Secrets of Success

Last month during a meeting of the Chicagoland Christian Writers Group, a member spoke about fear of success coming from the sneaky suspicion that our writing is not as good as it ought to be. Maybe we suffer from a Moses complex, you know, "Surely God has made a mistake - shouldn't someone else carry this message?" She spoke about giving ourselves over to the belief that God is the author of our talents and has made no mistake.

As I listened, I realized that I don't suffer from a Moses complex. Yes, I fear success, but for an entirely different reason. My fear is wrapped up in pride.

Pride has been an on-going sin-problem for me. It seems that most everything I've undertaken to do reaped praise, and I've not been quick to give God the glory. Rather, I tend to exhibit a peacock complex: preening rather than praising. I wonder, "If I attain success, will I lose all humility and suffer the displeasure of God?" I wonder, "Is all pride sin?"

Galatians 6:4 tells me, "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." Not all pride is sin, but there are qualifiers to this sanctified pride.

The key is to test our actions, but against what? Other Scriptures instruct us to test "the spirit" to be sure the message is from God. (I John 4:1) For me, I ask, "From where does this desire to write (substitute your own call) originate? Is this a summons from God, or do I simply believe I have some personal wisdom to impart?"

Then there is the warning against comparisons. It would be easy for any of us to fall in one of two directions. If I compare my work against yours, and find it lacking, I may lose hope and my call could be silenced. Or, I may think my work is better than yours and presto! Pride pops up to spoil the call.

For me it all comes down to this: Did God give me this desire? If so, my success is not dependent on me, or how my call stacks up against another's. My success is totally dependent on my obedience to follow the call.

July 21, 2009 at 7:00 PM

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