesn’t think more of us when we win. What he does care about is our attitude, which should be one that seeks to honour him in everything we do, whether in sport or in life.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 )
Hi I’m Dawn. I’m studying Global Politics in the beautiful city of Durham after three amazing years there for my undergrad. I love sharing meals with friends, playing any and every sport, and exploring the world… but most of all I love Jesus and I am learning to live my life for him everyday.