BY JEFF WEDDLE
There is a hidden danger lurking out there. You never know when it will strike. Few are even aware of it. Its strike may even go unnoticed at first. Then, when it’s too late, you’ll realize it got you. But by then your faith may be destroyed, sin may have multiplied, and you may be snared in an inescapable trap.
What is this unnoticed, lurking danger that can ruin faith?
It’s the danger of success.
Now, if you‘re like me, and Lord help you if you are, success is a pretty rare thing. But even losers get lucky sometimes. I have had a couple moments of success. Inevitably I will take a fall shortly thereafter.
There have been a number of job successes where I absolutely nailed it. I get a big head. Come home and get offended and ticked off that my family doesn’t respect the awesomeness that is me.
There have even been some sporting successes in my life. A game-winning hit seems like such a good thing. But then I flaunt it, end up acting like a jerk to the losing team of nice old Baptist guys in church league softball. Oops.
Sometimes you just have a day where you feel good. You’re not sick, you have no major pains, things are clicking. Your exuberant energy, typically not there, ends up making you into a spasmodic annoyance. You even begin to think your health and well-being is due to your awesome intellect that figured out how to be awesomely healthy.
The Bible has many stories of people who had success, only to shortly thereafter completely blow it.
David, after years of conquering many kings, stays home and gets himself messed up in adultery and murder. Later in life he glories over his massive kingdom and all the people in it. After counting his minions, judgment came.
Solomon lives at the pinnacle of Jewish blessing, yet through his carelessness, his nation is divided.
Nebuchadnezzar looks at the amazing kingdom he built; everything was going so well and looked so good! Within weeks he’s crawling on all fours eating grass like a wild animal.
Hezekiah was going to die but then got better. This led him to show off all his treasures to the enemy, who later came and took all that treasure away.
As a pastor, I have people call me all the time asking me to pray for them. Typically these prayers surround health problems, money problems, family problems, and various other problems. I am more than happy to pray for such things, as they deserve our prayers.
However, it’s been a long time since someone asked me to pray for them because their job was going so well. Yet how many times do promotions lead to spiritual destruction as you’re taken out of the home more and begin spending new found money?
Do you pray for help when you are feeling good? Good health can make us insensitive to those who are hurting. It can lead to pride and judgmentalism. Do you pray for help when you are doing well financially? The Bible has more warnings about being rich than about being poor.
You have to be careful with everything in life. Satan is a deceiver and he can use any event, good, bad or indifferent, to get you to trip. Pain has a way of getting our attention. Success has a way of numbing us to danger.
I’m not telling you not to appreciate good stuff. Be thankful for all things. At the same time know that success is often more dangerous than failure.
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Jeff Weddle is the husband of one wife and father of three kids. He is pastor of Rhinelander Bible Church in Rhinelander, WI. He enjoys reading, writing, guitaring, and although he does not enjoy running, he tends to do that a lot, too. You can contact him on Twitter at @anti_itcher or at his blog: AntiItchMeditation.wordpress.com.