Sunday, April 2, 2023

243 Steps to a Successful Life

It seems like more and more book titles these days offer Seven Steps to Success, Five Secrets to Healthy Relationships or Ten Steps to Whatever.

We humans thrive on certainty. We crave a numbered plan that doesn’t change and that, if followed, is sure to work. We also want control, and if we can create a more controlled way to live that works, we want it. So, we read our ten-step books, grit our teeth, get our act together and get after it. The focus is on me … I’ve got to grind it out.

The problem is that after a few days or weeks, we usually fail miserably at step three, or we give up altogether on step six. Can you relate to that?

I believe that in this life maybe there are just two steps to be concerned with…all based on Luke 10:27:

He (Jesus) answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

I like two steps better than seven or ten. But even these two steps are very hard to achieve in our own power. How do we consistently love God and love our neighbor?

Scripture says we are to rely on the Holy Spirit for moment-by-moment help while here on planet Earth. In fact, in John 14:26 Jesus said something utterly fantastic about how, as Christians, things are supposed to operate in this life.

John 14:26 (NIV): Jesus said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”6a00d8341c613853ef00e5547475628834-800wi - Version 2-1

We often buy into the lie that we have worth as people based on keeping (outward) rules, following the ten steps to success or by being “good” people. But in the New Testament, God’s laws become written on our heart (inward). As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us live the life God intends for us – the abundant life. I’m actually a fan of books that offer helpful tips for living, but if we let rules and tips for living replace or supersede the Spirit of God in us, we will live a frustrated, unfulfilled life.

Today I encourage believers in Christ to follow the Spirit within you….surrender your will to His will and open the doorway for His life to flow out of you.

John 7:38: (NLT) “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) God says, ” ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

Galatians 3:3 (NIV) says, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Bill Stark is a Greenville, Mississippi native who graduated from Ole Miss in 1983 with a BA degree in Journalism. Bill married his college sweetheart, Starwyn Strickland, of Brazil, Mississippi, and they have three children, including twins Mary Catherine and Ellen and son Will. He currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Email Bill Startk at