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Overcoming the Desire for Success (with Pastor Shyju Mathew)

Pastor Priji interviews Pastor Shyju on how to overcome the desire for success. Pastor Shyju shares some keys from his personal experience.

Pastor Priji: This morning I have my spiritual father Pastor Shyju on the podcast. We got to spend a few days with him in Harare, Zimbabwe where he was ministering the last weekend.

Last week you ministered to over 90,000 people – it’s great for any minister to see such a big crowd. You have been teaching us for a long time that if success can excite you, then failure can devastate you. Can you expound a little bit on that statement? How did you not get excited after a meeting like that and after getting a response like that?

Pastor Shyju: I believe I was excited in terms of being happy and grateful. When I say don’t be excited by success, I mean don’t get carried away and make it your identity. It is human nature for us to want to be happy and associate ourselves with our accomplishments. It is okay to celebrate what God has done and show it off but you have to guard your heart against pride.
If somebody gets success in their hands prematurely, they won’t value it. When you go through fire, you are tried and your character is shaken. When you finally come out of the valley and are placed on the mountain, you are just happy to be out of the valley. People will look at you and be awed by the mountain top but for you the altitude does not matter – you are just excited to be out of the valley.

If the enemy sees that you are married to something, he will try to take that away. When you become obsessed about something and the enemy sees that your identity is associated with success, he can simply shake it and you can come down as fast as you went up. So stay disconnected from success and know that only the Lord Jesus is important. If you have Jesus, you have everything and He keeps you planted. When you know who you are and when you are at rest, people will pursue you. You only need to pursue God and your spiritual father who is your representation of God on Earth. God will test your submission to your spiritual father to know your submission to God. Submit to those whom God says to submit and that way you submit to God.

Pastor Priji: You mentioned that sometimes our ministry or success becomes our identity and that is why we get carried away by our success. So what should be our identity, especially as leaders and pastors? What should we be intentional about building up and working on?

Pastor Shyju: We all want to be accepted and honored and that is why we begin to make success our identity. Preaching to more people makes me important and if I’m important people will like me – that’s the messed up identity we have. Anyone who likes you because of a platform will leave you when that platform is gone. Be careful to not let being liked be part of your identity. Jesus, at the peak of His ministry had thousands of people following Him in those days when there was no microphone even. At the end of His ministry, there were just three people and one disciple at His feet. If numbers were a measure of success, that would have been a failure. So you cannot have your identity around your assignment.

When you are pursuing the anointing more than the Lord, it shows there are insecurities in your heart. Of all the time I got to spend with my spiritual father, I never asked him for his gifts. I was not there for the gifts, I was there for him. I came to a place of rest and of security knowing who I am and knowing that God will release what He needs to release on me in His time. Work on changing yourself. When you change, everything around you will change. When you begin to become bright, people will come to your light.

Pastor Priji: So would it be right to say that a person’s desires will tell us what they have made their identity?

Pastor Shyju: Yes, the desires of our heart is the reflection of our spiritual maturity. The deeper your spiritual maturity, the less offended you will get. When I went to meet my spiritual father I waited for 2 days and was turned down on two occasions. It was very easy for the spirit of offense to jump in at that time. Soon after I got a message asking me to come over to his house which was a great privilege. Because I had already humbled myself, there was no place for pride – only gratitude. Continue to stay humble and allow God to do things in his time. When your heart is clear and aligned, all things will come to you.

Pastor Priji: Can you say a word of prayer over our listeners that their hearts would be guarded and with Godly focus?

Pastor Shyju: Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to not make success our identity. We ask that you will give us your nearness. Your nearness is our greatness. Protect us with your grace. Give us the right thinking and perspective. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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