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The Principled Place

January 7th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 3 (NLT)

3 Honesty guides good people;
      dishonesty destroys treacherous people.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Life appears to be a series of calculated decisions.  Good decisions.  Poor decisions.  As hind sight is always twenty-twenty, our culture constantly traces back the paths that led to one’s success or one’s demise.  Magazines and news stations run biographical stories that take the reader back to the roots of societal heroes.  Humble beginnings transformed through a series of fortunate events, monumental challenges, and wise decisions into a heroic epic. Presidents.  CEO’s.  Civil Rights Activists.  Religious leaders.  Each person of influence in our culture has a story.

Those stories are the bases of self-help solutions and best-selling books.  Eighteen Steps to Successful Living. Learning the Habits of Successful People.  How To Think Like A Millionaire.  Where Successful People Use the Restroom.  Somehow, we long to bottle up that which great people possess and sip on it daily like a magic potion.  If Bill Gates does this, then so should I because then I will be successful like Bill Gates.  Even in the ministry world, we are constantly trying to decipher the mysterious formula that produces growth and stability in someone’s ministry.  Once it happens, pastors and leaders flock to it and begin the process of making it into an assembly line.

But it doesn’t always work that way.  Whether you chock it up to random chance or perhaps divine ordinance, life’s circumstances will never repeat themselves in identical fashion.  We can work with rigorous diligence to reproduce the exact same environment where within success was found in someone else’s life only to walk away with completely different results in our own.  Why?  Because there are too many variables that are beyond our control.  

Sure, you can do the same things, but you can’t make the weather change as it did for someone else.  You can’t change the mood of the key person they met.  You can’t reproduce the health crisis or the random meeting that sparked the idea that led to the concept that birthed the dream that motivated the organization that caught the eye of the financier that wrote the check that built the unimaginable . . . you see, the process will never unfold the same way twice.  That’s the nature of life.

But even though we can’t reproduce circumstances to a tee, we can acknowledge the principles that have led others to possess the potential to succeed.  In other words, we can’t reproduce greatness, but we can reproduce the potential for greatness by living out the principles of greatness.  Whether or not we actually achieve greatness is not up to us . . . that’s where the divine plan comes into play.  However, our role is crucial because we decide whether or not to live within the potential of that divine plan.

Thus, this verse speaks volumes: “Honesty guides good people;  dishonesty destroys treacherous people.”  This is not a formula for success, it’s a window into the principle that guides the lives of good people: honesty.  At the end of the day, integrity is the guide . . . the quantifiable factor that is easily definable.  Little else will be this easy to define and nothing else will be predictable in life.  I can’t predict what will come, but I can decide how I will react to what comes and through that process, I can live in the potential that if God decides to bestow circumstances of greatness upon me, I will be ready.

Our principles create our potential, but not predictable outcomes.  I want to live in the principled place.


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