“Success leads to complacency and complacency leads to failure.” – Andy Stanley
Rarely does a quote actually make me stop what I am doing and think. This one did. Every single one of us want to succeed. However, that success can lead us to failure. it reminds me of a game of golf. You make an incredible hit that ends with your ball right next to the hole. With all the confidence it the world, you swagger up to the ball and line up our finishing swing. You glance at the hole, the ball and back. Then, you tap the ball into the hole! It rolls up the green, steadily towards the hole. Then it keeps going. You missed the hole! (The link is to a video of Tiger Woods doing exactly that.) That can happen in our ministry. We have one thing go well, and we lose focus on our goal.
For example, we preach excellently for a few weeks and the temptation, then, is to think that WE did well. We forget that God works through us. That leads to us praying less during our sermon the next week, which only ends poorly. Perhaps God grows our ministry, and we fall into the trap of thinking that WE grew it. That we helped God out with His ministry. We are far too easily tempted to think that we did it, and that if WE did it, then it will happen every time because we know what we are doing. We want to rest on the triumphs of the past. Our flesh wants to succeed and coast the rest of the way.
That, however, is the exact opposite from what God wants from us. He wants us to humbly depend on Him. To know what we have never arrived in our growth and he always has more for us to learn. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 Paul wrote, “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” You planted a ministry? YOU are not anything. You grew a ministry? YOU are not anything. GOD is everything.
These are not easy words to write (they hit a little close to home for comfort), but they are true words. When we think it is about us, and cease to consider God, we no longer glorify Him. We glorify ourselves. Do not let success lead to your failure. Do not become complacent with where God has taken you thus far. Be always willing and ready to grow!