READ: Proverbs 16-17
THINK: Do you want to be successful? Of course you do. That doesn't necessarily mean being famous, achieving power, or making tons of money, but you no doubt seek a sense of purpose and significance. Yet, you'll never find ultimate fulfillment by following your own plans. To attain true success and become everything you were created to be, you must rely on God to reveal His plans for you. As you spend time with God and look to Him for guidance through His Word and prayer, He will give you the right motives and direction. Then you can commit your actions to God with the assurance that He will help you lay out the plans to accomplish what He intends to do through you.
RESPOND: Even though a person may feel that his or her plans and intentions are right, how does God judge a person's actions (16:2)? (See 16:2 note.) In what way does committing your plans to God lead to success (16:3)? What does it mean, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps" (16:9)? (See 16:1 note.) Why are understanding and wisdom greater than wealth (16:16)? What does it mean that "pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (16:18)? In what ways do pleasant words bring encouragement and healing (16:24)? Why and how can gossip ruin friendships (16:28)? Why and in what ways does the Lord test our hearts (17:3)? What does it mean that "he who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends" (17:9)? In what way is starting a quarrel like breaking a water dam (17:14), and what can you do to prevent this from happening? In regard to justice, what are two things the Lord hates (17:15)? According to 17:17, what's one characteristic of a true friend? Why and in what way is a cheerful heart like good medicine (17:22)? What does it mean that "a man of knowledge uses words with restraint"? (See 17:27 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you always act with proper motives, to pursue His purposes and to commit your plans to Him. Pray that you'll never become prideful regarding any success the Lord gives you.
ACT: Keep a positive, cheerful attitude in all situations. Refuse to listen to or take part in any gossip. Look for common ground and resolution regarding any contention among friends, and help make peace.
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