To the graduates of the Class of 2017: This spring, I heard a well-known politician in the state of Wisconsin share some statistics from social science research that summed up the top 3 indicators of success in life.

The first of the three steps was: 1. Graduate High School.  Congrats!  You’ve achieved that step!

The second was: 2. Get a Full-Time Job.  Many of you are going on to higher education in the fall to pursue the academic credentials needed for a professional career in the field of your choosing.  Others of you may already be confident of what you want to do and are ready to be fully engaged in the work force right away.  Either way is fine so long as you are trusting God and His Word to guide the way ahead for He has a plan for your life, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart…and He shall direct your paths” (Pr.3:5-6 NKJV).  Never settle for anything less than God’s best!

The final step: 3. Get Married Before Having Kids.  The thought of having a family of your own may freak you out at this point, but the fact is that many people meet their future spouse not too long after graduation.  God is the One who designed marriage and family for our good and His glory.  This world’s brokenness is not His fault but all the pain and suffering are the result of our attempt to do it our own way.  Guys tend to give love so that they can get sex and girls tend to give sex so that they can get love.  Your hormones are not meant to drive you crazy but are God’s gift to you to drive you to your wedding day!  The Bible says that “Marriage is honorable…and the bed undefiled” (Heb.13:4 NKJV).  Keep it that way!

Here’s an additional Bonus Step to experiencing success and avoiding suffering that will endure forever: 4. Get Your Heart Right With God.  There was this guy who was a rock-star on par with Warren Buffet or Bill Gates who lived in the 10th century B.C.  Solomon was his name and he was one of the greatest kings of ancient Israel but he pursued success in his way much to his demise.  This dude was so loaded that he literally had piles of money, hundreds of sex-slaves, and every cool thing that he could think of he did it, bought it, or made it.  At the end of the day, he was miserable and empty.  Eventually, he came to his senses and wisely advised young people to “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” and to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecc.12:1,13 NKJV).  In other words, respect God and trust His Word, the Bible.  Solomon’s life bears witness that all this world has to offer will never fulfill the desires of your heart.  They can only be met by the Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself, who loves you despite your sin, gave His life for you, and rose again so that you could be forgiven and born again spiritually by His grace through faith alone.  May God bless you with success in your life!

 *Published in the Adams-Friendship Times-Reporter: June 2017

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