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2nd July: Success

Uzziah... was marvellously helped, till he was strong. 2 Chronicles 26:15

Unquestionably there is a potential danger in success. Many men, like Uzziah, have found success harder to cope with than adversity. Paul wrote 'I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound' (Phil 4:12). The latter may be the harder test, for self-confidence can be disastrous. On the other hand ambition and success are not intrinsically wrong. It was God's plan that Esther should hold an influential position in the court of the king, and it was equally true of Joseph and Daniel.

The vital thing is to remember constantly that all we have and are is due entirely to the goodness of God. When we see the consequences of sin in the lives of others we should acknowledge that, 'There but for the grace of God go I'. It is equally important, when we are granted advancement or success, to remember, 'Here am I purely by the grace of God'. In the injunction 'Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not' (Je 45:5), the crucial words are 'for yourself'. After all, what is success? If it be but professional advancement, financial gain, or popular acclaim, it is an empty bubble. Let us remember that God sees the motive rather than the achievement, and rates faithfulness above success. It is through being faithful that we truly achieve (1 Cor 15:58).

'I dedicate myself - my time - my capabilities -
my ambition - everything to Him. Blessed Lord,
sanctify me to Thy uses. Give me no worldly
success which may not lead me bearer my Saviour!'
From the diary of Kelly, co-founder of John Hopkins Hospital, on the day of his graduation.

Further reading: 1 Cor 4:1-7. Dt 8:11-19.


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