Friday, February 1, 2008

Fear of Success

An online Christian friend posted a note on the MomPack YahooGroup about her need for prayer in a new venture. She made the comment that "I think I am afraid of doing well." I know exactly what she means.

For years, I've wrestled with this issue of being a devout Christian and being successful. It's as if there is a mental block that stops me from really pushing myself toward success. As a self-analyst, I think this issue is a two-fold one.

One, we typically equate success with wealth. Yes, we say that money isn't everything. And yes, we say that there is more to being successful than having money. But do we really believe it? How many people can you think of whom you would consider successful who aren't well-off financially? I can't think of any, personally. Well, maybe Mother Theresa, but she was a free-spirit and certainly atypical.

On the other side of this, since we typically equate success with money, we often struggle with the acceptance of our success because of the warning in 1 Timothy 6:10 that "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil."

Christians (and others) have often distorted this verse to mean that money is the root of all evil. But that's not what the Bible says. The scripture states that the love of money is the problem. There is a definite distinction.

When I love money, I put it above everything else. It becomes more important to me than my family, my friends, even my Lord. That's the root of evil. Greed.

But money--in and of itself--is simply a tool. In the proper hands it can do tremendous good. And it fulfills a need by providing for our food, shelter, clothing. Having money to meet our needs is a gift from God. Why do we struggle so hard with this concept?

Maybe we're afraid that having too much money will turn us into the rich man who must pass through the eye of a needle to enter Heaven. I don't know. But I do know that it's okay to succeed.

The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) expresses the Master's desire that we succeed at what He gives us to do. If our success didn't matter, He wouldn't have become upset with the servant who hid his talent in the ground. Success is something to be sought after.

Lord, help us to learn this truth and apply it to our daily Christian walks.


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