Posted by: Tamara Harrison | June 7, 2011

The Seduction of Success

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“Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind” {Ecclesiastes 3:4}

I started this blog because I wanted a way to spread the good news about Jesus Christ and to encourage others in their journey of faith. Honest, those were my motivations. Well the world has a funny way of twisting your once noble motives into sin-drenched desires.

I was welcomed to this online world with a massive number of avenues, options, and ideas to explore. Oh, and who knew millions of others were doing exactly what I wanted to do? And doing it much better than me might I add.

This girl who knew nothing of the online world past Facebook and occasional Google searches found herself signing up for every social networking site out there. I became painstakingly aware of bloggers who are wildly successful and beautifully creative in their words and ideas.

And so instead of making God famous I wanted to make Tamara famous. Suddenly my foremost drive to give God’s hope to others got flipped into this desire to promote myself instead of God. Succeed, succeed, succeed became my mantra. And it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist. I started the pursuit of chasing the wind.

My desires didn’t change overnight. If they did, Satan would be out of a job because I would have stopped him in his tracks a long time ago. No, this was a slow descent into a desire so driven to succeed that I had forgotten why I started the blog in the first place. I started slowly piling a mass of confusion and chaos on top of my head. Suffocating in it. Drowning in it. Losing my joy because of it. What happened, Lord? Why did this all suddenly feel so wrong???

I had that feeling that occurs when God is taken off the throne of your life and replaced with something else. God hadn’t gone anywhere but oh how far I had moved away.

And then it came: I got sick. It came out of nowhere; gradually, ever so slowly but painfully, my throat closed up and my body starting aching, shivering, sweating. Yup, definitely sick. It’s an amazing act of chastening when God slows you down enough to hear His voice.

As I cried out to him from my bed-ridden state, I yelled “Why, God, why? Why is this whole thing so hard? I just want to succeed, have my blog flourish, and it’s just not happening. How come God?”

If I were God, I certainly wouldn’t want to speak to me right now. But my Father, my God of Love, my Creator and Comforter delights to chasten me, teach me, change me. Despite what I’ve done. And when God speaks into your heart you just know it’s Him. You just know. So plainly came those words, straight from my Father: “If I were to give you success Tamara, would it be enough?” Kindly but firmly those words rang truth deep into my soul. Those words stopped me in my tracks, put a halt to my whining and questioning and humbled me dreadfully.

No. It wouldn’t be enough. I would want more. I would want something else. Even if I was blogger-extraordinaire with “followers” from all over the world it would not be enough because I would be doing it with a misdirected heart. And a misdirected heart produces misdirected hope. Hope in myself, hope in the world, hope in fame, Hope in chasing the wind, which is not hope at all. Hope not in the ultimate Giver of hope.

Where are you today? Are you so consumed like I was with success? The desire to succeed above all else, to have what you currently don’t, to make it to the top no matter what consequence you have to pay to get there?

Let’s remember who our Father is. He is the Creator and sustainer of the entire universe. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He gives us breath and life and hope. This powerful, almighty God loves us and has our very best in mind. He gifted us with God-given desires and passions and wants us to use them to His glory. He doesn’t want to squash our dreams, instead He wants to ignite them and be the Fire that fans them into flame.

All throughout the Bible (just search the word “success”), God allows people to succeed. But before these people succeed we see them acknowledging God as the giver of godly success.

“As long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5).

“May the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions” (1 Chronicles 22:11).

“Peace and prosperity be with you, and success to all who help you, for your God is the one who helps you” (1 Chronicles 3:16).

“So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did” (2 Kings 18:7).

“Then you will again obey the Lord and keep all his commands that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do” (Deuteronomy 30:8-9).

“Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

And my favorite:

“The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! Then you will again obey the Lord and keep all his commands that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do” (Deuteronomy 30:6, 8-9).

Do you see my friend? Do you see what must be done in order to gain true success? We need a heart change. We need to love God with all our hearts instead of success. We need to obey Him because He knows what’s best for our lives. Then, and only then, will we be successful. And not the kind of billion-dollar-fame-and-fortune kind of success, but true, godly, life-giving, joy-producing, not-chasing-the-wind kind of success. That’s the kind I want. How about you?


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