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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Achiever? ... or OVERachiever?

Chances are, you are – or know someone who is – driven to succeed. Perhaps you manage a large department, or lead worship, or write inspirational fiction, or even manage a very active family life. With all of those achievements, it can be very easy to spin out of control.

Author and speaker John Ortberg, in his book The Me I Want to Be, writes, “God did not take away Paul’s desire to achieve; rather, he harnessed it so that Paul could serve others.” Before receiving the message from the Lord to do His work, Paul was full of worldly ambition and worked tirelessly to persecute the very church he later promoted. Not only did Paul’s life change, but so did the course of the history of the world. He helped begin a worldwide movement that has lasted thousands of years and impacted countless lives in unfathomable ways.

God put the desire to succeed within us. Ecclesiastes 9:10 states: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” It is how we focus that desire that counts.

When we focus our attention on God and work for Him, we produce good fruit. We use our ambition to not only achieve for ourselves, but to do good for others. Furthermore, when we redirect our work to reflect God’s will for our lives, we stay away from the errant triggers of dishonesty, comparison and a workaholic nature. Instead, we use our God-given gifts to further His kingdom in a way that keeps our focus on Him. The end result is that everyone – our own family and friends, the spiritually restless and unchurched, and mature Christians alike – can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

God put the desire to achieve within us, and we thank Him for this great gift by using it for His glory! Take the time today to put your ambition under a microscope. Examine where you may need to upgrade your achievement desires and center them in Christ.

WARNING: Errant desire triggers include the behavioral tendency to become a workaholic, an underlying dishonesty about certain issues, and habitual comparisons to the achievements of others.

Motivational speaker and author Mark Driscoll encourages us this way:The root of an overachiever’s problem is a worship problem. They put their work, money, power, prestige or fame in the place of God. We need to get past the fruit and into the root. You can grab all these weeds but if you don’t pull the root, it always comes back. By examining the root of the problem and placing it at the foot of the cross, we turn our need to succeed into something worthy of God’s delight. In this way, we move from worldly ambition to Godly achievement."

Think about what the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10. Why do you suspect that God asks us to view ourselves as His masterpiece? What assumption can you draw as to why Christ wants us to believe he created us “anew” in him?

Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The great thing about achievement is that we want to achieve. Thankfully, as we center our achievements in Christ, we seek the right type of goal to win the right type of prize.

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Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most popular series (that started with Always the Baker Never the Bride) will conclude this spring with Always the Baker FINALLY the Bride, which is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

Sandie leads a team of writers in creating the Living It Out daily Bible study for CedarCreek Church. Today's devotion is based on the Living It Out study on the desire to achieve. If you enjoyed it, feel free to check out the daily studies by e-mail or audio podcast by clicking HERE.


  1. Sandra, thanks for the interesting perspective on overachieving, especially through the story of Paul. Christmas blessings to you.

    1. And to you, Elaine! Thanks for visiting.

  2. We have to be careful not to get to the -ic stage with anything. For example workaholic. Ick. The difference with our own overwork vs. God's is that when God has called us to it, He enables us to do it and we are aware it was His favor not our own "-ic" personality making it happen. Blessings!


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