Whom Shall I Fear?
It’s funny how when people think that they have arrived or made it, many think that they do not need God anymore.
Many people earn a college degree, make six or seven figures and do not see the need for faith, prayer and a relationship with the Lord.
But the more I have climbed the ladder of success, I have discovered that I need God more than when I seemed stranded on the bottom of the totem pole.
With success, no matter how major and how minor, comes hatred, jealousy, envy and pitfalls.
As rapper The Notorious B.I.G. once said, the more money you get, the more problems you get. And with success, comes jealousy and envy.
Therefore, when things start going well for us in life, it is important that we remain in God.
He will guide our steps and help us avoid all of the pitfalls that our enemies and haters have set in our path.
In Psalm 27: 1-3, David wrote, “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me; my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.”
As a younger man, I naively believed that the people with me were for me.
I thought that if a person hung out with me or showed love, they actually loved me and loved my movement and my vision.
That is the furthest thing from the truth.
The more God has blessed me the more I have seen it happen.
Many of the people around me either are trying to use me to get where they want to go, or the love that they have for me has been replaced with anger and envy.
Truthfully, many people like you or love you because they love the fact that you are beneath them, whether it is career-wise, socially or financially.
The minute you start doing well, they start acting funny.
Those sincere smiles turn into side-eyes and eye rolls.
Therefore, success brings even more need to have God in your life so he can bless you with the discernment to distinguish friend or foe.
That discernment is crucial as you climb the ladder of the success.
There is a reason why the neighborhood hustler never made it out of the neighborhood, while the white-collar swindler is a billionaire.
As you deal with businessmen in corner offices within corporate America you deal with crooks.
They do everything to undermine the next man from forging documents, contracts and checks to straight theft.
You need God to help you navigate the shark-invested waters of corporate America more than you need Him to help you avoid the wolves in the inner city.
This is so because most hood hustlers are not as sophisticated as the men and women in the penthouses.
Therefore, I always ask God to remove those who do not have my best interests at heart.
And make no mistake about it, when God answers that prayer it can become very painful.
Some of the people you will lose will be the same people you thought had your back.
I lost a friend that I had since the first grade.
He tried to hustle me out of money by asking me to take out a loan in my name for his planned barbershops.
I lost a colleague and former graduate school professor when she tried to ruin my reputation with a television executive.
I lost a writer from RegalMag.com when he asked the company to send him to Los Angeles to conduct an interview.
The interview could have been done via email or telephone for at least $1,000 less.
And those were just people who were not “business savvy.”
They thought they could get over on someone who is actually more knowledgeable than them.
Imagine the wolves in sheep’s clothing when I come across people who are much smarter than me and they try to hustle me out of my money and/or product/intellectual property.
As I have progressed towards my dreams, God has shown me how to pay attention to bad body language such as fake smiles, smirks or eye rolls.
From a 30 second conversation, a person can discern whether or not someone is trustworthy or not.
And like poet Maya Angelou once said, when someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.
Furthermore, God will show you that it is not your responsibility to take everyone with you as you climb that ladder.
Just because someone was with you when you started your journey does not mean that God intends for him or her to be there with you when you reach your apex.
Some people that began with you might not be good enough at what you are doing to finish with you.
Many people are only put in your life for a specific purpose or time period and not for a lifetime.
If you keep them around too long, you will not bring them with you as you move up.
They will instead bring you down because you cannot carry everyone and still hope to get somewhere on time if at all.
God gives everyone a gift, and just because He gave you a gift and a purpose does not mean He gave your colleagues the same blessing.
If a person is not meant to be in your circle, they can bring you down even if they are actually trying to help.
You have to remove anyone from the equation if they are creating a problem instead of solving a problem.
And please be clear, that many of the people around you will pretend to be your friend just because they think they will benefit from your blessings.
People will tell you they love you and smile in your face, then diss you when they think they’re out of earshot from you.
However, none of those grim realities should cause you to fear or stress over who has your back and who is hindering your progress.
With God in your life, He will make those things as clear as day.
You will clearly see whom you should keep in your circle and who is trying to stop you from progressing.
And when you remove them from your circle or life, you do not owe them any explanations.
At some point in your life being selfish is not a bad thing.
If someone can selfishly use you to their benefit and your detriment, then you can selfishly put your well being at the top of your priority list.