Devotion: Bumping Along between Prosperity and Adversity

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other…” Eccl.  7:14

Prosperity & Adversity are life’s guardrails; it is dangerous to drive directly towards either. Rather, when we bump into them, they should redirect us back into the middle of the road.

When we experience prosperity in life, it should cause us to pause for a moment and consider what I should do with all that I have been given. Likewise, when we bump into adversity, we should pause and consider how might these obstacles become new opportunities for maturation.

Tim Keller says, “both success and suffering will test you and bring out the worst in you.” Suffering will shake you to your core and reveal what you are made of. Similarly, success will over-inflate your ego and reveal what you think about yourself.

To persistently chase prosperity will leave an individual conceited, selfish, and egotistical. Prosperity alone leaves our ego untested. Rarely do we learn from our successes; it is failure that is the best teacher. Therefore, to seek prosperity without adversity, we fail to discover a purpose greater than our selfish desires.

Adversity, alone, will leave you beaten, exhausted and wounded. Adversity, however, also has the capability of stripping your ego away in order to reveal the true self. In Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday writes, “When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned.”

It takes prosperity and adversity, success and suffering to forge that type of confident humility.

Therefore, in which lane are you currently driving?

  • If you are experiencing a moment of adversity, how can you grow in resilience?
  • If you are experiencing a moment of prosperity, how can you give sacrificially? (The mark of sacrificial giving means it hurts, by the way).

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