How Successful Are You?

Successful man in a business suit raises his arms in front of a skyscraper.

HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE YOU?

Everybody wants to be successful, but sometimes success can be the worst thing that happens to a person. People can deal with adversity much easier than they can with success. Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

I remember hearing my Dad say, “It’s difficult to hold a full cup steady, especially if that cup was filled rapidly.” We’re living in a time in history where we have enjoyed tremendous success in our economy, technology, health improvements, etc. Our cups are full and running over!

Keith Richards, quoted in the New York Post, said, “Fame has killed more very talented guys than drugs. Jimi Hendrix didn’t die of an overdose – he died of fame.”

Success can easily give a false sense of accomplishment. It can lead to a prideful attitude that we have accomplished things on our own. The more that attitude prevails, the more we drift away from God and the less we allow our success to be used to fulfill God’s purpose.

I have witnessed several friends who became successful quickly. I’ll never forget the tears of a high school girl who was extremely popular. One day, she told me that she wished her family could go back to 6 years earlier when they had very few material possessions. Her dad hit it lucky and made a lot of money. It changed their priorities. They had everything they wanted materially but didn’t have the things that had made them a family. They didn’t have time for church or God anymore. She pleaded with me to pray that God would take away their material successes and restore the things that had made them a happy family.

I’ve seen some wonderful athletes who sign a big professional athletic contract. All of a sudden, they have a lot of money. For many of them, the money didn’t last long. They discovered they had more friends and relatives than they had ever dreamed – and all of them wanted a portion of the newly acquired money. Someone has said, “Success is relative – the more success, the more relatives.”

Uzziah became King of Judah and was “a good king in the Lord’s sight.” (2 Chronicles 26:4) He followed God’s leading under Zechariah’s leadership and was successful and God blessed him. (vs. 4-15)

But he could not handle success. “At that point, he became proud and corrupt.” (v.16) He forgot what God had done for him. He disobeyed God.  (vs.14-18) His inability to handle success led to a life of disaster, and he became a leper until his death. (v.19)

I’m writing this because I want us all to be successful if that success is an asset and not a liability. I want success to lead us to a humble rather than a prideful lifestyle. I want success to lead us to a deeper worship of God rather than drifting to worship what we think we have accomplished.  Success can be either a stepping stone or a stumbling block.  It’s your choice!

How successful are you?

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