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Why Success Doesn't Equal God's Approval

It’s not safe to assume you’re on the right track just because God is blessing what you’re doing. In fact, it can be a trap. God was going to use Samson to judge the Philistines: that was his plan, and he was going to do it whether Samson was playing along or not.

Let’s pull this into a more modern context. Consider high-profile ministers of the gospel who turn out to be shady, and fail in the public eye. Many of them mistook their massive success as proof that they were personally on the right track. They assumed too much.

It is absolutely true that ultimately God blesses faithfulness and disciplines unfaithfulness. Nevertheless, blessing (even prolonged blessing), isn’t proof of being on the right track. Look at Samson, or any of a 1000 modern examples, because God’s plan trumps individual blessings and cursings.

God had a plan to use Samson whether he was faithful or not. He has a plan to use us whether we are faithful or not. What’s true in either case is that God is at work. Human hands may stained by sin, but God still empowers those hands.

There’s an up-side to this truth: if you’ve been let down by a minister or leader in the church (or just the church in general), the good things you received there are not invalidated because of a leader’s sin, or a church’s shortcoming. And let me tell you: if you stick around the church long enough leaders will let you down to one degree or another. By the grace of God, I pray that failing will be a minor one, but the day will come, if it hasn’t already.

Even the most sincere ministers struggle to know their own hearts, and often fail to live out the standards they teach. When those inconsistencies come into the light (and they always do), it doesn’t make the words they’ve spoken untrue. We can’t make God a liar by being one ourselves! The gospel doesn’t rest on human authority. Don’t let the enemy steal the good things that God has given you through somebody else.

Amazingly, this is how God has chosen to work. He’s decided to entrust his church to us. He’s chosen to work through broken vessels like Samson, me, and you.

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Lead Pastor of the Maryville Vineyard, a growing church filled with incredible people in East Tennessee! He and his wife Sharon have two amazing children.