Success or Victory?

Success is a term that is used commonly in the business world. Victory is a term that is used for combat. Which is the better picture of a church?


By Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong



One of the key things in life is to distinguish the difference between success and victory.


Often times in life, we tend to focus on success rather than victory. Success is a term that is used commonly in the business world. Victory is a term that is used for combat. Which is the better picture of a church? A business or an army? Did Paul not exhort us to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ?


Here is another way of looking at it. When Jesus died on the Cross, did He look like a success? Everyone thought He was a failure. All His disciples forsook Him. As far as they were concerned, Jesus failed. But what happened at the Cross? The victim became the greatest victor! He gained the victory and overcame the power of sin and death. He did not look successful, but He certainly was victorious.


The Book of Proverbs says that a man who has control over his spirit is better than a man who can take a city. This is fascinating. You can take a city and look successful, but if you can’t even control your own spirit, what is the point?


Do not focus on what astonishes, focus on what transforms.

A pastor of 50 who can control his spirit is better, according to my Bible, than a pastor of 5,000 who cannot. One has victory, but the other merely looks successful. But what is true success? Contend to be victorious, not just to look successful. You can fool most people most of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time, especially God. We must strive to live an authentic Christian life.


In ancient Rome, when a victorious General returned from the Great War campaigns, they would be paraded through the streets. As he was paraded before the adoring crowds, a servant, whose job it was to repeat to the General, “memento mori” always trailed him. This is Latin for: “Remember, you’ll die”.


The reason for this was to remind the General that although he was victorious in that moment, and the crowds loved him, one day, he would face reality and inevitably die. It was a reminder of his mortality and also to keep things in perspective, and to instill humility.


No matter how successful we are and become, we must always be reminded of our mortality and weaknesses; which is why Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 7:2 that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting. It reminds us of our mortality and that this world is only transient. Do not focus on what astonishes, focus on what transforms.


Our worship services are not a matter of gathering the faithful, but drawing the presence of God.

There are many megachurches around. But if they are just mega in numbers, and micro in quality, then what is the point? My mentor and spiritual father, Dr. Brian Bailey once shared this with us. He said that there were two leading churches in a city. One only had 200 and the other, 3,000. The Lord gave a lady in the fellowship a vision. In the church of 3,000, she saw only 11 candlesticks, but in the church of 200, there were 200 candlesticks. Which church was more successful in the eyes of the Lord?


Ultimately, it matters not how many people we have in Cornerstone – what matters is, are we burning in our hearts for Him? Do we love Him with everything we have got? Are we growing in the Lord? We must ensure that whilst we are growing numerically, we keep the standards high. Our worship services are not a matter of gathering the faithful, but drawing the presence of God.




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