For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
There’s no argument about whether or not God wants you and I to be successful in life (Joshua 1:8). His Word is full of examples of success stories. After all to be blessed is to empowered to succeed.
However, the Lord Jesus here issues a stark warning against an unbridled quest for success. The basic message is that temporal success at the expense of eternal life is folly of the highest magnitude. Earthly victory is pointless if it results in heavenly loss.
That means we must not sacrifice our eternal life on the altar of material gain. Success is meaningless if you can’t live to enjoy it. Don’t let your spiritual life suffer on account of your physical goals.
I fear that many Christians today don’t get the balance right. How can you tell if you are running the risk of gaining the world at the expense of your soul? One way to tell is if worldly concerns matter to you more than heavenly matters do.
If you prefer to play than to pray, or to feast when it’s fasting time, or to pay your taxes but not your tithes, beware. If you care more about the world than the Word, or for entertainment over empowerment or for human applause over Divine approval, beware. If you value your job more than your ministry, or respect your boss more than your pastor or trust science above Scripture, beware.