Monday, August 22, 2016
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Well, those of us who were alive then didn't know it then, but we sure know it now. President Richard Nixon had a lot he was trying to cover up. And when investigators asked for documents or information, they were consistently denied it on the basis of two words that the President and his people continually fell back on, and other presidents have since – "executive privilege." In other words, based on my position, I don't have to do what other people have to do. I don't have to play by the same rules. It didn't work for President Nixon. It won't work for you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Slippery Slope Called Success."
There are plenty of people who have never used the phrase "executive privilege" who seem to live as if it applies to them. Someone who's had some success in business, in sports, or in ministry. When you're looked to, when you've got a position of influence and authority, it's easy to start believing that you don't have to play by all the rules, and that you have the right to do some things, to cut some corners, to take some liberties that others don't have. I think the word's "entitlement". It's part of why success is so dangerous and why success has ruined so many people.
God anticipated that might happen to the leaders of His own people in Old Testament days. So He gave the people He called "kings" some specific directions to avoid being ruined by power and position. What He told them rings just as true today for any of us who, because of some success in some area of our life, might be sort of a "king" in our little world. Here, in our word for today from the Word of God, is how to keep success from becoming a mess.
Deuteronomy 17, beginning with verse 18, says, "When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law...It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time."
So God said that when a person is on top, they need to actually write out the Word of God for themselves and keep it with them at all times, because success doesn't make you less responsible. In fact, it makes you more responsible, more accountable. As Jesus said, "To whom much is given, (I'll bet you know the rest of it.) much is required" (Luke 12:48). The boundaries are more important for you to observe than for anyone else because you have more to lose and you have more people you'll bring down with you. Two dangers cited in these verses: first, thinking you're above the rules; second, thinking you're above other people. Either one of those will force the One who gave you your success to take it away in order to save your soul.
The Jewish king, Uzziah, was one of their greatest. What the Bible says of him can be said of you: "As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success...He was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall" (2 Chronicles 26:5, 15-16). He went on to take liberties that no man could take, and he came under the awful judgment from God and he lost it all.
When you've been winning, you're vulnerable to pride, to being a controller, to accumulating glory and goodies instead of giving it to the Lord, and to thinking you can ignore the ways of God without facing the judgment of God. No way that's going to happen. If God trusts you with success, don't ruin it by letting it inflate you or make you spiritually careless. Immerse yourself in God's Word. Set the moral bar higher for yourself than it's ever been.
The only executive privilege you have is the privilege of honoring God and blessing others with the success that He's given to you.