Class 44: “Take the Road Less Traveled” (Part 1)
Welcome to Class 44 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.
— Let’s Pray —
Today, we are going to begin a new study titled, “Take The Road Less Traveled”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Zig Ziglar. He said, “When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
I trust that you are doing well today.
I am writing you now to encourage you to take the “road less traveled.” You might be asking, what is the road less traveled? Well, in short, it is the tough, lonely road of self-discipline. This road is about delaying gratification and pleasure to accomplish a worthy goal or pursuit. Practicing discipline is much easier said than done. Discipline is a great idea, but implementing it is difficult.
According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the word discipline means:
– To bring under control
– Training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
– Self control
– To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control
– Control gained by enforcing obedience or order
Discipline is that quality that says, by the grace of God, come hell or high water, I am determined to get the task done or reach that goal, etc. Discipline says, it doesn’t matter how I feel or what is going on around me or who is doing or saying what. All that matters is that I am willing to sacrifice – to do without things, if necessary, to reach my goal.
Here is a personal example of self-discipline: to write this book, I’ve had to get up at 3:30 a.m., forego eating, get rid of the television set, and not look at football and basketball, etc.
Dear friend, you will have to have that rugged tenacity and discipline if you are going to succeed in your endeavours in this life.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
We have already discussed the topic of self-discipline in several previous studies. Thus, this lesson will simply serve to refresh your memory on areas that you, as a believer, should exercise discipline in, and give you some guidance in how to go about possessing such self-control.
There are five main areas in which we really need to practice the principle of discipline:
– In-Depth Study
First, let us look at the discipline of prayer.
Luke 5:16 says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
Praying was a common practice for Jesus. He spoke to the Father regularly and in a location that was free from distractions.
Jesus did not only pray when He felt like it, when He was at the temple, or when He encountered a crisis. Rather, Jesus regularly took himself to a solitary location and spent time with the Father. I do not doubt that there were many times Jesus was exhausted or had seemingly more important things on His agenda, but nonetheless He realized that spending time with the Father was imperative. He likely left such meetings energized and empowered to face the world for yet another day. If we desire to live as Christ lived, should we not adopt the same habits and priorities He possessed?
Now, let’s look at the discipline of reading, especially Bible reading.
Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is different from all of the other pieces of armor that God commands His children to put on.
It is the only offensive piece of armor. The belt, breastplate, shield, and helmet merely provide defense against the enemy’s attacks. However, the sword actively attacks the enemy and seeks to intentionally take him down. The Bible says that the “devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Unfortunately, brother, that includes you. The enemy will do anything to see you fall and to separate you from Christ. So, rather than simply stand back and attempt to defend yourself against these attacks, why not pull out your sword and go after the devil yourself? You will never be fit for such a battle if the Word of God is not hidden in your heart. The Bible gives you everything you will ever need to live a victorious life. Begin now to devote time and energy to reading God’s Word. Trust me, you will be glad that you did.
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.