Class 12: Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success (Part 1)
Today, we are going to begin a new study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success” (Part 1).
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Vance Havner: “The Bible humbles or hardens the human heart. We have to do something about its message, for we cannot leave it alone. We may think we have done nothing about it, but it will do something to us.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
I trust that you have been doing well since my last letter. Today, I am writing this letter from the law library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. By the way, I just had a long and interesting conversation with a young black man who is a law student here.
In this letter, I want to expand on something that I barely touched on in a previous letter: that is, the importance of the Bible in your life. Frankly, if you desire to be truly successful in life, you will need to read, meditate upon, and obey the Bible. In doing so, God promises good success. Notice what God says in Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Do you want genuine, lasting success? If you do, you will have to make God’s Word a vital part of your daily life. Your doing so, will guarantee success.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Read the following passages and note the relationship between truly living God’s Word and leading a successful life.
- Deuteronomy 17:18-20: “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”
The copy of the law was the only Scripture available at this time in Israelite history. It is clear that God holds His Word in the highest esteem. If the king is to experience a successful, prosperous reign it will not be sufficient for him to merely own a copy of the law. The king is not commanded to set the law aside and allow dust to collect. Nor is he commanded to put it aside six days a week and pull it out once a week in order to hear someone else tell him what the law says. Furthermore, the king is not told to pull out the sections of the law that make him feel good inside. Rather, God demands that in order for His child to have success, he must take the Word seriously. The king is to have God’s Word with him at all times, and he is to read it daily. Furthermore, the king is ordered to follow ALL the words contained in the law. If he lives a life that demonstrates such reverence for and dedication to God’s Word, he is not only promised a successful reign for himself, but the king is also guaranteed to leave a powerful legacy. Sure this commandment was given to a specific individual at a specific time in history. Nonetheless, the principles displayed in this commandment apply to the follower of Christ today, not merely as a way to make our own lives successful, but with the much greater hope of leaving a legacy that brings glory to the Father for years to come.
- Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Verse eight calls the believer to focus only on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, things of virtue, and things of praise. Well, these characteristics all sound nice, but how in the world do we, in our sinful flesh, ever consistently decipher what falls into this group? By reading on to verse 9, Jesus tells His followers to live out His teachings and to imitate His life. Obviously, the Bible is the number one source for discovering how Jesus interacted with this fallen world. Thus, we are to study God’s Word, do all we can to live as He commands, and in the end our lives will inevitably reflect those characteristics of verse 8. The individual who consistently models such attributes is sure to experience a highly successful existence.
Are you convinced that God highly esteems His Word and expects us to uphold it with absolute reverence? The Bible is not just another book. It is the very Word of God, meant to display His redemptive purposes for all of creation, for all of time. In Genesis, God breathed life into the first man, and in II Timothy, Paul claims that Scripture is God-breathed. Just as the literal breath of God gave physical life to mankind, His inspired breath, the Bible, provides spiritual life for man as well. Thus, no matter how successful you may be in the eyes of this world, if the Word is not hidden in your heart you will be far from reaching your maximum potential. We are not on this earth to merely create personal goals and achieve them. Rather, we exist to bring glory to the Father, and this is only possible if we know Him intimately. The purpose of knowing the God of the universe, the God that thought of you before there was time, is the intention of the Bible. Do you desire to know Him more intimately?
If your answer is yes, please be sure to join us for our next class where we will begin looking at three suggestions for reading the Bible effectively.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.