The Mirage of Success

January 20

Week 3: The Mirage of Success: Discover What’s Real

Writer: Patrick McDonald

Big Idea: Achieving success can be remarkable but the temptation is to believe our worth is attached to our success. It’s tempting to think that our success is all by us and for us. However, Scripture reveals that all success is on loan from God and for the benefit of others. 

As residents of the Silicon Valley, we are surrounded by success. People move here from all over the world to work and live in a culture defined by innovation and achievement. We live in a unique and exciting time in human history. Many of us get to work on projects or for companies that affect the lives of millions of people. As exciting as this is, the Silicon Valley can distort our understanding of purpose in life.

On one hand, the allure of success has never been greater. Limitless hours of hard work and dedication, or some well-timed success can lead to life changing money, status, recognition, and power. It seems like a life of luxury might be within reach.

On the other hand, the pressure to succeed has never been greater. The cost of living gives us anxiety over how to afford monthly bills. The influx of talented employees from all over the globe can make competition at work or between companies cut throat. Sometimes it feels like current and future success are the only things that will keep us a float.

In the midst of all this, we see rising numbers of teenagers and adults struggling with anxiety and depression. Everywhere we turn we are reminded that other people are more successful than we are. Every time we check social media, we find reasons to believe that other people have better lives than we do.

Much of this boils down to what we believe about success. Our culture says that you are responsible for your own success. Our culture says success is measured by money, influence, and power. The world says that one can never have too much success.

But scripture paints a different picture. Scripture says that success comes from God. Scripture says that God measures success by our faithfulness to Him. Scripture says that our success is given to us so that we can bless others.


Daniel 4:29-37, Proverbs 11:7, Deuteronomy 8:17-20

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you measure success in your own life in the following areas? (Be honest)
    1. As an employee?
    2. As a spouse?
    3. As a parent?
  2. How do you think God measures success is those areas?
  3. Why is it tempting to measure your worth by your success? How have you seen that impact your life?

What do you think it looks like to be successful in 5 years or 10 years according to God’s priorities?