Consider all the people who appear to be successful based on many popular definitions… rich, famous, popular, … Consider how many of them we see fall or get tripped up in that success. Success isn’t the top, it is part of the journey and once you get to it, the foundation you have built gets tested. Consider those who become famous and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become rich and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become popular and how their marriages end up. Be it marriage, be it drugs, be it alcohol, be it … (pick the thing that stops, pulls down, pulls back people who have success). Some become rich and then within a couple of years are broke again (checkout lottery winners). Some become famous and then within some time their personal lives are shaken. Success isn’t easy. Success isn’t a destination. I remember a few years back going through the TGIF – Today God Is First devotional and there was a devotion on this topic. It calls out the fact that “Pride is the greatest temptation to a successful workplace minister. When we begin accumulating wealth, managing people, and becoming known for our workplace expertise, we are most susceptible to falling to the most devious sin in God’s eyes — pride.” – Os Hillman
God’s Word speaks to this truth and warning in Deuteronomy:
17-18If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.19-20If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God. — Deut 8:17-20
My reading this morning that got me started in this blog starts off with the statement “The Money Has Gone to Your Head“. This all comes down to our foundation. What are we standing for? What are we standing on? What is our rock? What is our foundation? What is our cornerstone in life? Do we understand who the source of every good and perfect thing is? Do we understand that we only have it because He gave it to us? Do we? It’s not because we are all that. It’s not because we are so good. It’s not because we are so good looking. It’s not because we are so popular. It’s not because of us and the sooner we see and realize that the sooner we can look to avoid the pitfalls of PRIDE. Pride, the word that comes before the fall. As I was trying to find the link about the challenge of success, I came across some other devotionals that align with some of my statements here too: The Proper Foundation, God’s Tests, Obedience-Based Decisions Versus Skill and Ability, Finding The Will Of God, and many more… looking for a great devotional, check out http://TodayGodIsFirst.com.
If you have all the wealth in the world, is that really going to be enough? Is earthly wealth really going to be enough to satisfy you? Isn’t life really more than just wealth? Isn’t life really more than just me, me, me? Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let it rob you of true joy. Don’t let it rob you of the incredible position that God has put you in to be able to be a blessing to others. You have been blessed, so what will you do with it? Will you use it wisely? Will you it to be a blessing? Will you make it about others? Be wise, invest, multiply it, but it’s not about how much more can you make, but what can you do with what God has given you. Are you willing to walk aligned with God’s will? Are you willing to be obedient to what He asks you to do with what He has given you? Consider the trust it takes to live on 90% of your earnings. Consider how you are showing your trust in God by giving Him the best, the first 10% of what you get. Consider the faith it takes to to really trust God. His Word is filled with wisdom. His Spirit is with us and if we will be walking in relationship with God, the Spirit will guide us and lead us, instruct us and correct us so that we can keep in steps with God’s will and God’s plan for our lives.
So check your pride at the door. Imagine if you “made it” to what you think is the top and then received this message:
“You had everything going for you.You were in Eden, God’s garden.You were dressed in splendor,your robe studded with jewels:Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone,beryl, onyx, and jasper,Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald,all in settings of engraved gold.A robe was prepared for youthe same day you were created.You were the anointed cherub.I placed you on the mountain of God.You strolled in magnificenceamong the stones of fire.From the day of your creationyou were sheer perfection . . .and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you.In much buying and sellingyou turned violent, you sinned!I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God.I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub.No more strolling among the gems of fire for you!Your beauty went to your head.You corrupted wisdomby using it to get worldly fame.I threw you to the ground,sent you sprawling before an audience of kingsand let them gloat over your demise.By sin after sin after sin,by your corrupt ways of doing business,you defiled your holy places of worship.So I set a fire around and within you.It burned you up. I reduced you to ashes.All anyone sees nowwhen they look for you is ashes,a pitiful mound of ashes.All who once knew younow throw up their hands:‘This can’t have happened!This has happened!’” — Ezekiel 28:6-19
Is money bad? No, having money isn’t bad and as God’s Word says it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Is being famous bad? No, being raised up to a high position allows you the opportunity to speak the truth, the love, the hope of God into the lives of those around you. If you build relationships, it opens doors where you can speak the love of Jesus into their lives and be an ambassador for the most High God, the one true God. Is being popular bad? No, it allows you to be able to speak into the lives of others. It draws others to you and if you point others to the way, the truth, and the life for their is no other way to the Father. It’s the intent. It’s what is in you heart. Where are you at today?
Let’s focus on being a light that stands for something. Let’s reflect the light of the Sun. Let’s not be rockets that just fly into the sky and explode. They are nice during celebrations and then they are gone. They are temporary, yes our time on earth is temporary, however, we are eternal beings and as such we have to decide where we will spend eternity. Do you want to spend it with God or apart from God? Do you want to celebrate eternity in Heaven with God? It’s all about choices. God is the God of second chances. You reading this? Then it’s not too late for you. You can still turn back to God. You can take what you have and where you are and turn back to God and align with His plans and purposes for your life. Is today your day? Is today the day you stop walking and trying to do it all on your own and you ask Jesus to come into your heart and help turn your life around? To live for His plans and purposes? He’s given you everything you have. He’s got plans for every talent you have. He’s got plans for every gift He’s given you. What are you going to do? Has it all gone to your head? Is the pride of life getting you off track?
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. — 1 John 2:15-17
When people think of you, what do they remember?
Are you someone who has been pouring into the lives of others? Are you someone who have been taking out of the lives of others? Are you someone who is uplifting? Are you someone who is a drain and pulling them down? Are you some who gives handouts or someone who gives a hand up? One is fire and forget…One is I care enough to get involved, to reach out and help.
I like my daily reading plan. Each day ends with a Psalm. Today being day 192, I read from Psalm 42. Are you feeling down today? Are you feeling sad or depressed? Not sure what to do or where to turn? Psalm speaks right to it as I remember days of doubt and despair, days of betrayal and lies, but this was a reminder to me not to give up.
5Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?Why are you crying the blues?Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again.He puts a smile on my face.He’s my God.6-8When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearseeverything I know of you,From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,including Mount Mizar.Chaos calls to chaos,to the tune of whitewater rapids.Your breaking surf, your thundering breakerscrash and crush me.Then God promises to love me all day,sing songs all through the night!My life is God’s prayer.9-10Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,“Why did you let me down?Why am I walking around in tears,harassed by enemies?”They’re out for the kill, thesetormentors with their obscenities,Taunting day after day,“Where is this God of yours?”11Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?Why are you crying the blues?Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again.He puts a smile on my face.He’s my God. — Psalm 42:5-11