BIBLE STUDY: These 3 Words Can Change Your Life
Did you know that the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs can change your life? Elder Darin McAllister, the presenter of last week’s Bible Study discussion titled “3 Words to Live By,” joins us on Westa.org to discuss the many life benefits found in the Book of Proverbs. To learn more about this topic and many others, please join us each week for Wednesday Night Bible Study at West Angeles’ North Campus Sanctuary. Read more below.
“The fear the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, but a fool despises wisdom and instruction” – Proverbs 1:7
Steven K. Scott flunked out of every job he had during his first six years out of college. He was considered by most to be a hopeless failure: but that’s not the end of the story. For 2 years, Scott read and studied the Book of Proverbs. He read a chapter every day to correspond with the date; he internalized the principles and spent time on his relationship with God. Today he is a multi-millionaire and is recognized as one of the top marketing executives in the country.
Scott celebrates the wisdom of the writings of King Solomon in his national bestseller, “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived.” He presents practical applications for Proverbs which are relevant and effective for so many areas of our lives. Many of us miss out on the unlimited blessings God has for us because we fail to act on what we know and believe. When we really know something and believe it to be true, it should bring about an action, but many times we make foolish decisions because we simply fail to act.
3 WORDS TO LIVE BY
Let’s discuss 3 topics covered in the Book of Proverbs which, when considered, can change our lives for the better: relationships, vision, and communication.
1. RELATIONSHIPS. “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle” – Proverbs 18:19 (NKJV)
Healthy, happy, holy, relationships are like precious jewels. They require risk, effort, and energy to be maintained, and commitment to make them grow. Great relationships don’t just happen, they are intentional.
How we treat others and allow others to treat us in our relationships will determine the success of that relationship. But sometimes there are those who have the single intent of bringing destruction. They do evil things, spread mayhem, and enjoy it, as described in Proverbs 2:14.
We should be concerned and upset whenever we see evil, but this is the tricky part: we often have a tendency to ignore evil when it doesn’t seem to directly affect us. It may not affect us today, however, but it can affect us tomorrow: then our children, and our children’s children. We can’t just turn the other cheek to this kind of evil.
There are also those relationships which have the power to destroy our lives. When the one that’s closest to you turns their back on you when you least expect it, it hurts deeper; you’re blindsided.
Then there are those relationships which end because one party has an expectation from the other that is just not met. When disappointments are not dealt with, frustration begins to creep in, then anger. The point of no return is bitterness: until God brings healing.
2. VISION. “Where there is no revelation (vision), the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” – Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV)
We’ve all encountered people who have all kinds of ideas and suggestions. But having an idea is not the same as having vision. Vision is not the semi-comatose state where you daydream about what a wonderful world it could be. True vision is a long-term strategic plan to accomplish a set of goals that will involve and affect others. It means having a clear destination, and a detailed map on how to get there.
I firmly believe that if you ask God for guidance and direction He will freely give it. This request, however, cannot be a one-time event: it’s a continuous seeking of the will of God, and the purpose He has for your life. It involves hearing God’s voice, not just thinking of a good idea or saying something that sounds good. When hearing from God we should “write the vision and make it plain” for 2 reasons: to remind ourselves and others what God has spoken when times get rough, and to share with those who we lead.
The vision that God gives us can never reach its full potential unless we learn to obey God: obedience is the key. Throughout Proverbs God gives us many instructions: to stay away from seductive people, to embrace wisdom and instruction, to treasure His commands, to honor Him with our first fruits, to avoid wickedness, to drink water from our own cisterns. But in Proverbs 6:16 – 19, God also tells us of 7 things which are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked plans, a false witness, hands that shed innocent blood, feet that are swift to do evil, and one who sows discord among His brethren.
So, if we love God with our whole heart and everything that is within us, then we will keep His commandments. We can’t expect God to bless our vision if we don’t love Him.
3. COMMUNICATION. “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” – Proverbs 16:23-24 (NKJV)
Great communicators think before they speak. They recognize what King Solomon said in Proverbs 18:21 that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” What we say and how we say it can either kill or give life. Even when words are not spoken, messages are still communicated through texts, tweets, blogs, and emails. These methods allow communicators to detach themselves emotionally from the intended recipient while still having a destructive impact on them.
As believers, we have the ability to communicate life in all of our relationships. We can be persuasive and effective without raising our voices. Great communicators are also greater listeners. Communicate in such a way that makes others want to listen. Solomon recognized over 3000 years ago that it’s only a fool who speaks before listening (Proverbs 18:13)! Listening more will improve every one of your relationships.
Great communicators write, speak, and live the vision. They don’t have to manipulate and deceive, but they can encourage and inspire others to do things that they would not have otherwise attempted. A great communicator does not make others dependent on them solely for growth and survival, but they equip others with the tools and resources to live and fulfill the purpose God has called them to through the wisdom that they share.
Our opening Proverb, “The fear the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge”, is not meant to have us shaking in our boots in fear. It means that we must have reverence and respect for God, and acknowledge that He is greater than we are. In Proverbs, God guides and instructs us on how to have holy, purposeful relationships, a clear vision for our lives, and effective communication of His truths. The Book of Proverbs clearly gives us words to live by: not just any words, but words from God.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES- Proverbs 1:7, 2:14, 6:16 – 19,16:23-24, 18:13, 18:19, 18:21, 29:18, Habakkuk 2:2.
Elder Darin McAllister is a Graduate of Oral Roberts University with a B.A. in Theology, Pastoral care. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1990 and served the city through some of its most tumultuous times, including the Rodney King beating, the L.A. riots, and the O.J. Simpson trial. He later went on to serve for 14 years as a Special Agent with Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he received the Directors Award and the Attorney General’s Award for excellence in investigations. He is an Ordained Elder and regularly speaks a message of Faith and God’s purpose whenever given the opportunity; from skid row to some of the nation’s largest churches. He is married to Dr. Judith Christie McAllister and they currently reside in Los Angeles California, with their three Children.
Survivors of Storms: S.O.S. – In his book, Survivors of Storms: SOS, Elder Darin McAllister’s series of unique life experiences afford him the opportunity to reflect upon many of life’s tragedies and everyday crises from an optimistic perspective. The book gives hope and possibility to the reader through a series of personal stories, observations, and historical events. It is his prayer that every reader will be inspired, encouraged, and energized to embrace their purpose as a survivor.
FEATURED IMAGE: Photo, Kyle Glenn for Unsplash. Type design, Meliza Celeridad for Creation Swap.