The Sunday Scoop: Do You Have to Choose Between Faithfulness & Success

This content is from OPEN, a new online resource that serves as a guided journey through the Bible.

You Are Like a Person Who Carries Two Passports

The Bible uses the word aliens or sojourners to describe God’s people (1 Peter 2:11). You do not belong to this world in a permanent way. You belong to another city “whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10), and you cannot understand your life in this world until you have grasped that this is not what God created you for.

If you are a Christian, you are like a person who carries two passports. One of them will expire, because when Christ returns,

national identities will be relegated to history as all of God’s people are united together in heaven. But your passport as a citizen of heaven will never pass away. It will remain forever.

The art of the Christian life is to live in this world without being consumed by it. We are to use the short time frame of our life here to prepare for the main event which is still to come.

Two Kinds of Oppression

Throughout their history, God’s people have lived under two very different kinds of oppression. Pharaoh’s plan was to persecute God’s people. He was ruthless and subjected them to hard labor. Satan uses the same tactic today in many places where Christians are persecuted for their faith.

But Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was more subtle. His strategy was to absorb God’s people into the culture of Babylon, opening doors of opportunity for them and putting them on the fast track to success.

The enemy of our souls is still using the tactics of Nebuchadnezzar, and they are proving very effective in his warfare against the church. The strategy is simple: Intoxicate the people of God with the sheer fascination and splendor of this world. Erode their distinctive practices and values, until they are so assimilated into the culture that their distinctive calling to live for the glory of God is overwhelmed.

Faithfulness and Success

Never imagine that faithfulness to Christ means being second rate or settling for small things. Daniel, who was a stranger in Babylon, proved that he could be trusted, and God opened the door of opportunity for him. He was given influence beyond what he had ever dreamed, becoming second-in-command to the king. This points us to our Lord Jesus Christ, who came as an alien into this world.

Like Daniel, He faced the seductive enticements of the world, and the open hostility of the world on the cross. He triumphed over both and was able to say to His disciples, “Take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Faithfulness and success need not be alternatives; they are natural partners.

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