Monday, August 8, 2011

The god of this world

Read the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in Germany who was executed for his stand against Hitler

"In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done. . .With a frankness and off-handedness which no other earthly power could permit itself, history appeals in its own cause to the dictum that the end justifies the means. . .The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard."

How do you define success? Think about your answer for a moment.
I bet if we took to the streets and asked random people, we'd get answers such as:

Owning a home
Running a business
Making lots of money
Able to take vacations
Nice cars
Fame - making a name for oneself
Rising to the top of your company
Winning awards
Power over others
Raising good children

Being an author who is exposed to public viewpoints and whose success is measured in books sales and fame, I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  It seems to me that this present culture worships success more than anything. It has become our new god, the thing everybody strives for and craves. It is the ultiimate narcisistic, self-loving, self-worshiping god. It says my success is all that matters. Success is what gives me value in the world and in the eyes of the world. And people who don't achieve the world's definition of success end up being depressed, angry, despondent and feel like they are worthless.

It's so easy to get caught up in the cyclone of success, isn't it? Because, let's face it, we do need to work hard and be successful in order to support our families and care for our loved ones. But, like everything good God created, Satan loves to pervert and twist it and make it into something that destroys man instead of motivates him.

God has much to say about what this world considers success. Throughout Scripture, He calls it worthless, meaningless and a hindrance to our walk with Him.  True success is the opposite of what the world considers success:

 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, craving for sensual gratification, and the lust of the eyes greedy longings of the mind, and the pride of life, assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things,-these do not come from the Father but are from the world. 1 John 2

What is success to God?
And the world passes away and disappears. . .but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides forever. 1 John 2:17
And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

So, my question to you is this: Are you willing to be looked at by the world as a loser? As unsuccessful, as a nobody? Because at the end of  your life on earth when you stand before God, the only thing that will matter is that you loved God and obeyed Him.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first


  1. Mon Aug 8th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Welcome back home ! Hope you had a wonderful time away with family !
    Good word today. In the world's eyes ... I would most definitely be considered 'a loser'. And, that, is okay by me ! I have done nothing amazing or outstanding to 'feel' successful about. And, anything I have accomplished ... it is only due to and with great thanks -- to our Lord !!! For, without Him ... I can do nothing on my own ... I have nothing to be boasting about !!! Loving God, and being obedient to Him ("trying to" anyway) .... is all that matters.
    Thanks for this great reminder !
    Hope all is well. (I've just ordered "Surrender the Dawn" ... should be arriving some time this week.)
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Welcome back! :-) Great post today - gives me something to mull over the next few days...

  3. Love your post, Mary Lu. I agree that success is a new god...breaks my heart that so many young couples think that way and some end up losing their family life.
    BTW, I had a marathon weekend reading your Surrender series...all at one time and loved them! Will place in church library. Pls. pray for a person I know with great needs...God knows what. Thanks and blessings!!

  4. Thanks Ladies! I'm still a bit jet-lagged.. but so glad to be home. By the world's standards, many of us would be losers. The rest of us must always be cautious that we aren't striving for the accolades of this dying world. i have felt both ways at different times. Either attitude is wrong. No matter how successful we are in this world or how unsuccessful by the world's standards, all that matters is our walk with God.

    Glad you enjoyed youru marathon, Jackie. I'm lifting your friend up right now.

  5. Welcome home, MaryLu, you were missed. I pray that you get over your jet lag quickly, because I know that you have a lot to catch up on. This is a great post. God has always given Jack and I all that we 'need' and a little of what we 'want', and that is more than enough for me. Success for me is doing the will of God and living a life that is pleasing to Him. This can be difficult at times, especially since I have a huge problem with stress, but I know that 'Greater is He who is in me, than he that is in the world!"