Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

The Subtle Test of Success

March 5, 2019

“The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land…and you will lack nothing.” Deuteronomy 8:7, 9

When God brought his people Israel out of slavery in Egypt, he made a covenant with the people: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” And he provided for them for 40 years in the wilderness.

After the 40 years, a new generation was ready to enter the land of Canaan. They were born in the desert. They saw miracles every day as God provided manna. They had more faith than their parents.

The book of Deuteronomy records Moses’ last words to the people: “God is going to give you the land. Everything that he has promised will be yours (8:7-9). And when that happens, watch your soul (8:11-17)!

In contemporary language, it might sound something like this: “When you get used to eating out with your family, and you have that big house with two cars in the garage, and you finally land that job you’ve always wanted, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord.”

When God gives you what you always wanted, your faith will be tested. Success is a far more subtle test of faith than suffering. This is counter-intuitive. We assume that pain and poverty are dangerous to faith, but Moses is making it clear that pleasure and prosperity pose greater threats.

Rejoice in all God’s good gifts, but remember—your spiritual health is more in danger on the day you are offered a big promotion than it is on the day you are fired. Prosperity often breeds a confidence in us that makes us feel that we need God less.

What is that thing you’ve been wanting—achievement, relationship, job, money, or possession—that if you got it, could become a subtle test of your faith?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

Explore this topic further

When You Grasp What God Has Done for You

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV) Peter does not say, “You should be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” He...

Read Post

Angels Long for This

The prophets… searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 1 Peter 1:10-11 (NIV) Since the beginning of time God...

Read Post

When You Suffer

You may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith… may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) Your faith has far more value than a Rembrandt painting....

Read Post
For your gift of any amount


Pursuing God's Blessings Through The Beatitudes

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.