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3 Dangers of Success and How to Avoid Them

We often don’t think about it but success can be more dangerous than failure.  It’s during the times when life seems to be humming along at a perfect rate and everything is going just grand that we are most likely to fall.

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Success brings along with it three dangers.

Pride

Success always brings with it the temptation to think that we did it all on our own.  Nebuchadnezzar fell into this same trap when he looked out over the great city of Babylon and attributed its success to his own abilities. Then he went crazy and spent the next seven years acting like a wild animal! (Daniel 4:30-37)

Comfort

Financial success usually brings a level comfort which inclines us to relax and take it easy. The problem is that when we stop doing the work God has called us to do sin has a much easier time finding a spot in our lives. That’s what happened to King David. Instead of going to war with his men he decided to relax and it didn’t take long before he gave in to temptation.  (2 Samuel 11:1-5)

Forgetfulness

Let’s face it, we are forgetful people. Before he died Moses warned the people not to forget the God who brought them out of Egypt. Moses knew that once the people were in the land and had everything they needed it would be easy to forget. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened. (Judges 2:7-12)

Redefining success

Maybe one of the reasons success is so dangerous is because we have a wrong definition about what it really is.

Our society tells us that in order to be successful you need to be:

  • Rich
  • Famous
  • Powerful

In contrast God defines success a little differently. According to the Bible success is about being:

  • A steward
  • Humble
  • A servant

What can you do to avoid the dangers of success?

  • Acknowledge that all good things ultimately come from God, not from you.
  • Verbally thank God for your  success.
  • Point out to others that God is the reason for your success.
  • Recognize that you need God just as much (or more) in your success as you do in your failures.
  • Establish daily habits of prayer and meditation on God’s Word as reminders of what true success is.
  • Imagine what your life would be like without God.
  • Tell your faith story to others and focus on what God did in your life.
  • Be thankful for things beyond your personal success like family, church, salvation.

Questions: How do you define success? What other dangers of success have you noticed. What do you do to avoid the dangers of success?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Great post! I have a post coming out this week on Leadership Pitfalls and one of the areas I hit on is the area of pride. It’s so dangers for a leader to be prideful. I define success as finding your purpose, continued growth, and making a positive difference to those around you. Great post Caleb!

    • I like your definition of success too. I’m looking forward to reading your post.

  • I’ve found pride and self-sufficiency to be my main temptations after success. I think, for me, the best defense against this has been that God has allowed me to fall flat on my face so many times. That way, it’s hard to prop myself up when success comes.

    • Loren, I agree, falling on your face a few times can really help you realize that God is the reason for your success, although it would be nice if we could come to that realization without falling on our faces so often!