Elevation requires separation. If we desire to succeed and be great, we are going to have to go through seasons of separation.
Freshmen year in college was the first time I heard that quote. Now, a couple of days away from starting my senior year, I have finally understood the reality in those three words.
Living in a world where success is everyone’s “American Dream”, it can be easy to fall into the trap. I say trap because it is a TRAP.
It’s an illusion, it’s what we see on our screens as soon as we wake up and pick up our phones. Somewhere in the apps you have, you’ll read about a new and young CEO or see your friends’ post on social media about accepting an offer with a fortune 500 company.
Doing “big things” has become a craving to young men.
Eventually, we begin to compare ourselves to the world. We too want to be great.
Then, this comparison game steals our joy… The only person we are to compare ourselves to is Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Let me rewind a little bit. Attending a prestigious university, coming from a low-income household, and from one of the top ten poorest counties in the state, I had the mindset to become successful. Plus I was expected to follow my childhood dreams: to become a doctor.
Every time I came home to visit, everyone asked me about my pre-med life and my achievements. I always responded, “It’s going well!”
Little did they know that behind that answer was a young man wrestling with God about following my path to success versus his will for my life.
As young men, we get stuck in the middle of either being obedient to our calling (Luke 11:28) or choosing what the world has to offer.
Instead of playing “tug of war” during field day in elementary school, we begin to play “tug of lies” with the enemy. We lose hope, we lose joy, and we may even lose faith.
The Bible tells us that the enemy is the author of confusion. You begin to wonder if God truly cares about us and our desires. We pray; we go to church; we are faithful. Yet we being to wonder if the bible was lying to us when it said “he will give you the desire of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), or that “he is faithful till the end” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
The Issue Is Within Us, Not God.
I didn’t realize that life is so much bigger than me.
So what is the key to success?
Surrender. (Proverbs 3:5-6; 23:26)
I surrendered everything: my desires, my goals, people’s opinions, and the fear of failure. My life changed forever. I was set free!
I was set free!
It wasn’t easy. I separated myself from certain people, I deactivated all social media, and I got into the Word — the true bread of life.
It became a season where I discovered the fruit of greatness: I learned to trust God and embrace humility, and I learned to hear his voice.
Did he give me clarity? Nope. I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do when I graduate.
But, he gave me certainty. He promises to never leave nor forsake me. He promises me that things will work together for my good. He promises to love me unconditionally.
In that challenging season, my relationship with God grew. Elevation required separation.
What are some things or people you must let go and separate from?
I’m confident that if young men learn to trust God, embrace humility, and hear his voice they will be on the road to “success”.
He truly is the great vine (John 15:1-7), and the pruning season prepared me for the fruit — the fruit of greatness and success as defined by God!