How do you define success? The world defines success with outward measures such as money, prestige, talent, and possessions. However, it’s important to realize that God’s idea of success is completely different.
The apostle Paul understood this difference and exhorted, “Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (Colossians 3:2, KJV). What exactly does this mean? Should we totally neglect our earthly responsibilities? I don’t think this is what Paul had in mind. Rather, I believe this scripture simply reminds us that our lives here on earth are only temporary. While our earthly possessions will one day vanish, what we accomplish for the kingdom of God is eternal and never fades away.
In another letter, Paul wrote, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV). The key involves our focus. Obviously, we can’t completely ignore the temporary things around us, but we shouldn’t “fix our eyes” on them. Our main focus should be on eternal things.
Jesus addressed this issue during His earthly ministry, teaching His disciples, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19-20, NKJV). So how do we store up treasures in heaven? Paul described how people who are rich with earthly possessions can build riches in heaven. “Let them do good,” he explained, “that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, NKJV). You see, we build treasure in heaven when we willingly give of our lives to do good deeds toward others. You become rich on earth by gaining, but you become rich in heaven by giving!
We must realize that what we accomplish for heaven is far more valuable than what we accomplish here on earth. Humans admire the rich and famous, but the “rich and famous” in God’s eyes are those who are “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.” Those are the kind of riches He honors.
You’ve heard the expression, “Go for the gold,” but I urge you to do so in a spiritual sense. Paul noted, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize” (1 Corinthians 9:25, NLT). So, set your affection on things above and start building treasure in heaven today!