The Success Test
“But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today” (Deut. 8:18).
Muhammad Ali is considered the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. He won 56 of his 61 professional fights and knocked out 37 opponents. His most famous catchphrase was, “I am the greatest!”
One day, Ali was seated in an airplane when the flight attendant came up the aisle to make sure that all the passengers had their seatbelts fastened. Reaching Ali’s seat, she asked him to buckle up.
“Hmph!” the champ sneered. “Superman don’t need no seatbelt!”
The flight attendant smiled sweetly and replied, “Superman don’t need no airplane, either.” Ali fastened his seatbelt.
The greater our success, the greater the risk of us thinking too highly of ourselves. Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle observed, “Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity there are a hundred that will stand adversity.” And Oswald Chambers wrote, “Sudden elevation frequently leads to pride and a fall. The most exacting test of all to survive is prosperity.”
Each of us must view success as a gift from God. We must learn to see all of our successes as a gift from God, not our own achievement. The Lord is the source of all success, all elevation, all blessing. If you have a good mind and a healthy body, if you live in a land of opportunity, if you have a good education, if you’ve had a few breaks go your way, then you have much to be grateful for – and no cause for arrogance. You didn’t achieve success; you received it as a gift. Each of us must voluntarily humble ourselves before God – or God will have to humble us Himself. I have learned it is better to learn humility voluntarily, than involuntarily! Paul tells us: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Rom. 12:3).