I was looking at my bookshelf the other day in my study area in my basement, and a little blue book caught my eye. It is called “The Bible Promise Book”. I received this book as a gift upon graduation from high school, and for awhile I would occasionally look at it, but I do not think I have looked at it in the last 7 years or so. Now I am not against this book, and I do not think it is a bad book to own, but nonetheless this book highlights a serious problem in the Church today. Let me give a little background on how this book goes. First off, it is all scriptures, no commentary, no how to solve your problems with 5 steps, it contains none of that nonsense. What it does contain is a number of situations, and then scriptures that deal with those situations. For instance, if you are dealing with a death of a loved one it will point you to a comforting scripture. If you are struggling with lust it will point you to a scripture about lust, if you are tempted to lie, it will point you to a scripture telling you the consequences of lying. This book sounds pretty handy right? Umm... well sort of...
We live in a time where the professing church does very little dwelling on the things of God, very little submersion in the word, very little meditation. Books like these are very helpful to the man or woman who is already immersed in God’s word and need a reminder of a promise, however this book is incredibly dangerous for those who use it as a tool to determine God’s will in a given situation. I will illustrate this, what follows is a brief entry that I wrote for a Lenten devotional that our congregation will receive this year. I was asked to do a half page, so here is what I wrote:
Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
If indeed you come to Christ you will be filled. Too often as Christians we live malnourished spiritually because we have not come to Christ to be filled. We feed on everything the world has to offer, but rarely feast on the things of God. When we face spiritual difficulty too often we are not healthy enough to deal with it. We are like people eating donuts all the time, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for months then one day we find out we have to run a 5 mile race, but it is too late to get in shape. We find ourselves in a crisis so we open our bible hoping to find answers and understanding, and to be given strength, but we haven’t kept ourselves spiritually healthy. To have discernment and answers when times get difficult, you must have a lifestyle of spiritual health. Lent is the perfect time to begin establishing the habits of daily prayer, scripture reading, and fasting. Be diligent, spiritual laziness in easier times will amount to spiritual fatigue and inability when times are difficult. Jesus is the bread of life, feed on it daily, and ask this day for your daily bread.
My personal decision to enter into ministry was made nearly in an instant when the call was sensed. I did not have to labor much because the years leading up to that decision were filled with study and prayer, and recognizing God’s call came naturally. I am too weak to face situations on my own, so I must remain constantly prepared, when I don’t I fail, time and time again.
Now I know that is a basic teaching, but understand this, a quick glance at scripture now and then will never give you discernment in the things of God. How many times have you read a certain verse that you never understood until you read an entirely different portion of scripture?
Listen! If we do not get serious in this generation we will be Godless by the next generation. If people do not begin to seek God and call out to Him, He will certainly raise for Himself a people, but they will not be in the Western World. Do you want to know God’s will? Why? So you can get through a situation and then forget about it later? Making godly decisions is not difficult... it really is not difficult to make godly decisions. What is difficult is living in His presence and seeking hard after Him, when you do that you will naturally produce Godly decisions. It is like anything else... I will go skiing tomorrow with some of our youth, I have skied a lot, they have not. They will have to concentrate and learn focus, it will be like walking for me. They will have to think about how they are going to turn, I will just go, why, because I have spent time on skis, I have focused and practiced and pushed myself to go further and further into the art of skiing. The same is true with the scriptures, yes the new believer will struggle and fall and will learn and get up. The old believer will fall at times as well, but if they have faithfully pursued God it should not be so much labor to determine God’s will.
I suppose I have rambled some, but do not come up to me seeking God’s will from me, unless you have spent much time seeking it from Him.