Adversity vs. Success


C. S. Lewis On Aging

[Senior devil Screwtape to junior devil Wormwood:]

“The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives, and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it–all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition.

“If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is “finding his place in it,” while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home on Earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.”
The Screwtape Letters, p. 132

The above quote is from the book, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  If you have not read it I encourage you to do so.

One of the following two words usually describe peoples lives- successful or adversity.  This can change of coarse but generally you will pick one or the other to classify your life.  Each comes with a trap as pointed out in the above excerpt.

If your life is full of success and everything seems to be going your way-watch out.  As a Chrissuccesstian we are not supposed to be attached to the things of this world so much that they become more important to us than our relationship with God.  If I asked you what is the one thing you can’t live without what immediately springs to mind?  Computer, iphone, kids, spouse, home, car?  Does God make the list?  Does having a personal relationship with Jesus even make the top 5?  Like T-Mobiles Fave Five, is Jesus in your circle?

Matthew 6:19-21 19-21“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.  (The Message)

Don’t load up on junk here on earth.  Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.  Don’t obsess with finding your fortune here because eventually it will all fade away.  Ever see that bumper sticker, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.”?  How juvenile.  I mean really, do you really think anyone cares how much junk you had?  Or do you think people care how much good you did?  Leave a legacy of love, not a legacy of yard sale items.

adversity1On the flip side is the life of adversity.  Here is where most of the people reading this will probably fall.  But there is a trap here as well.  You can go through so much, experience so much pain and loss that you become numb to the world around you.  Another trap is jealousy.  You see the successful person and think, “I want that.  I want that so much I am willing to do things that I shouldn’t to get it.”  Numbness and jealousy, jealousy and numbness.  Where are you?  Has so much happened that you have withdrawn from God and the world or do you fall into the other category, your so jealous that you would do anything, sacrifice anyone to gain the world?

1 Peter 5:6-7 6-7So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.  (The Message)

Either way you fall; numbed or jealous, you can still live carefree, another version of that verse says to “cast your cares and burdens on God because He cares so much for you.”

Everyone has problems, it’s those that find the solutions that are truly successful!

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