Some will say that real success in life is more money, many things, adventure, fun, much amusement, travel, sex, maybe fame. But it does not take much life experience to discover that this approach to life does not fulfill us over time.
Others will say that achieving the goals that matter to you the most is the secret to experiencing real success in life. This is better. But I’m not convinced it’s the best we can do.
There’s a movement with many seeking to transition from “success” to significance. Legacy is a high value. This is better still. But I think there’s even more.
Quality Understanding Is Foundational to Building Real Success in Life
It seems I’m often challenged with upgrading to a higher way of living … a life more accurately aligned to mission — something much bigger than myself. I’m convinced that a hard commitment to align with higher mission is the secret of real success.
“Acquire wisdom. And with all your acquiring, get understanding” … these words come from Proverbs 4:7 (NASB) in the Bible.
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Understanding is insight and good judgment in life. It’s the skill and art of living well.
I heard a teaching that connected some things for me — previous impressions, maybe things I’ve read, teachings I’ve benefited from, and so on.
This opened a window to a fresh perspective. I’ve learned that many times, this is exactly how a new level of understanding surfaces — different things I’m discovering come together in a new way of seeing.
For me, higher understanding is foundational to building real success in life.
Becoming Radicalized to Achieve Real Success in Life
In contemporary language, to be radical means to be extreme. “Wow, does he have radical political views!”
It’s interesting that the English word radical comes from the Latin word radix meaning “root.” Radical actually means going to the root or origin. It’s organic. Original. Primal.
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From a biblical worldview, the first humans were mandated with a mission … “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule … be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule …'” (Genesis 1:26, 28 NASB).
Consider the keywords … rule … fruitful … multiply … fill … subdue.
We become radical in Christ! Primal. Original. He restores us to our root purpose, our Creation Mandate. What could happen if you and I truly became radicalized with our original purpose?
The Lord’s question in Eden was “Adam, where are you?” This is the Quest of Christ to restore us to our First Purpose.
On Assignment to Release the Latent Potential of Creation
Humans have oversight and responsibility (rule). We’re designed to be generative and creative (fruitful). We’re to live expansively (multiply).
We’re called to exert positive influence (fill) and to cultivate things (subdue).
Adam and Eve (exemplars, prototypes) were placed in Eden to safeguard and tend it. They were assigned to release the latent potential of creation.
The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men. (Some understand the meaning of “given” as assigned from the Hebrew.)Psalm 115:16 NASB
Each of us is placed on this planet on assignment. We’re designed for something bigger than just ourselves or some false narrative. We’re created for the Narrative of Christ — the unfolding story of his kingdom and the life and brilliance of the new heavens and new earth to come (Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13).
We’re saved by grace, not by works. And yet, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB, also see verses 8 and 9).
“Workmanship” is translated from a word meaning “work of art.” The Ultimate Artisan recreates you in Christ. You are beautifully designed to experience the good works he has prepared for you — this is connected to your assignment.
Our assignment multiplies value to people and things around us. Taken together with others, our assignments serve the Larger Story of Christ.
The New Humanity — BibleProject Video
In this video, Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins and the team at the BibleProject help us understand that Jesus is now unfolding a New Story through a new humanity. Our assignments (personal mission), individually and together, are essential in this New Story.
Source: The New Humanity by The Bible Project. In the opening pages of the Bible, God appoints humans to rule the world on his behalf. But when they rebel, the biblical story leads us on a search for a new humanity that will be God’s faithful partners, forever.
Big Question: What Is Your Assignment?
Here’s another way to shape this question: what is the Creator asking you to cultivate and develop?
Is it in the realm of technology? Agriculture? Business? Medicine? Arts and entertainment? Education? Public policy? Social work? __________?
Boredom … feeling stuck … disillusioned … diminished … we don’t want to be in a place where these words describe our lives. Living in accurate alignment with mission is vital.
And I’m using vital in the sense that it not only gives life to others … it releases life to us. Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT).
Live Expansively to Achieve Real Success in Life
Adam and Eve were to live expansively. Through their descendants, they were to spread the environment of Eden throughout the earth.
What is this saying to us? We can’t live in harmony with mission if we focus only on what currently exists. Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and see the harvest.” The principle of harvest is the principle of multiplication.
The Creator is into abundant multiplication! He must find addition boring. And he certainly finds no pleasure in subtraction and division.
What about the stars (they’re still being born now)? The entire cosmos burst into existence at His spoken word. And it’s still expanding!
The cosmos is communicating!
We waste our lives if we seek our happiness and our significance without reference to Jesus Christ.John Piper
“And He took Him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord …” (Genesis 15:5-6 NASB).
Allow God to reset your perspective — look out from your place. See where He is at work.
Open up to this question:
Where is God inviting me to cooperate with Him?
Deep Connection With the Ultimate Life Coach
The Lord would walk with Adam and Even in the cool of the day. This is what theologians term a Christophany, a pre-incarnate visit of Christ on the earth. By the way, stay cool if you want to rule.
They had a conversational relationship with Christ. I believe this conversation included insight into the creation and mentoring and coaching them in their role. This is discipleship.
Yes, this has all been lost through sin and the Fall of humanity. But we have this opportunity — we can now be restored to Christ! And in this relational restoration, we are restored to our original purpose.
Related: George Washington Carver was a botanist in the 1800s who understood the calling to cultivate creation, releasing its latent potential. You Can Invite the Potential of Christ Into Anything (Jesus Smart).
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT).
We embrace the yoke of Christ. We are re-linked to Christ as we come to Him. In a real sense, we walk with Him in the cool of the day again.
Christ is the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45, also Romans 5:15-17) who restores us to our place of relationship with Him … and to our place of dominion over what He’s created. This restoration process is initiated and is underway!
Complete restoration will be realized when Christ comes again. But don’t miss this … restoration has already begun in the hearts of people and the spheres of influence they impact.
Remember that Connection With Others Is Vital to Your Assignment
The community of the Godhead created the community of marriage. Certainly, marriage is a significant connection.
The principle we see, though, is also the need to be in community in other ways too. To live expansively, to live a life of mission, we will need to create community with others.
This is the Family of God. The Society of Jesus. The Ekklesia, the Church.
Koinonia (community, partnership, fellowship) creates community. And the Kingdom Community generates Kingdom Kinetics — Kingdom energy and activity. True Kingdom Community is missional. We’re not seeking community for the sake of community alone.
Christ empowers the individual. But it’s all set within the context of relating to others. Together, we are more.
So what would it be like to live with a sense of awe about God’s Story? And to realize that our Personal Story is a part of a much Larger Story? In what ways are you being invited to live with mission?