Day 5 | 21-Day Growth Challenge | "Listening for Light"

Friday, September 03, 2010 Bryan Hudson 11 Comments

Proverbs 4:18 (NLT), The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over…23 Guard your heart above all else,  for it determines the course of your life…25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.


We must listen to know and learn. People sometimes behave as if they can figure out everything by themselves. God designed us to be trained by words and examples. We all need mentors and teachers.

Progress and prosperity God's way does not come all at once. As Proverbs 4:18 states, the "way of the righteous" begins with new light, like dawn, that shines brighter and brighter. If we watch the sun, it does not seem to move. If we go away for a while and look back, the sun will be higher in the sky.

When we listen to and follow Christ, we are making progress. There's no question about it. That progress may feel painful, especially when God is helping us forge new and better paths, or leading us to break behaviors/habits that are not useful.

People who do not listen to God are like people trying to cross a totally dark room that is full of furniture. There's pain, stumbling, falling and fear; all the while not knowing what lies ahead. No light.

Verse 23 says to "guard your heart." If we allow unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, regrets, hatred or any other destructive element to linger in the heart, we lose sight of the light of God. We lose are way on the "course of life."

The cost of being constantly distracted from God's will is a price too high to pay. Verses 25-27 offer crystal clear guidance: 1) Focus forward, 2) Mark out or chart your path through prayer and planning, 3) Stay on good paths, 4) Don't let people or circumstances pull you aside, 5) Never follow evil.

"Lord, help me to recognized progress in my life, especially when times are difficult. Show me how to guard my heart against those things that make it hard for me to listen and see Your light. I will listen and see your path clearly. In Jesus' Name Amen!"

(Use comment section below to share your insights. Record sensitive items in your personal journal. You can login or simply use your first name.)
  1. Respond to the following statement in your heart and mind: The mentors and teachers I listen to are_______________________________________
  2. Which instruction from Proverbs 4:25-27 stands out to you and why? 
  3. What can you do specifically to guard your heart?
  4. What actions will you take today related to this lesson?

Click on "Comments" to read others and add yours afterwards.


  1. 1.) The Holy Spirit guides me & enlightens me in every area of my life first and foremost. His power is present in my personal life and in my financial discussions.

    Personal Mentors: Rhonda Davis -teaches me grace, forgiveness, compassion & shows me an example of what a true Christian looks like everyday.

    Financial Mentor: Dana Glover, Tim Sessions, Suze Orman - they teach me how to see opportunity, to think outside the box, to maximize time & effort and how to build wealth over time.

    My Family -I also try to learn from other people in my life. I learn from their mistakes and life choices. I learn what NOT to do and it encourages me even more to be that change God intended me to be.

    2.)"... look straight ahead to what is good" Prov. 4:25 NCV
    We cannot advance in Christ while looking back. We cannot afford to waste time reliving a failure or an emotional wound. We must focus on the things in our live that are thriving and focus on that brighter future that God has promised.

    3.)I can stop watching shows that make me feel uncomfortable. Some of the tv programs I used to enjoy bother me now. These are mostly crime shows involving cereal killers. I used to really enjoy the phycology behind it all but now I have become more sensitive to the carnage which I used to hardly even notice in the past.

    Also, I guard my heart by not placing an emotional attachment to people or things that I know may not be helpful to me in the long term. I am able to just focus on God and obey him much easier by simply not caring about what other people might say or think.

    4.) I will continue to 'touch base' with God during my prayer time. It is a time when I am completely honest with God and I tell him all my thoughts, feelings, intentions and desires. then I wait to see what he has to say or to see if he has any corrections, directions...etc.

    I got the idea from David. When he was exiled and King Saul was trying to kill him, he was always brutally honest with God about everything that was on his heart. But, at the end of every prayer, he always encouraged himself and let God know that he was STILL believing and expecting great things.

