I'm late posting about last week but we covered week 5 of the "gods at war" series we have been in. We opened with a worship set that included "Afterlife" (Switchfoot), "Forever Reign" (Kristian Stanfill), and "Hosanna" (Hillsong United). Then to begin the message I divided the group into two teams and gave them each a jigsaw puzzle to solve. They had to select two people from their team to solve the puzzle while everyone else could only help give directions.
After we talked about how competitive everyone is. Even though it was just solving a puzzle, most of the students are competitive enough that they wanted to win. We discussed why winning/competition/success are all so important to us. Some of the ways we desire success is in school, career, money, sports, hobbies, always being right, and always having to have the final word. There is nothing wrong with being driven and having ambition, but when it becomes all about us rather than glorifying God then success has become and idol in our lives. We asked the following questions to help determine if success is an idol in our lives:
1) What is your reaction when someone else is more successful than you? Are you jealous or happy for them?
2) Are you often told that you have to always be right?
3) Do people think that you are a sore lose or that you are able to lose well?
We read Philippians 2:3 and discussed that the word "selfishness" here means the same as a rivalry and pride where people push for their own way. In other words we are not do anything that is for our own personal glory.
So what if we began to view and define success differently? What could that look like? We read 1 Corinthians 10:31 that tells us to give our best effort in everything that we are doing as if we are serving God. What if we began to define success as giving God our best effort and leaving the results up to Him? What if God simply calls us to be obedient and serve Him greatly, but He does not give us the success that we in our human nature desire? I think about how at the end of Moses' life he was allowed to see the Promised Land, but not enter. What if that is what God calls us to do/be? Maybe God is teaching us that He is all we really need and that we also want Him.
We closed with a time of prayer thinking about this and how if the idol of success is not dealt with now that it will continue to grow like a snowball that rolls down a mountain and begins an avalanche. The idol of success can cost you everything, even your own soul (Matthew 16:26).