If one would measure success in the eyes of the world, among other enviable people in their day, singer Whitney Houston would be at the top. She once had the fame, talent, beauty and money. Just like thousands of others, if they were kings, presidents, athletes, doctors, inventors, singers or whomever, there is no Biblical evidence that Whitney Houston was at peace with God when she departed. Whitney Houston had incredible singing talent, as did Elvis Presley, yet sang for the devil and got involved in drugs! They are just two, of many entertainers, who succumbed to the pain, temporal temptations and glamour connected with being popular.
Elvis Presley was raised in a seemingly Christian home and had that major advantage, to no avail. He went the wrong way and with his singing talents led many into immorality, as he got extremely rich and famous by doing so. Elvis Presley was so popular in his day, decades after his untimely death on Aug. 16, 1977, he is still unforgotten and well known! Like Marilyn Monroe, he still has devoted fans decades later!
So the question comes back around to what is real success? Did Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston succeed in life? If fame and money are success, then yes, but that is not the criterion. Can real success be anything apart from God? If a business man becomes the first, best and only in his field of expertise and becomes a multi-billionaire like Bill Gates, has he been a real success in life? Not according to the Bible! True success is dying in Christ. It is having a pure heart, at the point of death, to enter God’s holy presence, which means everlasting peace and joy. Entering eternal life after death is real success and the only true success.
**An important point needs to be observed here. The general tendency and deception in this life is to seek riches, and if you get wealthy, you have succeeded. Even some Christians gauge their life’s success with their secular job when in darkness! Even from a darkened point of view, it should be apparent that the super well-known and ultra rich often go through multiple marriages, get addicted to drugs and often die a suicide or homicide! Others have had their children kidnaped for ransom money or have been robbed. How can trouble and pain like that be connected to success? I once knew a man whose brother won the million dollar lottery, but had to split it with others. His share was still great and his life was so adversely changed he had to move and go into somewhat hiding because so many friends and relatives were asking him for a loan! Money or its temptation can be the down fall of a person. It can also keep one from eternal life, as with the rich, young ruler. After he walked away from Jesus, still in his sins over his wealth, the Lord Jesus said of him:
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23)
So real success is entering the kingdom of God and escaping the lake of fire. That should be our chief number one goal. Some have lost their wealth, health, reputation, family and lives to come to salvation or to hold on to it. Were they a success? Yes, but in the eyes of the world they were fools, when they were really wise! So in the end, who succeeded with their one uncertain life? Who would you rather be if you could go the extreme? If Whitney Houston and Elvis Presley could relive their lives, do you think they would do things differently? NO DOUBT!
If you are following Jesus now, you have the very best this life can offer, but also remember that the godly can be deceived away from Jesus and that is why the devil keeps tempting! You must endure the hatred, loneliness and continue in Christ to the end to ultimately succeed in this life. I once evangelized with a man, who had a glowing testimony and powerful ability to street preach after he was saved. About 15 years later he testified, after he returned to God how he backslid and definitely knew he was lost during that time. He also said he previously thought he would never backslide, but still did! Judas Iscariot was once a godly man, who departed this life to a fiery nightmare. Remember him and take warning. To say he was never saved is to dull the intensity of this spiritual warfare and protect the heresy of eternal security, which has led millions of previously saved people into sin and spiritual death. Judas was a once a godly preacher, who held the highest office in the church, was sound in doctrine, but became immoral and went to hell. He too died a failure.
For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Pet 1:24,25)