  2. 1)The word of God and the Holy Spirit teach and train me in every aspect of life if I am faithful to hear and obey. I believe that God teaches me things that he wants me to know by looking at a lot of “everyday” sorts of parables. My parents have always been examples to me of integrity, love, selflessness, wisdom, and good reflections of the heart of God toward his children. I have also been taught by the pastors, teachers, and members of the body of Christ that are themselves examples. In a practical sense, though, mentors and teachers I listen to are simply people who have a demonstrated knowledge of what I want to learn.

    2)The command to “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” stands out to me because it speaks to the need for us to focus. It highlights the need to give intense attention to the path we need to take to stay safe. Focusing on what the goal is allows us to mark out the most direct path to meet the goal.

    3)Guarding your heart means to not allow things into your heart that should not be there, much like armed forces guard the boundaries of a nation. Everything should get checked at the door, so to speak, because my heart condition is so key to the direction my life will take.

    4)I will continue to take the time to focus and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me about the path I should take in some specific areas of my life.

  3. 1. The Proverb that stands out for me is Prov.4:23-26. " Guard my heart for it determines the course of my life",WHAT! That's pretty heavy stuff. If I'm not guarding my heart the direction of my life can go where I won't want it to.
    2.The first thing I should do is to check myself. Am I guarded? REALLY? If there are any questions,Yes...I need to search out specific steps to guarding my heart. It's like rechecking a smoke detector. You know you have one and the last time you checked it or had to use it, it was working; but it's been awhile since you noticed it.

  4. 1. The mentors and teachers I listen to are Christ centered, in that they love God, are continuously studying God's word, they are not only hears but doers, they are obedient to the comands of God.

    2. Verse 25, Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies ahead. Yesterday is gone and whether my choices were good or bad, I can't undo what has happened, but I can purpose to look to God for future choices by staying close in study and prayer. Verse 27,"Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil". Paul, said it best Phil3:12 "...but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."
    3.I can keep from looking at past mistakes, sins, loses, and believe that God has forgiven me and has a plan for my life.
    4.I am praying that God will deliver my from any unconfessed unforgiveness, bitterness, and to let go of any regrets. That I might focus on what God is preparing me to do in the now and the future.

  5. 1. The mentors and teachers I listen to fear the Lord, keep their eyes focused on Him, and give sound instruction.
    2. The instruction in Proverbs 4:26, which tells us to mark out a straight path and to stay on a safe path, stands out because God is letting us know that danger is lurking if we do not continue in His way. If we stray off a planned canoe course into dangerous currents it carries us farther and farther away from our intended path and it is difficult to return on course. Likewise, when we veer from God’s path, dangerous distracters can take us further away from the path of righteousness and it may be difficult to return to a right standing with Him.
    3. Refraining from keeping company with those that do not fear the Lord, as well as not participating in things that do not bring Him glory will help guard my heart against being swayed from ungodly influences.
    4. I will remain focused on God and His Word in order to have a continuous and righteous guide before my eyes.

  6. I will litsen to God,Jesus,the Holy sprit.and my Pastor and other men and women of God; who preach and teach the word of God.

    Stay on the right path: If you stay on the right path it will please God and lead you to eternal life.

    Consistently pray read the word and meditate day and night;
    The word says pray with out ceasing.

    This lesson is designed to keep us focused on prayer and the word of God to strengthen our faith.

  7. 1)The mentors in my life are those who are properous either spiritually, relationally, financially or educationally. They are people of integrity and purpose.

    2)Proverbs 4:25 "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you." Focus can be difficult to maintain especially when distractions lie all around but Paul said,"I must press toward that forward mark in Crist Jesus". Just as Paul, I press my way and I keep my eyes focused on the path set before me until I reach my predistined end.

    3)To guard my heart I must censor everything, everyone and every thought by the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

    4)Today I am asking God to give me wisdom in guarding my heart.

