- “Let’s take a walk.” Those simple words remind you that life is a long journey.
- I was around 11 years old when I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I can remember Pastor Mike King say, let’s take a walk as he asked me questions about Jesus, salvation, turning from my sin and trusting Jesus for going to heaven. That walking moment has been the greatest decision of my life.
- I’ve told the story before and won’t tell it all at this moment, but I proposed to my wife by taking a night-time walk along a boardwalk and moonlit sky. We felt the beach sand beneath and the blessing of God from above as she said “Yes”. That walking moment has been another defining decision for my life the past 13 years.
- I was in college with challenges to my faith as well as to how God was going to provide for my education. Further, I felt very alone w/o a roommate and entering mid year left me with little connection to others. Numerous nights I would take walks to pray to God. That left an indelible mark on my faith and vision for who God was and where He was taking me.
- To this day, I continue to take prayerwalks to enlighten God’s vision for my life and our ministry at SPBC.
- Can you remember a time someone said “Let’s take a walk.”
- Perhaps it was positive… gave clarity, renewal.
- Perhaps it created more problems… signaled the end or turning point for you.
God is constantly refining the walks and ways of our life. God gives us choices that will have consequences to either drawing us closer or away from Him.
Today we start a series, life in Proverbs with this message examining our way before God.
EXAMINE Proverbs Title: My Way Before God
A point to remember about Proverbs is that the book of Proverbs is personally persuasive.
The author is largely a father speaking to a son. The message is not hypothetical or from an abstract “we” to an unknown “they”. Further, he is not lecturing or simply stating facts. Instead, it’s a personal message from an “I” to a “you”. The author is seeking to cultivate a personal relationship. He is pleading and being personally persuasive because he loves his son.
In other words, the Bible is God’s personal message to you. The message of the Bible is not trying to offer competing arguments with the ways of the world. God is inviting you to walk with Him.
- Do you have ears to hear and eyes to see?
Proverbs 22:17 “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to knowledge.”
- God is personal… Are you treating God as a religious game that you can always “start over” or do you not realize God desires a relationship?
Proverbs 15:8-9 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord but he loves him who pursues righteousness.”
As you consider your way before God, the book of Proverbs reminds us of 3 actions to prepare to personally meet God face to face.
#1 Purge pride from our lives.
Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Proverbs 3:7 “Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.”
Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Proverbs 26:12 “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
Proverbs 30:12 “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.”
Pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick except the person who has it. – Tony Evans
Illus on Pride: When weightlifters want to strengthen their legs, their foundation base of strength, the best exercise is the squat. In squats, a person puts weight on the shoulders and repeated goes down and up, in order to build the leg muscles. The key difference between great and average weightlifters is that great ones understand that in squats you must get low as possible. The lower you go, the stronger you get.
Illus on Pride: There once was a pilot, a pastor, a computer whiz, and a boy scout on a plane. The plane had engine trouble and was going down but there were only 3 parachutes with 4 people.
- The pilot said, “I’m the only one who can report to the airline company what went wrong, so I need a parachute.” So, he took the chute and jumped.
- The computer whiz said, “I have a lot of knowledge that the world desperately needs and I can’t have it die with me, so I need a parachute.” So, he took the chute and jumped.
- The pastor said to the boy scout, “Son, I’ve lived a life of faith and you’re just a young man. You can have the last parachute.”
- The boy scout said to the pastor, “Pastor, don’t worry. The brilliant computer whiz just took my knapsack instead of the parachute.”
- Likewise, many of us think more highly of ourselves than we should. We view ourselves as a life whiz and we jump out on our own decisions without God and the end is despair, destruction, and death. If our life is to get stronger – spiritually with God and relationally with others – then we must get low and purge pride.
- Spend 10 minutes each day this week asking God to reveal areas of pride and where your not trusting God.
- Invite a prayer partner to pray for and with you as you repent and renew your walk with God.
#2 Prayerfully plan the goals of our life.
Whether you realize it or not, everyone is a planner. We plan to eat – some of us too much planning. We plan what time to wake up in the morning, what clothing to wear, how much time it takes to get ready and travel to places we need to go. Somehow we become expert planners when it comes to a party or a vacation. All of this planning is very elementary that on some level we are capable.
There are also greater levels of planning: choosing a college and how to pay for it (for self or children); paying expenses for home, groceries, purchases. When people are not good at planning their expenses they accrue debt. Other levels of planning include involvement in entrepreneurship of business and leadership of organizations and people.
Seldom does anyone achieve a goal or arrive at their intended destination without planning.
An atheist wrote in his will to leave all his property, house and land, to the devil. The legal system wasn’t quite sure how to honor the man’s request. Finally, after weeks of deliberation they figured the best way to carry out the atheist’s wishes is to allow the house to rot, the weeds and briars to grow, and the property to erode into nothing. The court’s ruling declared, “The best way to let the devil have possession of anything is to do nothing.” Likewise, the best way to allow satan to slowly erode and eliminate your life is not to have any action plan for your life’s purpose and faith.
Plans require prayer and faith.
Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Proverbs 20:18 “Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.”
Plans require vision
Proverbs 6:6-7 “God to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her food in summer and gathers her sustenance in harvest.
Plans require diligence…
diets: gyms are full in Jan but empty in February; treadmills are not coat racks
Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
Plans require evaluation… is it working? does God have alternate purpose?
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
We must plan with an open hand rather than closed hand. Our plans are not always God’s plans. That’s why we need to pray and seek counsel and then continue to be diligent & evaluate if we are in God’s will or being wise on our own eyes. C.J. Mahaney says, “No matter how much planning, scheduling, and discipline is present in my life, I will never completely redeem the time. I am a finite creature, limited in what I can accomplish, and further limited by my sin. So it should surprise nobody that I leave to‐dos undone each and every day. My joy is not derived from the flawless execution of my goals. My joy each day is derived from the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Only God gets his to‐do list done each day. I need the cross of Christ each day.”
Planning is wise and an act of worship to God. Planning shows trust in the resources God has provided you to act in faith as a steward of those blessings. Failing to plan is planning to fail; it is foolish and a dangerous way to live.
#3 Pursue the path of wisdom.
Proverbs 24:3-8 3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. 7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth. 8 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer.
The book of Proverbs presents two pathways: wise/foolish; righteous/sinners; life/death.
Life is preparation to personally meet God.
God has a plan.
God’s plan is unfailing.
Isaiah 46:9-10 “I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
God’s plan is unsparing in sending His Son to save us.
Acts 2:23 “This Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”
God planned for our good, we should plan for His glory.
- Believing that God is greater than ALL and that His purposes cannot fail means that you and I are to live with more confidence, courage and risk-taking. We can risk in the present because God is certain of the future.
Upcoming Plans @SPBC…