The “Tomorrow Is Starting Now” sermon series has came to a close today, but with its end came a beautiful picture of what true success really looks like.
This past Sunday, Pastor Ben focused on “toxic success” and the tendency of people to use their accomplishments for the wrong things. Pastor Ben explained the three characteristics of toxic success: 1) toxic success makes you relax, 2) toxic success is manufactured, and 3) toxic success is destroyed by repentance.
Toxic success makes you relax. David, who was supposed to be fighting a war with his army, instead decided to stay back and relax. Because of that, he was present to see Bathsheba bathing on the roof, a sight that ultimately led to adultery and murder. David got lulled into a sense of security because of his success as king, and Pastor Ben argues that the same thing can happen to us today. When we feel comfortable in our success we are often tempted to stop doing the very things that made us successful in the first place… and when this happens our success inevitably falters.
Toxic success is manufactured. After David committed adultery with Bathsheba, she became pregnant. In order to escape the punishment and shame that would be his if anyone found out, David decided to call Bathsheba’s husband Uriah back from war, hoping that he would stay at his house and sleep with his wife. If Uriah slept with her it would make sense to say that Bathsheba was pregnant with his baby, and David would be in the clear. However, things didn’t turn out the way David wanted them to. Pastor Ben claims that this is because David took his future and his trust out of God’s hands and tried to manufacture a successful situation himself. True success comes from God; toxic success is something that we create for ourselves.
Toxic success is destroyed by repentance. When the prophet Nathan came to the palace and uncovered what David had done, David repented and rejected the sinful things that he had partaken in. It was only through this phase that David could return to his normal life and once again be covered by the grace of God. The things that he had done and the toxic success that he accrued were wiped away, and God forgave him and continued to call David “a man after God’s own heart.”
Pastor Ben explained to all of us that true success is the ability to kneel before God and repent. Many of us see that as accepting defeat, and Pastor Ben claims that that is exactly what it is. When we can accept that our flesh is constantly defeated by sin, we are opened up to receive the only thing that can save us—the grace of God.
All of our sermons are summarized by Katelyn Patterson.
She's one of our interns, a phenomenal leader, and a treasured part of our church family.
You can read her blog at http://makethingsbeautiful.blogspot.com/