The Costs of Success

The meaning of the word Success is defined in dictionary terms as:
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose,the attainment of popularity or profit and/or a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

I’ve had some things on my mind for quite a while and as usual, things I read or hear having to do with thoughts that are tucked into the filled up files in my brain for some future use or reference until I can gather all of those thoughts together into something resembling coherent paragraphs.

One of the things I’ve thought about is the world’s version of success, and can or should Christian believers follow those same paths to success, and if so, at what cost? Face it, to live by principles, faith and Christian beliefs, those all come at a cost just as much as gaining the whole world only to lose your soul.

I guess the questions really ought to be, what kind of legacy do we as individuals want to leave behind and why is it important? Do we want to be known as a go getter, climbing the ladder,  the one whose got the most toys so they’re a winner type, or do we want to simply finish the race while glorifying God as we run?

The only problem with running the race is that you’ll be counted as naive, sweet but a little bit out there or simply put, a loser. And that’s just from unbelieving family and friends. What are the costs of running a successful race for Christ? For some, it’s financial hardships, not being able to provide more for your kids or spouse, or stress between family members. For others, it’s public humiliation and loss of friends or ‘status’. For Christians, they ought to know that the gains are so much more than temporary losses, but it’s still hard in this world to be in it, yet not be a part of it.

Daisy shared a post on Facebook a while back- back when I didn’t have internet connection yet. It was written by Steve Deace. Some folks might remember him as a Christian political pundit who was definitely not a fan of President Trump. Since the election however he’s much like a lot of us who say Good or bad Trump depending on the policies or actions. Unfortunately in most of today’s political world, one must be either all in, or counted as a lunitic or ‘the enemy’.

This article isn’t meant to be political, but as with most things in our country, morals, principals, behavior, rhetoric, gains and losses… success or failure are intertwined with society, faith and politics.

Nothing can be done to change what’s come to pass, in our country or anywhere else. What’s done is done, yet we find ourselves in a place where even passively supporting one side or the other politically is not enough, and many people caught in the middle are the ones learning the losses of worldly success. Deace’s article was in his usual style of not holding anything back. He gave a synopsis of growing up, being a failure at school, at jobs and pretty near everything, until he found his God given passion and gift which he was able to use behind the mic. For a few years he was one of the bright stars coming onto the national scene and for Christian Conservatives, a breath of fresh air which cut through all the political nonsense and cut to the chase of what’s right and wrong in faith and politics…

“If you want to know why I still love college football, Star Wars, etc. so much,  maybe this explains it. They’re like the final vestiges of Americana I’ve spent all these years fighting for. They’re like my shore leave, or reward, when everywhere else I go and anything else I attempt to do can become a battle zone without warning.

I could say more, but I should certainly note all the mistakes that I have made. I’m not a victim. I’m a man with a calling, which I answered. And I’m honored that God gave me this calling, which I don’t deserve. I’m doing my best to honor this calling, but it is a jagged road. I now understand why Spurgeon had the struggles he had. Why Paul wrote the things he did in the midst of changing the world.

This is hard, and yet it’s the only thing I can really do or see myself doing. It’s also fun most days, and there is no greater honor than the notes we’ve received the past few years from folks whose faith has been stirred by our show. I’ve worked with two great crews now. The Blaze gives me almost total creative freedom, and I only say almost on the off-chance I one day test that in a way I have yet to.

If you’ve read this to the end, thank you. Please pray for me. I’m just doubting myself daily. Am I doing this right? Should I sell out? Is it even really a sellout given where we’re headed? Should I have been more aggressive with my kids when it comes to faith? Or was I right to present it, do my best to live it, and then let them find their own way given my personality—and the fear I might be so heavy-handed I’d drive them to rebellion? Why am I not more successful? How did I even get this successful?

This isn’t your typical mid-life crisis. I already went through that! This is something more. I just want to finish the race.” ~ Steve Deace

But like many things all that changed during and after the last election. Not that he’s lamenting his choice or blaming anything or anyone, but society has fixed the narrative, corporations (namely social and other media giants) have chosen those who get to play, and those who lose. Deace found himself without a radio home, and when he tried to follow his other passion of sports talk, given an opportunity to host a show, he was never called back, even though they loved him. He had become, and still is,  too toxic. And he wonders to what cost for his family has his commitment to hold his firm foundation or should he “sell out” so his family won’t suffer anymore. He questioned what success was for anyway, since he was seemingly successful, yet losing because of his faith and principals.

Some of you might wonder why I’m ‘going there’ and talking about something that’s already happened. I know we can’t change the past, but we can learn from it, and change our direction for the future.

It’s a hard choice sometimes, (whether political or faith) where we decide to make our stands, because chances are, the hardest battles usually mean that we’re either where God wants us, or that He’s preparing us.

Should Christians follow God’s plan, live in His will and be obedient to the calling He has for us, even if it means making family and friends hate us, or do we continue to ‘evolve’ into whatever branding chute the movers and shakers of this world through social narratives, politics and elites would have us follow?

Think long and hard on that. There are a lot of things that Western Christians have been conditioned to believe when it comes to our purpose as a believer, and one of those things high on the list is patriotism. And another one is that we are too good to fail, God is on our side, and that the enemy is the opposite side of whatever side of the political aisle we “good guys” are on.

When thinking of politics and faith, we have to ask and know the answer- What is our purpose as believers? What is God’s will, and will success cost or gain?

One more thing. I love quotes by people with a lot more knowledge and intellect than I’ll have, but in this day of “I saw it on the internet therefore it’s true” I’m not sure if the source of this one is from Winston Churchill or not- but it sounds like something he would have said…

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

We need to think; Do we equate success with the world’s version of winning, or do we look at examples from those who walked the walk before us in the Scriptures?

 

More on this to come. But please think about these things for the time being.

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