Unhealthy vs healthy “success”

Success is good, right? But what is “success”?

A lot of people think of it in terms of career advancement, or money, or popularity.

We can even try to be “successful” when it comes to our faith. We want to be successful at praying more or reading our Bibles or serving in a particular ministry or outreach.

Those are good things.

But today I’m just going to offer a word of caution about “success” in general. It is a suspicious resident in the heart that can infiltrate motives and, in turn, corrupt our actions and character.

In his book Praying at Burger King, Richard Mouw writes, “The desire to succeed has become disconnected from the cultivation of the other virtues.”

In Proverbs 3:1, the young learner is enjoined to “not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart…” We all need the reminder to “not forget” because we are addicted to neglecting godly lessons and carving our own misguided path!

So how do you know if your pursuit of success is a healthy one?

Make sure your desire to succeed isn’t disconnected from the other virtues like honesty, generosity, humility and compassion.

When your desire to be “successful” (however you might define it) starts to body check things like honesty, generosity, humility and compassion off of your agenda, chances are you’ve gone off the rails.

“Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart…”

By Matthew Ruttan

—“What is hell like?” That is Part 3 in my “Heaven and Hell” teaching series. You can listen into the podcast here.
—Bible quotes are from the New International Version.

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