Preparing for Life
To me, one of the saddest things to see is a young person with no direction, no hope, and no clue (Proverbs 7 in reflection). Our success in life is never tied to the home we were raised in, our financial status, nor the type of parent that raised us. God made man in his image; that is, he gave us life what we do it is our gift to him. When I was driving through St Paul, Mn a year ago, I noticed a young man lying face down on the street as that was his home. The image made me very sad because, in this young man lay possibilities that would never be unearthed and it wasn’t someone else’s responsibility to unearth them, it was this young man’s responsibility and he appeared to take no notice. The easiest thing in the world to say is, “he deserved it” without knowing his story; yet, I see a deeper problem in that this child of God was refusing to do anything about his dilemma. It is not unusual for mankind to lay down and accept his/her lot in life and call it “fate” (Genesis 49:15). Every day and on just about every street and in every town God’s greatest creation, mankind, waits for someone to help them without considering that the one person who should be doing something about their condition is not helping. John’s “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths” was for God to make a road to you but to open the road of your heart to make room for him. John didn’t have a garden hose to spray the people down and call it “good”, each person had to take the initial step of getting into the water and confessing that they were sinners in need of God’s mercy.
It is easy to say, “If I had___”, “If I wasn’t born with ____”, or any other variation, “I would be ______ and successful”; this is a cop-out and excuses we tell our self in order to push the blame away from us onto someone else. Look at the life of Samson the Timmonite who had everything going for him. His mother prayed for a child as she was unable to conceive (Judges 13:2). His life and ministry were set before he was even born (Judges 13:4). His mother and father teamed together to raise the child according to the instructions given by the angel (Judges 13:11-13). God had plans for Samson to lead the tribe of Benjamin and Samson grew strong by obedience to God. The problem was, no matter how much work his parents did to prepare him for the ministry of the Nazarite, how the parents warned him, or how great God’s plans were for his life, the integral member of the team, Samson, tended to give in to his passion and that is, “women” and tended to take the easy way out.
It is an unfortunate reality in life that God will not stop us when we decide to go down the wrong way; he will send people to convince us to stop but, if we refuse, God will let us go and then when we complain about our sorry mess, we’ll be confronted by our choices. As we’ll find out about Samson, he loved to play on the edge and each time he was able to wheedle himself out until he met his “waterloo” in a gal named Delilah who was a prostitute and who was one step ahead of him and by it beat him at his game (Judges 16:4-22). When Samson got his hair cut off, all of his mother and father’s best prayers, God’s best for his life, and the hope the nation of Benjamin so desperately needed were in vain. In the end, Samson’s hair grew back, and he was able to bring down the temple and all of the people in it. However, bringing the temple of the Philistines down and killing all who attended was not the sum total of God’s great plan for Samson it was just the end result (Judges 16:23-31). The sad story of Samson is nothing new because it occurs even today now over 200 centuries later.
So where is the encouragement in this diatribe? The encouragement is this, if you want a life filled with all the best that the world has to offer, then you have some work to do. God’s word calls us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12); that is, we need to build on what God has so graciously provided by living our life according to his word not ours. Preparing for life requires a daily commitment to living according to God’s best for your life. So how does one “prepare for life”? It is in the six-letter acronym “REVEAL”.
- Recognizing God’s call upon your life (Jeremiah 1:5)
- Evaluate your current situation (Haggai 1:7-11)
- Viewing our limitations as a foundation instead of a wall (Matthew 16:13-16)
- Enlist the support of those around you to hold you accountable (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
- Acting upon your calling with the little we have, and God will add to it (Acts 18:24-26)
- Listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 19:20)
We have choices in life as to the direction we will take. What we are not aware of is that while we are destroying our self, the Devil is taking great pleasure in it because, if he can ruin even a single life, it is one more person he will have with him in Hell. If we want respect in life, it is earned by the way we live our life. We can either prepare for life or wait for death to occur; the choice is up to us. I leave you with a poem.
My Wage by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However, I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;
For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”
May you find peace in your life today
All of my writings can be found at http://www.mikesencouragement.net