Are You a Slave to Worldly Success?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Have you become blinded by the need to pursue and accrue worldly success that you’ve misunderstood God’s view of success?  What standards do you use to measure achievement and success? I share with you a self-examining devotional on this subject written by one of my Regent University Robertson School of Government professors, Dr. Gary Roberts. I pray his message and prayer blesses you.







“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”– 1 Corinthians 3: 12-13 (KJV)


We are frequently our own worst enemy when it comes to living a godly-directed, balanced life. I am a professor, and if you have any experience in higher education, you discover that both academics and students are very achievement-oriented, and we do not like to lose!

Satan inflates the importance of our achievement goals to encourage us to discard our moral compass leading to compromise in our motives and means. Our drive to succeed can enslave us as we attempt to achieve goals that we falsely believe equate with enduring success. We frequently use the wrong standards and measuring stick to assess achievement. Godly success occurs through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit through the sanctification process and Christian character development as we learn to live, work and play like Christ. It is a pernicious lie that success and peace comes from things and accomplishments, not the Creator. Our challenge is to recalibrate our standards of excellence and the goals and ends pursued according to God’s metrics. As author, Richard Swenson, M.D., states in his book Margin, the most important criterion of success is the cultivation of obedience through loving relationships.

measuring success

Satan adroitly uses the temptation of accomplishments and recognition to distract each of us from our true mission and purpose. In effect, our spiritual job description is always the most important element. The pride of performance, recognition, and wealth is a powerful drug that manifests diminishing returns thereby increasing our craving for more attention and recognition. Many Christians are enslaving their lives to the god of mammon, blinded by its allure of power, wealth, and material comforts over relationships. Very few on their deathbed regret not making more money, publishing one more article or losing that promotion. What causes deep soul pain and regret is the loss of loving relationships. Let us commit to place our hearts and minds on the things of God and reject our idols. Only the blood of Jesus provides the solution!


Dear Father, I give praise and glory for your love, grace, and wisdom. Please help me this day to measure success using your standards, not mine.

-Dr. Gary Roberts, professor, Regent University, Robertson School of Government


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