Devotions this week based on the Message: “Counterfeit Gods: The Seduction of Success”
(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Tim Keller entitled, Counterfeit Gods.
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
“When I…then I will…”
Have you caught yourself using this pattern of speech? In some way I set up a future reality that will determine a future action…which is often different than my present reality. Did that make sense?
Let me give you a few examples:
“When I get a raise, then I will feel I am getting what I am worth.”
“When I retire, then I will relax.”
“When I make a million dollars, then I will feel like I have enough.”
“When I win the lottery, then I will be content.”
The unfortunate thing in many of these types of statements is that the premise never happens so the conclusion never transpires either. OR when the premise actually does happen, the conclusion doesn’t.
Or I just start again.
Success can often provide that elusive chase. The harder one works, the more hours you put in, or the more positions you strive after, there is always something more…another task, more to do, more rungs in the ladder to climb.
As a result, my heart can be an anxious wreck. We hope that someday peace will settle in, but it never does because the end game of success keeps moving.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Consider Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Or Jesus’ very own words in John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
If we are seeking peace from worldly success, it will always be an elusive chase. The pressure to succeed can quickly replace peace with stress.
So how can we maintain peace in our hearts even as we strive to do our best, be our best, and offer our best?
Always remember that what you need the most is not something that you can achieve on your own. The peace that surpasses understanding is a peace knowing that I don’t have to spend my whole life trying to successfully navigate the way to heaven. My heart can be at rest because Jesus himself had a perfectly successful time on this earth. Even though a man hanging on the cross doesn’t seem like a great symbol for success, it was his work that brought us peace by reconciling us to God through the cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
So when the pressure mounts to perform, to push harder, to accomplish more, remember what you need has been given. In Christ your heart can be at peace, even as you give your best effort every day. God loves you in Jesus no matter what your earthly success looks like!
Apply: Where do you notice a lack of peace in your life? What is causing that lack of peace? What promise of God can replace the anxiety to once again fill your heart with peace?
Prayer: Lord, help me always live by this promise you give in Philippians 1:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.