A further principle is this: Strive not so much to succeed but to do the right thing. I remember addressing a group of ministers in Atlanta, Georgia, on "Pitfalls in the Ministry." I told them the story of my own failures, which at that time amounted to a great many, and I said, "The lesson I have learned from my failures is that I don't have to succeed. I have to do the right thing under God's guidance, and leave success or failure in His hands." One of the ministers came to me afterwards and said, "I am a pastor of one of the largest churches in this area, and regarded by my peers as one of the most successful ministers in my denomination. But today you have helped me overcome the greatest pressure in my life - the pressure to succeed." In the early years of my ministry, I was extremely success-oriented; when I succeeded, I felt good, and when I failed, I felt devastated. Then God said to me quite bluntly one day, "Are you willing to be a failure?" The question shook me rigid. It was a whole week later before I found sufficient grace to answer that question with a "Yes," and when I did, I was instantly released from the two things that had crippled my life and ministry - the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure. Now, what matters is not succeeding or failing, but being true to Him. Success and failure are in His hands. I am not on the way to success, I am on the Way. What a difference!
O Father, set me free today from these two crippling disabilities - the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure. Help me to do the right thing, and to leave success or failure in Your hands. For Jesus' sake. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What brought Paul through his despondent struggle?
2. Write down the number of times "I" occurs in chapter 7 and "Spirit" in chapter 8.