How to Live a Successful Christian Life

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” - Proverbs 3:5-6

“Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” - Proverbs 4:27


Wesley Merritt, a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War and superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1882 to 1887, stated:

“The principles of life as taught in the Bible, the inspired Word, and exemplified in the matchless life of Him ‘who spoke as never man spoke,’ are the rules for moral action which have resulted in civilizing the world. The testimony of great men, like Gladstone and his fellow statesmen; like Havelock and his fellow soldiers, who have made the teachings of the Scriptures their rule of conduct in life, are wonderful helps to men of lesser note and smaller intellectual and moral powers. One example, even of the smallest of these, more than offsets the efforts of an hundred unbelievers in active opposition. They are worthy followers of the religion of the Bible, and in their daily lives interpret the inimitable example and Divine precepts of the Son of God, our Savior.” [1]


In the Bible, God instructs us how to be successful in our civic, family, and spiritual lives.


Civic Responsibility

We learn in God’s word how to be the best citizen, employee, and employer. For example, Romans 13:1-2 states “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” The key principle in this passage is that our obedience to civic laws demonstrates our reverence towards God. Furthermore, God commands us to honestly pay our taxes in Romans 13:5-6: “Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”


God expects Christians to be an example in all aspects of their lives including at work, school, and when they participate on a sports team. We learn in Ephesians 6:5-6 that we should conduct ourselves as servants of Christ in all that we do: “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” God also instructs leaders to treat their employees with respect in Ephesians 6:9: “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”


In this quote from 1951, General Douglas MacArthur emphasizes the importance of heeding God’s wisdom: “In this day of gathering storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation was founded; for it has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth. History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” [1]


Family Responsibility

The following quote by President Ronald Reagan emphasizes the importance of the family: “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms. In the family, we learn our first lessons of God and man, love and discipline, rights and responsibilities, human dignity and human frailty. Our families give us daily examples of these lessons being put into practice. In raising and instructing our children, in providing personal and compassionate care for the elderly, in maintaining the spiritual strength of religious commitment among our people – in these and in other ways, America’s families make immeasurable contributions to America’s well-being. Today, more than ever, it is essential that these contributions not be taken for granted and that each of us remember that the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.” [1]  


In God’s word, we learn how to be successful Christian spouses and parents. This starts with recognizing that Satan is conducting an all-out assault on families. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website reports that there were ~800,000 divorces and annulments in 2014. Jesus states in Matthew 19:8-9, “‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’” 


We also learn in Malachi 2:15-16, “But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”


There are two guiding principles in God’s word that help us avoid falling into temptation. First, He warns us that “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Second, God commands us to “put to death your members which are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).


We also learn in Ephesians Chapter 5 and 1 Peter Chapter 3 how we should treat our family. Husbands are to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). God commands children in Ephesians 6:2 that they are to “‘Honor your father and mother’, which is the first commandment with a promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’.” This principle is also found in Deuteronomy 5:16.


Spiritual Responsibility

This quote by President Theodore Roosevelt from 1917 illustrates that God’s word is the source of true morality: “In his farewell address to his countryman, Washington said: ‘Morality is a necessary spring of popular government … and let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.’” [1]


In God’s word, we learn what we must do to be saved, what happens if we fail to obey, and why it is important to obey God today. Mark 16:16 states “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” We learn in Romans 6:4 that baptism is immersion, not sprinkling or pouring: “Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Revelation 22:27 warns us that “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” We learn in 2 Corinthians 6:2 that “now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” And God cautions us how uncertain our lives are in James 4:13-14: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”



Proverbs 3:5-6 and Proverbs 4:27 remind us that God’s word is the true source of wisdom for how to live a successful Christian life. We will not reach our goal of spending eternity with God in heaven if we are not mindful of our civic, family, and spiritual responsibilities. The foundational principle that we should put into practice is “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. [1] Lee, R.G. General Editor. The American Patriots Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America. Thomas Nelson: Nashville. 2009. pp. 1039, 1367, 1411 & 1421.