We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of child stars who become wildly rich and famous and grow up to live a wreck of a life. We’ve seen the stories unfold. In a world where kid’s primary goal in life is to become famous, we know where that road can lead. This is the result of the Instagram and the TikTok.

But wait … actually it’s not. God has been warning his children of the pit of ungrounded success for thousands of years. One of those stories is found within the pages of a book in the Bible I’ve never attempted to study. Chronicles … it’s literally lists upon lists of names and battles, births and deaths, none of which seem to really apply to me. But a recent episode on the Elevation Church Podcast brought me to the story of King Uzziah. If King Uzziah would have been living in the 21st century, he would have been Insta-Famous and a top TikTok influencer.

And his story is a lesson for every single one of us today. A lesson that meets us exactly where we are.

You’ll find Uzziah’s entire story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 26. It’s summed up in 3 headings in my Bible: Uzziah the King, Uzziah’s Achievements, and Uzziah’s Disease.

Uzziah became King of Judah at just 16 years old. Verses 4 & 5 say, “He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God. During the time that he sought the Lord, God gave him success.”

Where did Uzziah’s success come from? God! How did he achieve success? He sought God. He put God first. God was his priority. He spent time with God. He asked God for help and guidance. He followed God’s promptings.

Now, the next section, Uzziah’s Achievements. Verse 7 says, “God helped him.” He fought battles and he won. He built cities and they flourished. He gathered armies and they became powerful. Everything he did was successful. Verse 15, “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.”

GREATLY HELPED. Oh, God can do that! God wants to do that!

Do you understand that God wants to GREATLY help you? He wants to do wonderful things for you. He wants to offer his supernatural powers to do impossible things for you. And he will, as long as you seek him. What could God achieve through you … well, there are no limits. We serve an unlimited God who’s powers cannot be contained and who’s plans are greater and bigger than our wildest imaginations. And the way he has so graciously chosen to work is THROUGH US! And he will work through you in this way, as long as you are seeking him.

But what happens after success? What happens after you get what you’ve been praying for? What happens when it all finally comes together? You’re grateful … right? You’re humbled … right? You’re happy … right? But do you stay grateful? Do you remain humble? How long until you need more to be happy?

I’ve lived that story of rags to riches. Now mine was less dramatic on the rags and less extreme on the riches, but still it was a journey from a nobody to a somebody in some small circles. And when I became the somebody with the house and the car and the closet full of clothes, I lost myself. God had helped me so much UNTIL I became successful. Then, in success, I no longer felt the daily need for God’s provision. I had bread for the day, I didn’t have to seek him for it.

And that’s the danger of success. When I no longer counted on God for my daily bread because I had plenty, I stopped seeking him like I had during the hard times. I know I’m not alone in this struggle. The ups and downs that create our unsteady walk with God. Our wavering little hearts that seek, then they run off chasing their own things. And just like Uzziah, I had been given success as long as I sought the Lord. But, that success threatened to trip me up and make me busy. Too busy to seek God first.

Uzziah was greatly helped UNTIL he became powerful. Why the word “until”? Did something change when he became powerful, successful and famous? Yes. And here’s our warning. The next section in my Bible is titled “Uzziah’s Disease”. Verse 16, “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God.”

In his pride, he acted in unfaithful ways, pushed his way in to the sanctuary of God and began doing things he was not chosen to do. And suddenly, leprosy broke out on his forehead. He became a leper. The life of a leper was one of exclusion, suffering and loneliness. They were forced to live on the outskirts and were denied access to everyone and everything. And sadly, this was the life of King Uzziah, the once wildly successful leader, until he died.

Not a happy ending. And I have to wonder how short this ending fell from the good plans God had for the young King who once sought him in everything. I wonder what COULD HAVE BEEN in his life if success wouldn’t have caused him to become prideful and then unfaithful?

Oh Lord, please block any future success in our lives that would cause us to become prideful and then unfaithful. Remove anything that would get in the way of us seeking you.

I will be honest with you, since my first failure of handling success well, I’ve been afraid of wild success. When I woke up one day and realized my entire world had become wrapped up in what I had and what others thought of me, I knew I needed a drastic change. That’s when we sold everything, gave the rest away, and started over in a life with two suitcases. I would rather have God than that big house. I would rather have God than a single other living soul know my name. I don’t want to fail that test again.

But what happens when we become the girls who, no matter what the circumstances, no matter the success, no matter the power, we simply WILL NOT STOP SEEKING GOD? No matter the increase, we still humbly bow to God and seek his will over our own … what could happen then? What happens when we are unshaken by success, unchanged by fame, and undistracted by the noise? Could God continue to greatly help us? Could he be glorified even more?!!!!!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

You can trust that. You can live your life counting on that. You will NOT be let down by this.

Now, understand the warning it gives if you don’t live like this. If you don’t trust the Lord with your whole heart, if you start depending on your own thoughts and your own ways, if you stop seeking his will in everything you do, you will be endlessly confused. You will be completely overwhelmed. You won’t know what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. Your paths will be a tangled web of a mess, and you’ll get lost in it. And there you will be stuck in confusion, overwhelm, disappointment and disaster. You will be like King Uzziah … from being supernaturally guided and blessed by the Almighty, to disappointed with the outcome and stuck in the wilderness.

This doesn’t have to be us. This isn’t God’s good plan for us. We don’t have to lose ourselves in success. And as long as we keep seeking God, we don’t have to be afraid of success.

Where are you in this? Are you in the middle of a mess, not knowing which way to go? Stop everything and seek God with your whole heart. Open up your hands, let it all go, and trust God to guide you. He will.

Are you in the middle of success, but recognizing in the process of waking up to answered prayers, you’ve stopped praying like you used to? Girl, hit your knees today. Return to seeking God first and fully.

Are you holding back and playing little because you’re afraid of success? Talk to God about that. Don’t let fear cheat you from your destiny. Seek God in creating daily routines and accountability partners that will keep you aligned with God, no matter where success may take you.

Trust God and his unknown ways. Keep seeking him first in everything. He will show you the right way. Faithfully take the next step.

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