This letter is either being read by you or to you. I wish we could have a conversation, but hopefully it'll lead to that with those you respect. It'll only take five minutes. May it lead you into the success you want for your life.
I am going to assume that you, like me, want to be a winner. You have dreams about succeeding in some career, and that's good! Who wants to be a loser?
God wants you to be successful! He tells you in one of the first books of the Bible that if we'll follow His instructions "... then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise" (Josh 1:8).
I've served hundreds of thousands of young people over almost 50 years. What I've learned will help you, but it'll take deliberate decisions, not just good intentions. Multitudes watch a gifted pianist and say, "I wish I could play like that!" The majority fizzle out, wishing but not willing to do the work.
I enjoy college football, and my team is Alabama. Their coach teaches them it takes work to become winners They're undefeated again and remain the gold standard to emulate.
During their last game, someone shared there are currently 480,000 college athletes in America, but only two percent will ever make it to the pros. That means out of almost half a million competing, only a thimbleful makes it to the NFL, NBA or MLB.
So what does it take to succeed in life?
To make a great burrito you need the right ingredients. The same goes for successful people. It's essential to hang with the right folks; focus on the whole person (spirit, soul and body); cultivate good habits and discover and develop your God-given gifts. Finally, it's critical to understand the three maxims of life:
- Life is a series of choices.
- Choices have consequences.
- Choices determine destiny.
The law of gravity holds whether you believe it or not. Jump off a building denying it and you'll discover its reality. The Bible calls this the law of "sowing and reaping." Sow obedience to God's laws, you'll reap benefits. Sow disobedience, you'll reap consequences, often not immediately but eventually.
- My best friend growing up died in his 20s because he got involved with drugs and immorality (in a culture telling us promiscuity, homosexuality and pornography aren't wrong, while STDs are ruining 110 million lives).
- A young friend got into the gay lifestyle, found it was anything but "gay", lost his wife, broke his daughter's heart and died an agonizing death from AIDS.
- Over the years, we've watched Michael Jackson, Elvis, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and countless others die tragic, premature deaths due to sinful self-indulgence. Movies, music videos and award shows celebrate lifestyles contrary to God's design while masking the broken lives of the performers. The fame and fortune are usually short-lived yet multitudes follow their example.
There are dangers on the road ahead, and you need to be wise. Scripture tells us, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).
History's all-time best seller also says, "Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth" (Eph.6:2-3). Do you want things to go well for you? Do you want to live a long, successful life? This commandment is a no-brainer.
My parents told me not to hitchhike. Once, I was picked up by a homosexual who tried to seduce me. I escaped by jumping out of his car. I literally could have been ruined for life. Another time, three guys who gave me a lift veered off the road into an alley where all three put guns to my head, robbed me and could have ended my life. God in His mercy spared me.
Your generation lives in a time of incredible deception. Attractive and articulate people, celebrities and politicians lure millions from truth into a path of compromise, ending in confusion, guilt, shame and destruction. Ignorance abounds.
Here's just one example.
A recent poll revealed that 58 percent of Millennials would rather live in either a socialistic, communist or fascist country. Just 36 percent had a very unfavorable view of communism. One in three admired international terrorist and mass-murderer Che Guevara, who executed thousands. One in four hailed communist dictator Vladimir Lenin "a hero," and one in five considered Joseph Stalin the same way, oblivious to his genocide of over 20 million of his own Russian people.
This reveals horrific ignorance among young people, who represent the largest generation in America. A century of communism in power shows it destroyed over 65 million lives and enslaved millions more.
Mass executions, starvation, deportations, forced labor camps, police-state terror, abolition of private property and devastation from maniacal dictators are the fruits of this brutal, failed system.
Imagine waking up in a world coerced to concede freedom of speech, while surrendering iPhones, cars, computers and freedom to come and go unhindered to align with this bloody legacy. Take a glance at North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba to see the misery and bankruptcy brought by barbarian rulers promising utopia through government-controlled redistribution of income.
God tells us, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6a).
Zombies, vampires, ghosts and superheroes aren't real but there is an invisible archenemy, Satan, who works to thwart the plan God has for each one of us. His goal is to bring us under his diabolical rule. We preach the gospel and His Word to rescue people and set them free.
On my right forearm I have a tattoo that simply says, "JESUS." I yielded my life to Him almost 48 years ago and made a quality decision to follow Him and His Word concerning every area of my life.
Irv Gordon not long ago passed the three-million-mile mark on his Volvo. He said the secret for his success was following from Day One the manufacturers' handbook!
I've done the same thing with God's manufacturers' handbook, the Bible, and I've found a life of success, adventure, peace, purpose and stability. I'm happily married 41 years with four grown children, seven grandkids, no debt and am passionate about my job.
My daughter has more extensive artwork on her arm depicting a beautiful lady sitting at the feet of a large cross amidst turbulent waters infested by sharks. The message is plain: Evil forces surround us and seek to devour us, so we must remain alert, stay close to Jesus and follow His Word.
God issues us this challenge: "... I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to him..." (Deut.30:1b9-20a.
Two thousand years ago, a Roman governor named Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Jesus had told him, "For this reason I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth" (Jn.18:37-38). He also said, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John.14:6). Not "a way" but the way; not expounding some truth but embodying the truth.
Isn't it wonderful to know that we can freely follow the Creator of the universe while being His ambassadors to our generation?
If you've never repented, asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and then put your trust in Him alone to be your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so now. He loves you unconditionally and was punished on the cross in your place so you could be pardoned and find abundant life in a relationship with Him.
I hope this helped you, and if you'd like to learn more about how to be an informed influencer in your generation, check out bullseyechallenge.com with free videos and a book to enable you to live victoriously!
Thanks for listening.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.