3 People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.
Proverbs 19:3 (NLT)
Can you identify with the above verse? It may not be you. It can be people you know of. There were people who chose to live their lives the way they wanted without any regard to what God wants them to do. However, after they hit some setbacks, they got angry with God. They accused God of not caring and allowed them to get into troubles. What do you think will happen to their problems? The answer is nothing. They are barking at the wrong tree. God is the source to our blessings and the answers to all our problems. If you are serious about overcoming your setbacks and problems you should seek him. Getting angry with God will only cause you to drift further from him. How can you expect to be successful when you move away from the source of your success?
Please note that Proverbs 19:3 was written as a statement of fact to advise us to be wise. We are to have the wisdom to seek God and spend time learning from him. It is not meant to be a threat. Proverbs 19:3 assumes that the people reading it have sound mind. It assumes that we do not wish to have our lives ruined by foolishness. It assumes that all of us want to live in success, prosperity, health, long life and peace.
It is God’s will for all of us to be rich, healthy and successful. However, the lack of wisdom, or foolishness can ruin them can cause us to fail, poor and sick. When that happens, many would point their fingers at God and accused him of causing their failures. Religious groups will stroke the fire by telling them that it is God’s will for them to be poor and sick because God is glorified when believers live in poverty and sickness. No wonder they got angry. What will you do when you get angry with someone? Will you spend time and learn more about this person? Of course, not. You will stay far away.
What will happen when you stay far away from God? Will your faith grow? Will you increase in wisdom? Will you be able to receive what you ask for in prayer when you are angry with God? Will you be able to recover from the setbacks you have suffered? No, you won’t. Why not? Is it because God wanted you to fail? Did God create the setbacks to ruin your live? No, how could he?
How can God give us sickness when Jesus took all our sickness at the Cross? How can God make us poor when Jesus died poor at the Cross, to make us rich? According to Proverbs 19:3, people ruin their lives by their own foolishness. What is foolishness? It is the lack of wisdom.
How can we benefit from this? If we find our lives ruined or not as successful as we wish to be, we need to take personal responsibility. There is no other way around this. However, many people have chosen to do otherwise. They blamed God for not giving them opportunities. They blamed their governments for the lack of jobs. They blamed the system. When companies out-sourced their IT works to India, their retrenched IT employees blamed the Indians for working harder for lesser pay. When the United States faced huge trade deficits and huge debts, the politicians blamed China for selling them cheap goods and for buying her treasury bonds. They blamed everything around them as long as they don’t have to take responsibility themselves. Can anyone be successful from refusing to take responsibility and blame others?
One of the most important characteristics of successful people, may they be Christians or not, is they choose to take personal responsibility for all their setbacks. When their business is bad due to bad economy, they don’t waste time blaming the government. They find ways to improve their business. They may look for new markets overseas, find ways to cut cost, repackage their products to make them more attractive, create cheaper products to cater for customers with lesser income or any other ways to improve their business. When they do that, they will find their business to be profitable even in recession. When the economy improves their business will soar. As they look back, they will find that the setbacks they suffered had become stepping stones to their present success.
I believe this is a lesson for all of us. You may be sick, poor and not as successful as you wish to be. What are you going to do about it? Will you blame God or others? Will you take personal responsibility? How are we going to take personal responsibility? Let me give you an example.
You have been working in the same job for years. Yet you have never been promoted, nor have you receive any increase in income. It is time to take responsibility to find out what is wrong and fix it. You need to ask many questions.
Are you displaying enthusiasm in your work?
Do you relate well with your co-workers?
Did you strive for excellence in your job or did you just do the minimum?
Do you go for an extra mile in your work?
If you are lacking in education qualifications, do you intend to take up part-time courses?
If your company is really hopeless, do you intend to look for other jobs?
The bottom line is, God has given us everything we need to achieve success. It is entirely up to us to use our faith to overcome all our setbacks and to achieve success. In order to do that we need to take personal responsibility every time we face any setbacks in life.
It does not matter whether you receive a medical report saying you have an incurable disease, facing a huge financial crisis or any other impossible situation. God wants us to take personal responsibility and use our faith in him to overcome them. We are called to battle and destined to win.