Your Voice: Wisdom for the graduate’s next chapter in life’s journey

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Your Voice: Wisdom for the graduate’s next chapter in life’s journey

By David L. Chancey
McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

Congratulations, graduates, on reaching the magnificent milestone of receiving your hard-earned diploma. You are now launching a new chapter.

You have before you a blank canvas on which to chart a course as you move along life’s journey. That’s why it’s important to choose the right course and make wise decisions.

You will receive many words of counsel. Humorist Erma Bombeck said, “When your mother asks ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

Proverbs 3 records a conversation between a wise father and his son. This devoted dad pours into his son’s life the wisdom of God.

“My son … trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:1a, 5–7).

This input calls you to rely totally on God. Don’t move forward without God. Trust God and you’ll enjoy peace and fulfillment.

You have probably received enough counsel to write a book. If you do, also include these nuggets:

Remember who you are and whose you are.

While still living at home, if I went off with friends, my Mom’s parting words usually were, “Remember whose little boy you are.” I wasn’t a little boy at that point, but she reminded me to remember my raising. I knew the difference between right and wrong, so do right. Also, I claimed to be a Christian. I belonged to God. I needed to act like one of His children.

Set your sights high and don’t let disappointment deter you.

Be resilient when the road is bumpy. Learn from failures and persevere. Perseverance is staring down the temptation to quit and moving forward despite difficulties.

Choose your friends wisely.

“The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).

Growing up I often heard, “Birds of a feather flock together. If something happened when you were there, then you will be accused whether you are guilty or not.”

Avoid “guilty by association” by being careful whom you choose to be your friends and what situations you place yourself in.

There’s much truth to the adage, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”

Every day decisions are important, whether big or small.

The choices you make may affect the rest of your life: whether to participate or not, whether to give in to peer pressure or stand firm, whether to hang around or flee from evil.

Pastor J.D. Greear wrote, “One of my mentors in college told me, ‘For most decisions in your life, it’s not the big dreams you dream but the small decisions you make.’”

Be kind. Always.

Everyone is struggling with something.

I was traveling south on Atlanta’s downtown connector and noticed the iconic Corey Tower standing above the I-20 and I-75/85 interchange projecting the phrase “Be Nice” on its 2,000-square-foot digital screen.

What a timely word for hurried drivers who sometimes show impatience and even road rage. Yet it’s a good word for life.

Kindness does not show weakness; it shows a caring heart that considers others.

Live with thanksgiving.

A sweet senior lady I once worked with often told me “It’s always appropriate to say thanks!” She said it never goes out of style to write a thank you note.

Plus, we have so much for which to be thankful. Never take your blessings for granted.

Cultivate a life of generosity.

Be a giver, not a taker. Find ways to bless others.

“The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25).

Continue developing your spiritual life.

Never desert your spiritual roots and keep growing closer to God day after day.

Read your Bible daily. Go to church weekly. Get involved in a local church in your college town. Start tithing now.

Develop your prayer life. Don’t leave God behind as you move on to new adventures.

The big question is, will you apply these wise words to your life?

EDITOR’S NOTE — David L. Chancey serves as pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Check out his other columns at This column was originally published by The Citizen.

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When my children, who are in their 40s, were teenagers, many of the churches in my area were teaching “True Love Waits,” an excellent study which, as the title implies, taught the biblical principles of abstaining from having sex until marriage.

Some of the young people who participated in the program failed to live up to the principles, but the majority seemed to have followed God’s Word pertaining to the sexual sins which are often the cause of unintended pregnancies.

In the ensuing years, there have been so many mixed messages about human sexuality and behavior that even adults no longer have a firm biblical understanding of sexual sins.

Culture seems to affirm that any kind of behavior is OK as long as it’s between consenting adults. Euphemisms gloss over the seriousness of sexual sins, including fornication (now called “being sexually active” or “sleeping around” or “living together”) and adultery (now called “having an affair”).

As Christians, we say we believe and follow the Bible. Unfortunately, we as individuals, as well as our churches, leaders and publications, often address the effects of sexual immorality rather than the behavior itself.

Because many pastors, teachers and parents no longer provide a firm foundation about what God tells us about our sexual behavior, we are faced with addressing the effects of unbridled sexual immorality — unplanned pregnancies, abortion and sexual abuse among them.

I urge pastors, teachers and parents to bring back programs such as “True Love Waits” and make sure everyone, including adults, knows what God says about sexual sins.

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