Wednesday, January 25, 2012



The greatest fault is to be conscious of none – Thomas Carlyle

We live in a society intoxicated with success. Everybody wants to make a mark. The world defines success in a different way than God’s Word describes it.

Success is attaining cultural goals that are sure to elevate one’s perceived goals that are sure to elevate one’s perceived importance in that culture - John Johnson

When people are successful (by the world’s standard), they experience elevation in at least one of three areas: power, privilege and wealth.

We all know that the teenage years are difficult years because of incredibly intense peer pressure. Teenagers are pressured to “do what everybody else is doing” even if it violates the morals learned at home. Some guys who seem to have a lot of potential can’t pull it off after they emerge from initial successes as a teenager. Few of the biggest nerds in the class who couldn’t seem to relate to anybody are millionaires now. They own software companies in Silicon Valley, wear Italian suits and drive BMW’s.

Uzziah’s story is one of those about a man that had everything in the world going for him but ended up throwing it all in the toilet and heading in another direction. It’s like a kind of insanity that hits men in the middle part of life.

Three reasons for Uzziah’s fall:
He began to spend more time and attention on the external rather than the internal: aka the barrenness of a busy life. True success has a lot more to do with who we are than with what we “accomplish.”

His character did not keep pace with his accomplishments: how many successful dads and husbands do we put on the cover of Time? Why don’t we say, “Here’s a guy who’s got his priorities squared away. He’s making a good living but he’s also making a good character. He doesn’t have much of a financial portfolio, but he’s spent a lot of time developing character in the lives of his kids. He’s had a quiet, steady walk with God for 30years.” One of the things about raising children is that you cannot impart that which you do not possess. Character isn’t something you mandate but something you model. If you are spending your life chasing after external accomplishments rather than internal character, it will show.

He was tripped by his own success: Sometimes we get upset with the Lord because we are not as “successful” as we would like to be. We would like to be making a little more money or moving up the ladder at work a little bit faster. We’ll like a little elevation in status to go along with our tenure on the job and our experience, but it seems terribly slow in coming. God is gracious when He does not answer our prayers for external success. Success is like ice. It’s beautiful, smooth, clean and cool but not many men can walk on it without falling flat on their faces or duffs. Too many accomplishments and too much recognition too soon can be tragic. Not many people can handle that kind of dangerous footing. God knows when we can handle success and He knows when we can’t. As a loving father, He makes sure that He orders events in such a way that we can walk steadily along the road to heaven without slipping.

If God puts something in my hand without first doing something to my heart, my character will lag behind my achievements, and that is the way to ruin. – Warren Wiersbe

Pride is so subtle, I usually don’t recognize it in my life. If you don’t think you struggle with pride, then you are the proudest person of all – and you are in great danger. Pride blinds us.

Pride is spiritual cancer; it eats the very possibility of love or contentment, or even common sense - C. S. Lewis

Lord, keep me from pride – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Lord, keep me from pride, help me to recognize it. Help me to be aware of it. Help me not to be dazzled by it, seduced by it, intoxicated by it. – Steve Farrar

Symptoms of pride
Arrogance: we become arrogant when we convince ourselves that we “deserve” certain perks and privileges. The problem comes when you begin to expect the privileges.

Aversion to accountability: being accountable is a willingness to explain your actions. Everyone of us needs friends who love us enough to make us explain our actions.

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves – D. L. Moody

Two lessons to ponder
External accomplishments can be false indicators of success: We look at some guy’s build, or his tailored suit, luxury car, track record of accomplishments, and compare ourselves. We find ourselves wishing we could have, do, speak or make money like he does.

We should beware of spiritual indifference: blindness to spiritual things doesn’t come first. Arrogance and presumption don’t come first. There is something that comes before these things; there is something that provides the necessary soil for these poisonous plants to germinate and grow. And that something is spiritual indifference. It’s an ever-so-gradual cooling of your spiritual temperature. It’s an ever-so-subtle fading of your love for the Lord Jesus. It’s as silent and subtle as a slow moving shadow.

The essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Ask God to open your eyes and show you your pride. And be prepared that He may use your wife, your kids, or a friend to point it out to you. And ask Him to give you the grace not to be defensive when they tell you. Ask God to give you the courage to face it. And deal with it, and crush it, everyday.

Source: Finishing Strong by Steve Farrar

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