From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 8 – Further advice on how we can become more faithful
We all know that failure and difficulty are a challenge. However, as we have seen above, in terms of maintaining our faithfulness, success is a much harder test. When a person fails, or suffers, the obvious thing to do is to turn to God for help. But how many of us turn to God when we have been succeeding in our job or ministry? If anything, the need for God’s help is even greater then, though very few people realise that.
Success, wealth, power, fame, prestige and academic achievement present us with some very strong temptations to pride, self-sufficiency and arrogance. If we yield to such temptations, even once, then we are in grave danger of doing so again and again, until it becomes our undoing. A proud, self-sufficient person is very unlikely to remain faithful to Jesus, or to succeed in the tests that Jesus sets for us.
I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen…….Jeremiah 22:21 (a)(RSV)
So, if you are fortunate enough to achieve success in any field then see it as your cue to humble yourself, to stay close to God and to pray for His help. Ask Him to provide people and circumstances that will help you to stay humble. Also ask Him to help you to humble yourself and to avoid relying on yourself or trusting in your own ability. Then you will hopefully avoid doing what King Uzziah did, as we saw above. He began well, but success and power went to his head and caused him to stop being faithful:
But when he was strong he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was false to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.2 Chronicles 26:16 (RSV)