From Survival to Significance

For a long time, I have believed that one of satan’s chief strategies is to reduce our lives to mere survival. Survival means living from day to day, just to be able to “make it” for the next day without any real goal or meaning. Each day becomes a meaningless grind of tedious effort with no end in sight. Consequently, it is God’s will for you to find significance as you find the purpose He has laid out for you.


How many of us are living in survival mode – just enough energy and effort to get by – just enough busyness to live on par with mediocrity.  Somehow, I don’t think that God meant us to live only to plug the holes in our proverbial dam.


This is where significance comes into the picture.  Significance can be confused with success.  Though you can have both, there are not mutually exclusive.  How many famous people who met tragic deaths had success without significance?  Significance has to do with meaningful purpose.  What good is success without purpose?


On the other hand, there have been those who did not appear successful, yet lived their lives with great purpose.  Henri Nouwen was a person who left a lucrative career as a professor to help the mentally impaired.  “Modern Carrier Philosophy” will call what Mr. Nouwen did a step down, but Jesus sees this kind of stepping down as a step up.  Therein lies significance, following the will of God. It is difficult to feel significant in a culture that defines success as “possessions”, “numbers”, largeness, or simply having “more”. I suppose people like Jeremiah would have felt like an utter failure in our culture because of these definitions of success.


So, if you are just surviving, stop seeking success and begin finding significance by discovering the will of God for your life.  If it is His will, no matter how difficult or challenging, you will find meaning.  You can endure almost anything when you know it has meaning. When one loses sight of their meaning, it’s another story. This person despairs and gives up because they suffer without the belief that there pain means something.  Being a martyr in this fashion is not God’s plan.


Success tends to be external, significance internal. The Bible speaks of “prospering as your soul prospers”. The quality of your soul’s purpose determines the measure of your external success. God wants us to prosper from our soul upward.