I’m always encouraged when I hear a great message coming from someone sincere and honest about where life has taken them. Today’s message on Youth Sunday was just that – sincere, honest, and quite frankly, prolific. Prolific in the sense that, though the words may have been simple, they carried power and proof of a life lived by faith in God.
The message was shared by one of our young adults, a recent college grad, Bakari Smith. His theme was “Pushing Forward to Reach Your Goals” (or something similar). Bakari shared his personal testimony of struggles throughout his college years like not having food to eat, not having a place to live and not having money to pay for school. He walked us through his journey as God made a way in each of his circumstances. He held on to his faith in God and the teachings he learned in youth church. And these, as he says, are what got him through.
Bakari graduated from college with an Engineering degree. He’s never had to pay for classes and he was blessed with comfortable living arrangements, including meals.
Here are 7 things shared from Bakari’s message of faith, perseverance and pushing through. (Congrats to Bakari Smith for letting God use him.) These are Words to live by and I hope they bless you as they have blessed me.
1) Come out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes we find hidden talents and new strengths in doing new things.
2) Find a reason to get up.
If you truly want to succeed, you’ll give yourself reasons to get up and keep moving instead of finding reasons to slack off of give up.
3) Great people get up.
The people who succeed are those who do get up.
4) Greatness is in doing the little things.
Success comes by doing the small things, the little things, the things that seem insignificant but really matter. These things when missed or neglected, though they are small, have the potential to cause devastating effects.
5) You become the people around you.
It’s important for us to surround ourselves with people who are also trying to better themselves. We have tendancy to take on or become what we surround ourselves with. If we hang with negative people, we ourselves become negative. If we socialize with positive people, we become positive.
6) You’ll free yourself if you be yourself.
True freedom comes from loosing ourselves of the need to be like others. Being like someone else is like putting on chains – you’re constantly bound to doing things that are similar to that person. In the process, you lose yourself and your own personal freedom of expression and furthermore, you lose who God has created you to be.
7) Work hard. Pray harder.
In our efforts to become successful, we must work hard. But, we also must remember to keep God first. We do this by maintaining a life of prayer and constantly seeking God’s will for our lives. Everything else we leave up to God to sort out.
Bakari’s life, though it’s just beginning, has been characterized by faith. His foundation is set and I pray he’ll always remember what God has done for him.
What about you? Do you know or remember all that God has done for you? Or, have you given in to life’s issues, trials and circumstances? If you have, God is not far from you. In fact, He waits for you to call on Him and let Him know how much you need Him.