Everyone wants to be successful in life. Whether you’re a businessman, actor, mom, or pastor, people want to succeed in what they do. But, what happens when success leads to notoriety and fame? Is that crossing a line with Jesus?
Often we imagine the impact famous people could have for Jesus if they became Christians. We wonder what Bill Gates could do for God’s kingdom or how the Rolling Stones could spread The Gospel. If only they would become Christians, it could be awesome! Right?
Well when you look at scripture, you see just the opposite happening. God’s approach seems to use ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things. Whether we are talking about Old Testament prophets or New Testament disciples, God picked people you would never expect to change the world. In fact, none of them were famous but God made them famous. So where does that leave us with the desire of wanting to become famous?
Here are a couple of truths to ponder…
God Will Humble The Proud
James 4:6 – …God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
If pride is driving your desire for fame and success, recognize that you will be in opposition to God and what He wants in your life. When you become a Christian you are saying to Jesus that you want Him to be number one (i.e. Lord) of your life. Of course this is a process of dying to self and it doesn’t happen overnight. But when you seek personal fame and fortune, it reveals an inverted priority placing “self” on the pedestal rather than God. This is called pride and puts us in opposition to God. Of course, being in opposition to God is never a good thing because it means that God is not going to bless our efforts or we may even incur His discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11).
Now when we talk about pride, we are talking about motives and desires, which is a very personal and private issue. In other words, only you can determine if your motives are rooted in pride or not. Only you can determine if your desire for success is sinful or godly. But if you are a Christian trying to be famous for your own glory, recognize this is not something God will endorse.
God Will Exalt The Humble
1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you
On the other hand, if you are keeping Jesus number one in your life and putting Him and others before yourself, God may make you famous. God promises to exalt the humble “at the proper time.” This means that Christians should be leaving their desires for fame to God. If God wants you to be famous, then he will make it happen but He doesn’t need your help. All you need to keep doing is to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God”, which is essentially letting go of your selfish desires and submitting to God’s desires, whatever that may be.
It is praying and asking God to keep your selfish motives in check. It is asking God to not let you succeed beyond what you can handle. Humility is essentially making sure God stays in the number one position of your life. Again, it is a process because pride doesn’t easily give up. But as you grow in this area, you will be both protecting and preparing yourself spiritually for any success God may provide down the road!
So does Jesus want you to be famous? It depends on the attitude of your heart. If you want it, then it’s probably not a good sign. But if God wants it, then He will make it happen, but not before you are spiritually prepared.
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