“Maximize the god within you!” Welcome to the arena of self-help teaching spun from the mouths of success gurus. The gist of their message runs something like:
Ø Do your best; overcome your fears for the key to success lies within you!
Ø Go after your dreams. Listen to your inner voice it will never fail you.
Ø Be sincere. Persevere and believe in yourself. You can be whatever you want to be!
Colossians 1:28--We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Positive humanism does much for the spirit initially but where does it eventually lead us? Perhaps the answer lies in how we define success. The Bible teaches us that no matter how well we keep the law, work, or treat others we will still fall short of God’s standard because of our sins. Supremacy of effort may make us rich, famous and powerful but when we die we will stand naked and accountable before a perfect God.
Should we do our best? Absolutely! The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” But does the key to my success lie in my effort or in my reliance upon God to accomplish in me what I cannot do myself? When I stand before God to be judged the issue is not how many toys I accumulated on earth or how happy I was, but whether or not I put Christ first in my life. If I can do all things through Christ it is logical that I cannot do all things without Him! Those who teach self-fulfillment propagate a gospel counter to what Scripture teaches and this is nothing short of idolatry.
Jeremiah wrote “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” (Jer.17:9). These words stand in stark contrast to the message that abounds today exalting the heart. In truth to pursue our dreams, to go after the voice we hear from within may seem honorable but who are we listening to? Is it God leading me or is it my own will to do what suits myself? Ask Judas! He didn’t betray Jesus because he was a jerk. He turned Him over to the authorities because he believed Jesus was not doing what the Messiah was meant to do.
If we espouse to be Jesus’ disciples we ought to run any success or motivational teaching we hear through spiritual filters:
#1. Does this teaching replace Jesus Christ with me at the center?
#2. Is the teaching consistent with what Scripture reveals I should do?
#3. If I follow this teaching what is the logical end result?
#4. Who is the one teaching led by? Is he or she a teacher who follows God and is above reproach?
Before we get overly hyped in motivational messages let’s make sure the content glorifies God and leads us where His Holy Spirit wants us to go for His glory!
I’ve heard a lot of sermons in the past 10 years or so that make me want to get up and walk out. They're secular, psychological, self-help sermons. Friendly, but of no use. They didn't make you straighten up. They didn't give you anything hard . . . At some point and in some way, a sermon has to direct people toward the death of Christ and the campaign that God has waged over the centuries to get our attention.—Garrison Keillor
Jesus Christ bases all His teaching on the fundamental fact that God can do for people what people cannot do for themselves.—Oswald Chambers in He Shall Glorify Me
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)