God prepares those he promotes – yet the promotion itself can be a test. Success can bring popularity and praise, which in turn easily breed moral complacency. We might begin to see ourselves as the sole author of our victories. However, this does not mean we should reject success. Rather, let us check our heart’s attitude towards it. All success is a gift from God for the purpose of serving others.
With this in mind, we return to the story of David and the people around him, who give us both positive and negative examples of responding to success.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
When we recognise that any success we receive comes from the Lord, then we can maintain the right heart attitude. We are all the stories of someone else’s success that has lifted us up. Identify one of your recent successes or something you have done well in (E.g. a promotion at work, doing well in a subject at school). How have you used that success or trait to serve others?
THINK ABOUT IT
In 1996, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals had this to say in what was called the Cambridge Declaration, which may be worth reflecting on:
“The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.”
How does this relate to the message today? How should we think about success, in relation to our worship?
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)