Bookshelves, podcasts, social media feeds and sadly even many church pulpits are all about motivating people to live their best lives now. The main message? Seek personal success and happiness above all else. And in the Christian arena, it is packaged up as the very thing God wants for you. But is that true? Is God’s main goal for your life that you are happy and that you become personally successful? That is not what the Bible says. And if you know the God of the Bible, you know that His plan for your life far exceeds any ideas of happiness and success that you may have for yourself.
Self-help – Motivation – Life coach
Live your best life now! – If you want it, make it yours! – Don’t let anything stop you!
Followers – Retweets – Likes
One of Jesus’ final messages to His followers before He was crucified was that only the people who live their lives fulfilling God’s purpose will receive an eternal reward. He told them that when He returns one day to judge the world, people will be separated according to how they lived their lives. And He makes it clear that living your life for yourself will not end well.
Today there’s a common acronym for someone that has reached an unmatched level of excellence in their life. They are referred to as a “G.O.A.T.” – the “Greatest Of All Time.” Although God may choose to grant you with success on earth, if achieving a certain status is the driving force in your life, you will stumble out of God’s plan. And you do not want to be a “goat” when Jesus comes back. Jesus warns that He will separate the goats from the sheep. The goats are the people that live their lives with selfish ambition and the culmination of their success is eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:31-46)
Jesus’ message was clear. He said that we must lose our selfish life to gain the life He has for us. The driving force behind our goals and missions should be following Jesus and living out God’s purpose for our life. If we are too focused on living our best life now or on achieving happiness and success on earth, we will miss the opportunity to serve the Lord and to store up treasures in heaven that will never go away. Worldly success is just that – worldly. It has no bearing on our eternity.
If we strive for fame and fortune, counting our followers, likes, and retweets, we will become so consumed with pleasing people that we will forget to please God. We will be like many of the Pharisees who believed in Jesus but would not confess their faith in Him because they feared losing their standing among men. (John 12:43) The life we live on earth is only a tiny speck of our eternal existence. All the success and popularity we achieve on earth will be gone the moment we breathe our last breath. Even if we were to go down in world history as a “G.O.A.T.”, without Jesus we will spend eternity separated from God.