Daniel 5:23 “…you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.”
If I were to offer you something intoxicating, addictive, and dangerous, would you be interested? Sounds pretty sketchy, right? I’m betting you’d likely be quick to break off the conversation and make a hasty exit.
Though the answer to the question seems like a no-brainer, I have never met the first man who is fleeing from success…which is what I described.
Yet indeed, God wants success for each of us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
To back this up, scripture is filled with successful men. However, few of them were able to maintain a right few of themselves and continue to honor God once they received it.
The challenge, men, lies in holding a right view of success and it’s source. By the world’s standards, it almost always leads to some form of self worship and kingdom building. Even modern christianity can twist it into something it’s not.
We need God’s perspective to stay humble.
This is a lesson Babylonian King Belshazzar never learned. Inheriting the throne from his father Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his royal mouth. Rarely tasting humility, his eleven year reign built his ego to mythical proportions.On his fateful last night, he did what any self-made man would do to celebrate: he threw a party.
Though he didn’t know our God, he had certainly heard of Him. His father had undoubtedly told stories of Daniel, the exile who’s God was the “God of gods and Lord of kings” (Daniel 2:47) and of the three men who survived the fires of the furnace unscathed because “…no other god…is able to rescue” in the way their God rescued them. (Daniel 3:29)
None of this stopped Belshazzar from mocking God. He used the vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem to serve booze at his drunk-fest. God had seen enough.
A disembodied hand crashed the party, writing a prophetic message on the wall that only the prophet Daniel was able to interpret: “Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin”. Daniel’s interpretation was “Numbered, Numbered, Weighed and Divided”. In other words, the days of Belshazzar’s reign were numbered. They had been evaluated (weighed) by the God of the Universe, found “wanting”, and his empire would now be divided.
That very night, the Medes and Persians invaded, killed Belshazzar, and overthrew the Babylonian empire.
Do you have a right view of success or do you have a kingdom that needs to be overthrown? God seeks our welfare, but never our glory. If we take self-glorification out of the equation, gratitude is the natural response to any measure of success that God has provided us.
1. Read the Word: Look for stories of successful men in the Bible. How did they handle it? Did the recognize their success for what it was or did the squander it foolishly? What application is there in your life?
2. Count your Blessings: It sounds cliché but, your likely even more successful than you think. An introspective look at all you’ve been blessed with will go a long way toward fostering humility and gratitude.
3. Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify any self-glorifying thoughts, words or actions in your life. Stay close to Him in prayer as these are shown to you so that you have the spirit of power and self control to eliminate them.
4. Look Around: Who do you know or interact with that you could bless by serving sacrificially? Love is the true measuring sticks Jesus uses to gauge true success.