Moving from earthly success to eternal significance is becoming almost an anthem – and thankfully so.
We all know what “earthly success” looks like. I’m less sure we have a thorough grasp of what eternal significance looks like. And I’m absolutely sure that eternal significance is achieved in direct proportion to the transition from “self-sufficiency” to “God-sufficiency.”
Consider three well-known scriptures:
- “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
- “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
- “He who would be my disciple let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24)
There can be no mistaking the message. The life of genuine abundance and peace and joy, the flourishing life, is one where self, and thus self-sufficiency, dies, and in its place Christ, and God-sufficiency, lives.
Easier said than done, for the very traits that are common to high-impact leaders easily lend themselves to self-sufficiency. Talents and giftings that have been metered out in greater measure to the high-impact leader position that person for disproportionate influence, but unbridled by Christ lead only to the hollowness of earthly success and the advancement of the kingdom of self.
Thus, if we are serious about eternal significance we must put the horse before the cart. The “horse” is a life of ever-deepening devotion to Christ and death to self. The “cart” is the works that follow that glorify God and advance His kingdom rather than works that glorify self and advance our personal kingdoms.
Cultural transformation that is truly eternally significant is therefore the divine produce of an ever-transformed life.
Put another way, when two people do the same works, such as donating the money to build a new church, it’s not the work that defines the significance, but the inner life of the person who did the work. Such a work done for selfish reasons has little or no eternal significance, while work done to glorify God and advance His kingdom does.
As we walk the path of increasing liberation from self-sufficiency, we are unleashed to use our gifts, talents, experiences and influence in a manner that glorifies the “Christ in us” rather than the “us in us.” We no longer need our value justified by what we do, because we are fully justified in Christ.
I can say from personal experience that this is the great challenge to the performance-driven life. For those of us driven to perform tasks and accomplish goals, to come to know that our value is in who we are in Christ, rather than in what we do, is nothing short of miraculous.
But then, miracles are what Christ is all about.