God’s Simple Road Map To Success
Posted on 06.05.2013
I live in the Central Valley of northern California and from time to time, we love to vacate to the far southern ends of this great state to San Diego and La Jolla. Regardless of the freeways traveled leading to our much-awaited retreat, we can usually make the journey between six and a half to seven hours. That is, unless we fail to refer to our travel plans.
My husband has a fantastic natural honing that usually gets us exactly where we need to be within the timeframe. However, every once in a while, we veer off the beaten path to circumvent the thick traffic of Los Angeles. We’re never as familiar or prepared as we think we are when we do this. And it always seems to take longer and is more frustrating than staying on the more navigationally suggested route.
In life, to successfully arrive at the destination always requires steps. God gives us His road map but in our “creative, impatient, and arrogant” minds, we think that we can bypass the harder work and arrive intact. We detour only to discover that our “well-derived” plan only lead us to nail-biting, ducking and dodging, hair-raising encounters of the “lost kind!”
I have two daughters, each of them have experienced various degrees of success. My eldest daughter, bright and witty, courageous and spontaneous, received a full-ride to college, completed her four-year Nursing degree, and is now serving in the Army Nurse Corps. Successful? Yep. My youngest, bright and sensitive, cautious and unsure, on a full parental-ride to college (that means we pay!), changed majors, is passionate about joining the college’s cheer team, failed a course (maybe two), and is still a bit unsure about her path. Successful? Headed there. She’s learning this summer that success in college requires a sound and well-devised plan!
The insight provided in Proverbs 16 suggests that godly success is the consecration of the heart and the mind and is the responsibility of the person and The Lord. Here are three steps that are elementary enough for the youngest striver and simple enough for the oldest dreamer.
Step 1. Prepare (Proverbs 16:1).
“The preparations of the heart belong to man. But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”
Clear advice. Our responsibility is to prepare our hearts. How? Through prayer and His Word. Job 11:12-14 says, “an empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child. If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer!” (NLT). Then listen to God’s answer. His is the One who holds the master plan for our success. Jeremiah 29:11 declares, that He is the One who knows the plan…and the plan is for our success! In Joshua 1:8, the Lord commands Joshua to “never let this Book of the Law to depart from your mouth, but meditate in it day and night, and do everything is that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” I mean, if we’re going to have success, why not qualify it and have “good success.”
Step 2. Purpose (Proverbs 16:3)
“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” (NKJV)
Clear again! Bad thinking will NEVER result in “bad doing.” Work to the Lord is work that is dedicated and holy. Our responsibility is to purposefully do the work that will bring God glory, and in exchange He grants us success. That’s why Proverbs 16:25 declares that there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end, is the way of death! Imagine, pursuing for months and years, a degree, a job, a relationship that is out of God’s will for you. That’s dead time, dead effort, and dead end! We’ve all driven around in unfamiliar areas only to discover that a turn left and a turn right brought us to the dreaded “DEAD END” sign. David challenged Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:20 to “Be strong. Have strength of heart, and do it. Do not be afraid or troubled, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not stop helping you. He will not leave you until all the work of the house of the Lord is finished.” (NLT). Titus 3:14 is compelling us to, “let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”
God never wants the work of your hands to be incomplete and without purpose.
Step 3. Plan (Proverbs 16:9)
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NKJV)
“Way and steps” are complementary in their direction, not opposing destinies. The “way” is the long-range while the steps are the short-range objectives. Our responsibility is to put the heart-filled strategy together. Strategies include a well-thought out game plan to address the certainties and uncertainties along the “way”. We are to prepare in advance the plan and God’s responsibility is to guide our step-by-step details. I’m a Registered Nurse with nearly 30 years of experience. There is no way I could have approached patient care without a plan for each patient. Some goals were short term like teaching patients about their medication regimen when they went home. Other days, I recall being in the ICU and the plan was more complex like, calculation drips to maintain a patient’s blood pressure to keep their kidneys functioning. Still other days, the strategy was to provide physical support for a patient being weaned from the ventilator. Whatever the situation, it always included a well-formed written plan. Habakkak 2:2-3 says, take the vision, write it down, and make it plain so that when you read it, you are motivated to do it! Many plans never get out of the driveway because they are unwritten and lack commitment.
If you’re a college student, a stay-at-home mom, or someone redefining their career goals, God is committed to your success, when success is approached God’s way!