Reaction to Action- Reaction to Success, By Tony Alany
Again God has me on a theme and for the next few weeks I’ll be writing on “Reaction to Action.” When we get faced with life’s joys and challenges, is our reaction one that mirrors Christ? We can’t always control what actions we are faced with, but we can control our reaction to them. God is far more interested in our reaction to a situation than we think. Yes, He doesn’t like when we’re hit with unjust and unkind actions, and He will sort that and who caused it at the right time. As Rick Warren often states, “everything in life is a test.” And so, God is also concerned if our reactions are parallel with His Son’s character.
This week, Tony Alany the Pastor of Worship and Technical Director at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia- USA will open up the theme series with a post that he wrote for McLean.
I live in Washington, D.C. It is a town in which many of us can be lifted into high places as a result of our relationships, our achievements, our education, or our wisdom. It is a place where people thrive on "power." Is it ever enough to sustain us though? When we get promotions, make big sales, or get a bill passed through Congress there is a tendency here to feel as if we are on top of the world, and one of the biggest problems for Christians is learning how to "succeed" in a godly way.
In Romans 12:3, Paul tells us this, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment..." When we allow our successes to dictate our value and worth, our view of ourselves can be inflated and disordered. In this state, no amount of success is enough.
An example of such a disordered man is King Solomon. He was remarkably gifted, rich beyond measure, and considered to be the wisest man of all time. He himself wrote the words of Proverbs 18:12 which states "Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor," yet he is a man who fell from grace and lived quite a carnal life as a result of his pride.
Possibly the best example of this in scripture, however, is Satan himself. According to Ezekiel 28, he was created by God "full of wisdom," "perfect in beauty," and having "the seal of perfection". He certainly did not care to think of himself with sober judgment in light of who God was, but instead he desired the power of God, and the throne of God for himself.
The pursuit of success and influence is not inherently sinful. In fact, these things can often be an extension of grace from God himself, the problem is that we must respond in humility and not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.
In Hebrews 4, the author recognizes how Jesus resisted temptation, and did so without sin. As a result we are told that we have a God who understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses. Then, verse 16 says this:
We tend to really only pursue the Lord, or "draw near" when life isn't going well, and we need Him to get us out of a bind, but we must remember that Christ is not a means to an end, but an end in Himself. He is ALL in our success and in our failure. May I submit that in order to succeed well, we must recognize that a time of success might just be our greatest "time of need" lest we fall into pride, which leads to destruction.
Prayer: Lord. I thank you for breath and life today. I am so thankful that you are Holy. I recognize that you require holiness in order to be adopted into your family, and while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me and rose so that could have new life! I accept that truth today and as a result, you see me as righteous. That act of love shows me that my value is not wrapped up in whether or not I succeed. My value is in the Gospel! So, I plead with you that when I find myself in a high place of success, would you remind me of your goodness and to think of myself with "sober judgment". Christ is all for me in my failures, but He is also all in my success. He is my prize. God, I need "to receive mercy and find grace to help in this, my time of success, my time of need."