There’s a lot of talk about success. As my kids get older and leave the house for college, they are surrounded by success talk and how they need to take over the world and be the best.
I heard a good phrase the other day, went something like, “there should be less talk about success and more talk about excellence.”
I think that’s spot-on. Do a good job; don’t worry about definers of success.
For most, “success” means money, followers, recognition, and other physical measurements of accomplishment. None of which necessarily mean anything. One of the Kardashians has over 100 million Twitter followers.
To most, 100 million Twitter followers is success. I would not accuse any Kardashian of being successful! That’s not success in my book.
I don’t want my kids to succeed if succeed means selling your soul to get money, fame, and celebrity. That stuff ruins people.
One of the pitfalls, the inherent weaknesses, of the Old Covenant was that success would be the result of listening to God.
If Israel kept their law they would dwell in their land and defeat enemies and have material success. God knew from the outset this would be devastating to them.
For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant.
Remember this is said before they even got in the Land! God knew what was going to happen. Sure enough Israel gets success under Solomon and he gets arrogant, disobeys God, and the nation is divided.
The New Covenant is altogether different. We’re told repeatedly in the New Testament that if we listen to God bad things will happen to us!
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
–2 Timothy 3:12
Following Christ results in Christlike results. Christ was crucified. That’s why following Christ is referred to as “taking up the cross.”
We are counted as sheep for the slaughter. We are killed all the day long. Mortify your members on the earth. Present your body a living sacrifice.
No one likes this message. The popular Christian message is “follow Christ and you’ll get health and wealth.” What’s the difference between that and the Old Covenant’s “follow the law and you’ll get health and wealth?”
The Old Covenant didn’t work. The New Covenant, which is better according to the Book of Hebrews, keeps us from the trap of material success.
The New Covenant begins with us humbly receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then leads to humbly having the mind of Christ, who was a servant who laid down His life for others.
The New Covenant keeps us humble and keeps us from the trap of material success. We’re told that you can’t serve God and mammon–mammon represents material success.
Watch out for success and even for the lustful desire to accomplish material success. It destroys the soul.