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Nobody likes failing. We enjoy success; we like to achieve things, especially if others notice and cheer us on.

So, what does the Bible teach us about success – about finding success or being successful?

In the Old Testament, individuals found success as they prayed and trusted God for help in achieving something. For example, Abraham’s servant found success in finding a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24 and we are told that David was successful in all of his battles after defeating Goliath (see 1 Sam 18: 30). The book of Proverbs even tells us that The Lord “holds success in store for the upright” (Prov 2: 7).


But, interestingly, the word doesn’t seem to exist in the New Testament!

However, the New Testament does have a lot to say about fruitfulness. For example, Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15: 8).

Much fruit. Did you notice that? The purpose of being a disciple of Jesus is to bear fruit. Much fruit.


What is the fruit Jesus wants us to bear? What does it look like? Let’s break this down into two areas:

  1. The Lord wants every Christian believer to bear fruit personally.

Every graduate from Sunday school knows Galatians 5: 22, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” God wants to grow and develop those characteristics in our hearts and everyday practices, and it is an ongoing process throughout our lives.


  1. As important as the fruits of the Spirit are, God also wants churches to be fruitful.

Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Church asserts that we can measure the fruitfulness of a local church by looking for the following things:

  1. Is there Repentance? For example, in Matt 3: 8, Jesus challenged the Pharisees to “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”.
  2. Do the church members practice truth? Paul prayed that the Colossian church will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work”.
  3. There will be answered prayer. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15: 7).
  4. People will share and give. Christ-like character will be formed and displayed in their lives.
  5. And lastly, there will be a steady stream of unbelievers coming to Christ. “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles… I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome …” (Rom 1: 13 – 15)


How do you think your church is doing? Is it healthy? Is it fruitful?

If not, what can be done to change that?