Yes, you’ve read the title correctly. I’m afraid of success. Yes, I’m being serious. This past week was marked by a few landmark decisions in my life, not the least of which is submitting a bid on a house (as in I’m trying to buy it). Believe it or not, my fear at this point isn’t so much the failure, because I know there will be the failure and I know the successful person is one who’s become an old friend of failure. No, my fear is success. What if all goes well? Then what?
God grants success
It’s no doubt that God grants success. He does so for varying reasons, but for those that love Him, it’s often a reward for faithfulness. I’m all for that, but it’s what comes after that concerns me. It’s probably a lack of experience here, but it’s the risk of complacency that comes with success that I’m referring to here. Look at the great leaders of the past. Many were ruined by their success. And I do not want to be in that company (not that I’ll ever reach that kind of notoriety or infamy, as it may be).
A battle for humility
One of the most poignant quotes in the Bible comes from the Roman centurion in Matthew 8 says, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Even Jesus “marveled”. My fear of success is that I will lose sight of this most important fact. No matter how “important” I may become, I am still a man under authority. This will never change. And I never want it to.
I’m still young
Maybe I’m crazy. Just maybe I’m the only one out there with this strange fear. I can accept that. I’m not saying I never want to succeed, that’s just sadistic. I’m saying that I don’t ever want to get too big. And I have reassurance of this, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3). I know that God will never give me more than He intended me to handle, because with power comes great responsibility. Maybe I’m ready to take some of that on, but I don’t want to underestimate the inherent responsibility.
Failure can only take us so far, but it’s success that can truly blindside a person. It’s the golden years that have seen the best and brightest fall. It’s when times are good that the most faithful wander. I’ve seen and I’ve tasted; I know God is good. And if that means compromising success and wealth for Him, then I will choose to forgo. Yes, it’ll be a hard decision, but I cannot think of a life without Life. I cannot think of an existence without the love and provision of my God. How about you?