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Lessons from Luke (Five): Success

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

"You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight."

(Luke 16: 15 TNIV)

Continuing our season following Jesus' teachings from the Gospel of Luke. Lesson Five focuses on the Pharisees and Jesus' lesson on true success.

Reading: Luke 16: 1-15

Focus: the Pharisees

It is worth spending time in this passage from Luke, profoundly counter-cultural and when subscribed to, wildly liberating.

Jesus is saying that the parameters and benchmarks of success, as defined by people - and so often framed around money, status and outward impressions - hold no sway with him. Quite pointedly, he calls such success "detestable".

As August ebbed to September and summer rest to autumn endeavour, this passage should cause us to stop and question for what we labour. Jesus is stipulating that success is not about our bank balance, neighbourhood, power positions or social status, but rather the position of our hearts.

It is a mindset that places us vastly at odds with the society around us: a society that too often squeezes us into models for life and quite poignantly, makes us feel that we have failed, when we have not.

At its heart, Jesus is calling us to live not for the prevalent peer pressure and its ultimately deceptive applause, but for an audience of one. An audience where Biblical measures and weighing scales are all that hold firm; an audience for whom the motives and attitudes of the hidden heart, rather than empty external expressions, form the test of success.

In the final analysis, it's the only audience that matters.

Point to consider: consider how living for an audience of one would shift your way of thinking at many levels, including how you measure your own life.

Further reading: Mark 8: 34-38 and 1 Peter 4:5

See also:

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2022

Scripture quotations taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 2004 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, a division of Hodder Headline ltd. All rights reserved. “TNIV” is a registered trademark of International Bible Society.

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Do you live for an audience of one? Or are you motivated or pressured by social measures and competing with others? How might this passage liberate you?

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