The gossip magazines are full of stories about famous, beautiful and rich people who have been victims of their own success. Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson are perfect examples. In spite of this, the majority of people persist in believing that fame and fortune guarantee happiness.
No one wants to fail. Yet God often allows failures in our lives to draw us closer to Himself. The completely successful person often gives himself the credit. He often becomes puffed up with pride. He may acknowledge God’s supremacy, but may never humble himself before God and may never admit his need of God’s mercy.
Those who are successful often take their success for granted. The young beautiful woman, who is used to slavish attention from men, often fails to consider that her beauty will fade. The Chief Executive Officer, President or Bishop often fails to consider that he will retire from his position and lose much of the respect and adulation that came with it.
The successful person often becomes over confident. He may believe that he is infallible. He may fail to plan with caution or respect the advice of others. He often becomes reckless. Very successful people are often insulated from criticism or contradiction. Ordinary people are usually eager to win their approval and are likely to be patronizing. Accustomed to the adulation and the subordination of others, successful people often become blind to their spiritual poverty. They may never turn to God and humbly beg for His forgiveness.
It’s true that “losers” may be just as prideful and just as blind to their own sinfulness. Like most successful people, “losers” are usually convinced that worldly success is everything. They often sin by being envious and even hateful of those who are more successful.
Ultimately, the spiritual danger arises not so much in whether or not one achieves worldly success, but in the importance one places on it and on one’s motives. The godly person may seek financial security, well-behaved children, a happy marriage, secure employment and good health but he does not do so to attain status or to live in immoderate luxury. He is not prideful, snobbish or hedonistic. He respects and associates with those who are less successful.
The foolish man seeks success for self-aggrandizement and to satisfy his lust for luxury. The wise man seeks to serve God above all else. In the end, that is true and everlasting success.