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“How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

When Kobe Bryant was young, he said he went an entire season without scoring a single basket. Instead of being upset with him, Kobe said his dad gave him a hug and told him, "Listen, whether you score 0 or score 60, I'm going to love you no matter what."

What really matters? We all want to win, but what really matters? How do you measure success?

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets and miracle workers in the Bible. He came along after the death of King Solomon. Because Solomon turned from God by marrying so many foreign women and worshipping other gods, God grew angry with him and told him, “I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant (1 Kings 11:11).”

The kingdom of Israel then falls apart and separates into two different kingdoms - a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom.

Each kingdom had different kings come and go, and the Bible measures the success of each king by a few criteria:

1 - Did they worship God alone, or did they promote the worship of other gods too?

2 - Did they deal with idolatry? 3 - Did they remain faithful to the covenant like David, or do they become corrupt or unjust?

Many of the kings had prophets whose role was to speak to them on God’s behalf, they made sure people were following God’s covenant, and they reminded the people of their calling to be a light to others, to obey the demands of God. They held everyone accountable.

Elijah was one of those prophets. He came when the northern King Ahab and his Canaanite wife Jezebel had instituted the worship of the Canaanite God, Baal, over Israel. In a famous story, Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a contest to see which god was real. They both built altars and prayed to their gods, but only the God of Israel answered with fire.

Elijah passes prophetic leadership down to Elisha. They both confronted Israel’s kings for idolatry and injustice, but they were ultimately unsuccessful.

How do you measure success? Of course, we can easily measure success by wins and losses. The kings and queens of that time measured success by land, power, and wealth. But what really matters?

In Matthew 7:15-20, it is written:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

But what are the fruits?

Galatians 5:22-23, says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Elijah told the people to make a choice. The kings were measured by their ability to follow God’s law. One way we can measure ourselves is by our fruits, and how much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control we have.

Finally, in Matthew 22, the religious leaders ask Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus said the most important way for us to measure success is by how much we love God, how much we love ourselves, and how much we love our neighbors.


1 - How do you measure success? How do you measure a successful day, week, or year?

2 - How does the fruit of the spirit impact how you measure success? 3 - How does Jesus’s greatest commandment impact how you measure success?

Love Is…

In 1 Corinthians 13:4–8God gave us a very clear definition of love:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

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