What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to doing or having after you’re truly successful?

We’ve talked about how to overcome life’s challenges– those seasons in life when we face impossible giants and unending wilderness situations. I believe many of you are encouraged and better positioned to be courageous in spite of any adversity you may be facing. But sometimes we need courage to face an entirely different kind of danger; the danger of success! Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him success’ (actually he said power but that’s one of those things that comes with success!

READ  2 Sam 11:1-17, 26-27

If someone like David who loved God so much could end up blowing up like that, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Success comes in different ways for different ones of us. Some here were the first among your peers to get married. Or you have cute kids and everyone goes ‘ooh’ when they see them! Or perhaps you got a prestigious job with a well-known multinational that comes with all the perks. You get to travel to exotic places and see the world! Success can even be in the area of faith, when you don’t need to struggle to pray anymore.

We often dread the hard times and can’t wait for them to end and success to finally come our way. But the reality is that even though hardship can derail your faith, for most people, it actually ends up strengthening faith! Hardship strips away all that we can depend on and leaves us with God alone. We know our lives are in danger and so we hold on and fight! But in times of success, it’s easy for our eyes to be blinded to a danger that is far more subtle and deadly than hardship – the danger of pride.

True courage is undermined by pride.

Some of the warning signs of this hidden danger of pride, especially as we begin to succeed. The first warning sign we note in David’s life is…

1. LOSS OF PASSION – v. 1 tells us that ‘In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army’. In those days, no one fought during the winter as it was too cold and rainy and the roads were impassable. In the spring however, everyone was rested and it was time to defend the nation. There was absolutely no reason why David should not have been out fighting with his men! But , David – now successful and accomplished – stayed home while his men were out in the trenches risking their lives.

Success has a way of dulling our passion. I’ve seen this with many people over the years as they’ve begun to succeed in what they’re doing. It begins with a loss of passion for serving which is often justified. ‘I’m now married; I have kids; I got promoted; my and life is just busy!’ It actually sounds pretty logical at the time. But then you notice that this is just the first step. Next, they’re no longer as passionate to come to church, and then they’re no longer as passionate about prayer and so on. Loss of passion is a warning sign! So check your passion meter! Are you losing your passion for the things of God? It could be the symptom for a much deeper issue. Remember,

True courage is undermined by pride. 

2. WEAKENED BOUNDARIES –Our passage tells us that David saw a stunningly beautiful woman naked. Rather than turning his eyes away, he allowed his fantasy to play out. The king was supposed to uphold the rule of law but in this case, David acted as if he was above the law. The king abused his position of power to take advantage of this woman.

Success has a way of weakening our moral boundaries. With success, people get the sense of being powerful and accomplished. They begin to feel that the rules no longer apply to them. But I’ve also seen this happen to many Christians who once had pretty secure boundaries around their lives. The interesting thing that starts to happen with success, you gain a lot of recognition. People notice you when you enter the room! People laugh at loudly at your jokes – whether they are funny or not! It’s easy to start believing that you are different from everyone else and that you can get away with things others can’t. Weakened boundaries are a huge warning sign! Have you noticed a weakening of your moral boundaries?

True courage is undermined by pride. 

3. DEAFNESS TO CORRECTION – Notice that when David asked his servant who the woman was, the answer was in the form of a question! When someone answers your question with a question, they’re usually trying to say something!

Success has a way of dulling our ears, so we no longer listen to advice or to correction. If we do not guard our hearts as we begin to do well, pride, ego, and self-centeredness start to rise to the forefront. We feel irritated when a watchman stops us to ask for our ID ‘I mean who does this person think they are?  It becomes increasingly harder even for friends to confront us or challenge our decisions or our thinking.

 True courage is undermined by pride

It looked like David had gotten away with it. But v.27 ends by saying, ‘but the thing David had done displeased the LORD’. Here’s the truth – you can fool everyone, including yourself, but you cannot fool God! It’s easy to hide our actions so effectively that no one can see. It’s easy to even reason, ‘I know God will forgive me’. What we often fail to see is that even though God forgave David’s sin when he confessed it, the consequences of his action would haunt him all the days of his life.

They would include an unwanted pregnancy, the murder of several of his soldiers including at least one his mighty men, and the loss of trust with his most important general (notice that Joab was not in the list of mighty men in 2Sam23! There was a complete disruption of trust with Joab, and David actually ordered his murder as one of his last actions) The consequences would continue in the next generation as one of his sons would rape his own sister (no boundaries), another would be so angry that he’d murder the rapist, and then lead a rebellion against his father, whom he had lost all respect for.  I’m sure that David never in his wildest imagination would have thought that his choices would lead to such consequences!

True courage is undermined by pride

Author Chuck Swindoll states, ‘Our most difficult times are not when things are going hard. Hard times create dependent people… Survival keeps you humble. Pride happens when everything is swinging in your direction.’ Our greatest challenge is not when we are in the wilderness but on the mountaintop! It’s easy to resent your wilderness today. But your wilderness is simply a training ground for the success that will come tomorrow! Notice David already had multiple wives before this, even though God’s word explicitly said in Deut.17:17 that ‘the king should not take many wives for himself because they will turn his heart away from the Lord’. Take note – the lessons you fail to learn in the wilderness today will sabotage your success tomorrow. Because

 True courage is undermined by pride

Some of you have been under a lot of pressure to loosen your boundaries. ‘What do you mean you don’t drink – even a little?’ ‘What do you mean you won’t make out with a guy? C’mon loosen up! How will you ever find a husband? Don’t be so old fashioned, stop being legalistic. God is a forgiving God!’ The issue for me is not forgiveness – I know God will forgive, even though my actions might hurt our relationship greatly. The problem is the consequences! God loves us so much that He allows us to make our own decisions (even if they go against His wishes) and to choose our consequences! Someone here needs to cut off certain friendships that are leading you the wrong way. You need to realize that God may forgive but you may be opening yourself up to consequences that you’ll regret the rest of your life! Remember

True courage is undermined by pride.

You can never outgrow accountability and some of the basic disciplines of your faith if you want to finish strong……. A survey by Dr. Howard Hendricks of 246 Christian leaders whose careers were checked by an adulterous relationship found that without exception:

1. None were involved in any kind of personal accountability group.
2. None were having a daily time of prayer, scripture reading, and worship.
3. Each of the 246 had been convinced that moral failure “will never happen to me.”

Just like David who stayed home when he should have been fighting, those who stopped serving in ministry often cooled off in their faith. Is it that people who serve are the humble ones or that is it that serving makes people humble? I don’t know – maybe a bit of both! There’s just something about serving and doing menial tasks and arranging our lives around bigger priorities than just ourselves that keeps us humble! Remember

True courage is undermined by pride.

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5 Responses to “Humble”

  1. Nkirote Makirone Says:

    The Lord has been impressing on me one thing – fasting. Prayer and fasting keeps one’s soul humble. God commands us to humble ourselves. He won’t do it for us. Prayer and fasting is (scripturally) one way of doing it. Wonderful message. God bless you pastor.


  2. Touched by message Says:

    Timely message for me…..i notice my loss of passion for things God. And i now notice that i have dropped my accountability system in the name of being busy…I will check myself not to be undermined by Pride. Bless you Pastor M.


  3. koome kennedy Says:

    Wow!The sweetest fruit grown on earth is life on the biblical tree…


  4. Pastor M, you really hit the nail on the head. This is a good sermon. I am truly challenged by the message. God bless you and expand you.


  5. wow, this is sharp


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