Summary: Everyone of us wants to be successful in our service to the Lord, but oftentimes our success is stopped because we do not readily accept God's will for our lives. How can you be successful in your service for the Lord?
Paul wrote that living and dying unto Christ should be the focus of our lives always in the theme verse to this book in Philippians 1:21.
Paul also wrote that we should become willing vessels through which God can work His will as he shared in this book in Philippians 2:13.
Now Paul continued writing, letting us know we need to learn what true success is in our service to the Lord.
During the competition at the Olympic games held at one of the local coliseums during Biblical times, the runners would line up, with their eyes on the prize before them, not being concerned about the length of the course or how hard it was, and their success in winning the race would be in honor of their king, who would be given the award if they were the winner of the race.
In the same manner, Paul mentions that he was pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, in winning his race, it would mean that any prize he would be given would be the direct result of God's upward calling, which means that his success would be for his King Jesus Christ.
How can we be successful in our service to the Lord?
1. By not giving up or quitting.
The reason that most of us are never successful for the Lord is because when things get difficult we tend to give up or outright quit.
Think about the man Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). God told him that he was to leave his homeland, his family and friends, and trust God to lead him to another land. If Abram would believe and follow God, he would be blessed and all those who supported him and trusted in God also in the future would receive the blessing of God. Abram did what God asked and received many blessings. His name was changed from Abram to Abraham, he became the Father of a nation, he was the father of the covenant child Isaac, and his descendants were too many to number, just as the stars of the sky or the sand by the seashore.
Think about Paul (II Corinthians 11:21-33). Paul suffered in his service for the Lord. He spent 75% of his ministry life in prison and even wrote our text book Philippians from jail. He was stoned, beaten, pursued by enemies, and oftentimes arrested. Paul shared all these issues he encountered, but never did he give up or quit. Because of this he was blessed to be one of the greatest servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote a majority of the New Testament letters, and he left behind a legacy of faithful service to Christ.
2. By not complaining or questioning what God asks you to do.
Another area that causes us to fail in our service to the Lord is when we doubt that God knows what He is doing or when we complain because of the task He have given us to do.
Think about Noah (Genesis 6:9-17). Noah lived in the desert where it rarely rained. God told him to build the ark, a great big sailing vessel that would deliver him, his wife, his sons, their wives, and representative members of the animal species. Noah did not question God's orders or complain that God was asking him to build the ark in the desert. Because he did not complain or question God, he and his family along with the animals on board, were spared from the flood.
Think about Job (Job 1:1-3; 13-22; 2:9-10). Job had many possessions and was considered great among men, but in a series of calamities lost everything. Rather than complaining or questioning God or His motives, Job remained faithful to the Lord and was blessed with more at the end of the book than he had at the beginning.
3. By accepting God's will and not deferring service to others.
Yet another area that causes us to fail in our service to the Lord is when we do not accept God's call upon our lives, but try to make excuse why we are not the right person for the job, and tell God to call another.
Think about Moses (Exodus 3:11; 4). Moses made excuses such as ignorance of God's identity, that others would not believe him, and that he could not speak well or eloquently. In each instance God did away with his excuses and told him that he was the person who was going. Excuses never work before God and we should accept God's assignment to serve Him.
Our faith is not only in God's existence, but in the fact that service to Him is worth a reward (Hebrews 11:6). If God calls you, you are the right person for the job.