THE IDOL OF SUCCESS. I’m currently reading a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s a very interesting read. There’s so many parallels between current events and what took place in Germany. The majority of the churches were silent, in fact most of them consented to Nazi tactics and propaganda, even celebrating the monstrosities that were taking place. I highly recommend this book.

I was thinking about success this morning and how Bonhoeffer seemed to think that Hitler’s drive was from a desire to succeed at all costs. In his book “Ethics”, Bonhoeffer wrote about the way people worship success. He wrote, “In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity.

The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done….with a frankness and off-handedness which no other earthly power could permit itself, history appeals in its own cause to the dictum that the end justifies the means.” Brilliance.

How many times have you heard that “the end justifies the means”? People have done horrible things in order to succeed; they lie, steal, cheat, destroy relationships, and even murder another to achieve success. Success is most definitely an American idol. People are driven by a need to be famous and have their name known, a need to be rich, have power, heck I know people that try so hard to succeed in order to outrun their past.

Have you ever watched a talk show about people who were a certain way in high school and want to show their classmates who they are now? You made fun of me, but look what I have accomplished! A need to succeed at all costs. But does God ask us to “succeed”? Not in worldly terms.

God does not ask us to succeed. He asks us to be obedient. Look at the history of the Bible. Moses did not bring the children of Israel into the promised land. That generation died in the wilderness. Jeremiah’s ministry was a prophetic ministry to a rebellious people that were never going to repent. Destruction was inevitable. Jeremiah declared God’s message for forty years, warning of coming disaster and appealing in vain to the nation to turn back to God. The other OT prophets have similar stories. Most prophesied to rebellious kings that rejected God’s Word and the kingdom fell further into apostasy.

David was king as God promised, but his children rose up in mutiny against him. The apostle Paul died alone in prison with everyone forsaking him. Peter was crucified, as it was recorded, upside down. In fact all apostles minus John were martyred. Read your Bible. It’s chocked full of stories of men and women who did not have “success” in their ministry, at least not as the world defines success; but these beautiful saints were obedient unto their death. “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill. What a great quote! I love Churchill’s definition of success.

Life is seasons of hills and valleys and everything in between. If you cannot manage and navigate through failure, you will quit. I define success as never quitting. If I fall, I get up and keep going. If I sin, I repent and keep going. If I am rejected, I shake off the dust and keep going. If I am discouraged, I pour my heart out to the Lord and encourage myself in His strength, and keep going. When the enemy comes against me like a flood seeking to destroy, the Lord will create a standard against him and I must rise up, dry off and keep going. When arrows are formed against me, they will not prosper; I must not lose heart but rather guard my heart and keep going.

Whether we are on the mountain top or walking through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us; keep going. Churchill said this, “If you are going through hell, keep going”. We are not promised we will not go through things, we are promised He goes with us,“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-2‬ ‭“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” Micah‬ ‭7:8‬ ‭

A huge ministry full of apostates is not success. A large following on social media just means you are popular with the crowd. This is not success. Riches, honor and fame with the world are not success. The only success God defines is faith in Him and obedience to His Word. One plants the seeds and another waters. God gives the increase. You do your part and let God do His part. Just don’t quit. Keep going. #runyourrace

To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page

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