  8. 1.I have responded regarding the mentors and teachers to whom I listen in my heart and mind.
    2. All of the instructions in Proverbs 4:25-27 stand out to me because taken in total this passage describes the way to a godly life of prosperity for me to fulfill the Lord’s purpose. Looking straight ahead with eyes fixed on the future is wise instruction because I cannot move ahead if I am looking back and I am focused on what is in the past; marking out the path speaks to allowing the Lord to direct my paths through prayer and his word (teachers, mentors, and personal Bible reading and study) providing clarity for planning, and the remainder of this wise advice is strongly encouraging and warning me to “stay the course” so that He who began a good work in me will complete it.
    3.Specifically, I can guard my heart by choosing wisely what I allow to enter my eye and ear gates through personal conversations, audio and visual media, or similar means, because these things influence my thoughts, attitudes, and behavior.
    Also, I can guard my heart by dealing right away with wrong thoughts and attitudes, disobedience, anger, unforgiveness, and other like things, when pointed out by the Holy Spirit or trusted teachers, mentors, and friends. If I confess my sins, He will be faithful and just to forgive for Christ’s sake.
    4.The actions I will take today is to thank the Lord for the mentors and teachers who serve and honor the Lord that speak into my life and pray asking Him to continue to create in me a clean heart and renew in me a steadfast spirit.

  9. 1. Inward response

    2. Which instruction from Proverbs 4:25-27 stands out to you and why?
    Do not be side tracked. I am easily distracted. I often have to make myself stop and prioritize the tasks that have to be completed. There are times it is easier than others.

    3. What can you do specifically to guard your heart?
    I can guard my heart by watching who I talk to, what I watch on television, listen to on the radio, do on the internet. Make sure that I am spending time in the Word and prayer.

    4. What actions will you take today related to this lesson?
    I can begin fresh each day with time in God's presense. If something should come across my path that would pull me away from i can continue to turn away from it. I will continue to seek out mentors and teachers that I can gain wisdom from.

  10. Respond to the following statement in your heart and mind:
    The mentors and teachers I listen to are people who demonstrate they follow Godly principles.

    As I see many of my lifelong, dearest and faithful mentors dying, I often reflect on the legacy, the words and the lives that they lived and what they left behind. I have had many great mentors - spiritually and professionally. They have been role models whose lives still speak to me. The word of God and the Holy Spirit lead and guide me. I also learn from people both young and older. When I think about the wisdom Jesus possessed when he was 33, I often look at young people who are doing many wonderful things, serving God with all of their heart, and walking in faith while relying on Jesus, I learn many things them. I look for teachers and mentors who lead by example, but I also acknowledge how God uses me to mentor others. As seasons of life change - so does our view on life. We can learn from children and they can learn from us. People have gifts inside of them that allow them to teach and mentor others. Conversely, we should always be ready to listen and learn from godly examples.

    Which instruction from Proverbs 4:25-27 stands out to you and why?
    This scripture cautions us to stay focused, look ahead and follow our plans without getting caught up in evil ways and schemes. When you look to the left or right, or even look backward, you are distracted by what other people are doing and saying. It is hard to move forward with distraction from the past and looking to compare yourself to others on the left or right. No one can walk your path. Each path is unique. We must stay focused on what God has called us to do.

    What can you do specifically to guard your heart?
    You guard your heart with the breastplate of righteousness. Staying in God's plan for righteousness guards your heart against unnecessary drama. We can also guard our hearts by continually walking in faith and believing what God says instead of how circumstances speak to us. We also need to watch what we watch, who and what we listen to and who we let speak into our lives.

    What actions will you take today related to this lesson?
    I will stay alert to what is going on around me and continue to listen to the Holy Spirit teach me about what I see and hear.

  11. 2. The Proverb instruction that stands out most is verse 23-Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Why? because many people do things "in the name of Jesus", mixed with a little anger or hate, things done or said "in the name of Jesus" can be weapons of evil against those we oppose. ie -abortion clinics - killing babies is wrong, but to go into a clinic and kill the doctors, nurses, etc. is evil as well.
    3. What can I do to guard my heart? We hear things all the time that could affect our heart, I have to balance it with the true word of God, instead of focusing on the problem, I have to focus on what the word says concerning it, shake it off(let it go) and move on.
    4. Action taken: remind myself before acting or speaking, that htere is no problem or evil larger than God almighty, hand it over to Him and listen for His instructions concerning it.