It is oftentimes easier to handle adversity than it is success. So much is written about how to handle the tough times of life – many of our failures come in the successful times. My Dad used to say, “It is hard to hold a full cup with a steady hand, especially if that cup was filled rapidly.”
Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel. On their journey to the promise land they came to the highly fortified city of Jericho. They had to conquer Jericho in order to continue.
Joshua 6 tells the beautiful story of how the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand with its king and the valiant warriors.” God promised Joshua victory. A big part of becoming successful is to listen to God when He promises the victory before you even have to enter the battle!
God then gave His battle plan to Joshua. You would never find this military strategy taught at at Maxwell Air Force Base or Fort Benning. It was totally unconventional. His plan involved using trumpets of rams horns, circling the city, shouting, etc. Always remember – God knows best. The outcome of the battle is already decided if you follow God’s plan – there is a good chance you are going to fail if you follow your own plan.
The Israelites were successful. A part of God’s plan is given in Joshua 6:19 when He told them that all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron were to be given back to the Lord. The Israelites could have anything else they wanted, but those items were to go into the Lord’s treasury.
Now God was going to give them the victory, but He gave one simple rule of what was to be returned to Him. In all of their success of conquering Jericho, they began to think that they could make their own rules about what to do with the gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Joshua 7:1 says, “But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things that God had forbidden: therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.”
Success – it came in an amazing way, but the Israelites couldn’t handle it. All of us are like the Israelites.
Success ought to always bring gratitude to the One who granted us the success. No individual wins battles or accomplishes things on his/her own. God uses people to help make us successful. Behind every successful man you usually find three persons: his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones! If you ever see a turtle sitting on stump, you know he didn’t get there by himself.
Success can lead to gratitude or to pride. Whenever success turns a man’s head, he is on the verge of failure.
We live in the wealthiest nation and have the finest amenities of life. God has given this country success, but success always comes with responsibilities. God said that we should love Him and have no other gods before Him. He said we should seek first His kingdom (Matt. 6:33).
Evaluate your success in terms of what kind of attitude it gives to you. If success gives an attitude of gratitude, then it is genuine success. If it creates an arrogant attitude, success ultimately means failure.
How successful are you?