1. Read the Word DAILY
A healthy baby has a healthy appetite. If you have truly been “born” of the Spirit of God, you will have a healthy appetite. The Bible says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” (1 Peter 2:2). Feed yourself every day without fail. Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food,” (Job 23:12). The more you eat, the quicker you will grow, and the less bruising you will have. Speed up the process and save yourself some pain — vow to read God’s Word every day, without fail. Say to yourself, “No Bible, no breakfast. No read, no feed.” Be like Job, and put your Bible before your belly. If you do that, God promises that you will be like a fruitful, strong and healthy tree (see Psalm 1). Each day, find somewhere quiet, and thoroughly soak your soul in the Word of God.
There may be times when you read through its pages with great enthusiasm, and there may be other times when it seems dry and even boring. But food profits your body whether you enjoy it or not. As a child, you no doubt ate desserts with great enthusiasm. Perhaps vegetables weren’t so exciting. If you were a normal child, you probably had to be encouraged to eat them at first. Then, as you matured in life you were taught to discipline yourself to eat vegetables. This is because they would physically benefit you, even though they may not have at the time, brought pleasure to your taste buds.
2. Exercise Your Faith Muscle
When a young man once looked at me and said, “I find it hard to believe some of the things in the Bible,” I smiled and asked, “What’s your name?” When he said, “Paul,” I casually answered, “I don’t believe you.” He looked at me questioningly. I repeated, “What’s your name?” Again he said, “Paul,” and again I answered, “I don’t believe you.” Then I asked, “Where do you live?” When he told me, I said, “I don’t believe that either.” You should have seen his reaction. He was angry. I said, “You look a little upset. Do you know why? You’re upset because I didn’t believe what you told me. If you tell me that your name is Paul, and I say, ‘I don’t believe you,’ it means that I think you are a liar. You are trying to deceive me by telling me your name is Paul, when it’s not.” Then I told him that if he, a mere man, felt insulted by my lack of faith in his word, how much more does he insult Almighty God by refusing to believe His Word. In doing so, he was saying that God isn’t worth trusting — that He is a liar and a deceiver. The Bible says, “He who does not believe God has made Him a liar,” (1 John 5:10). It also says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. . .” (Hebrews 3:12). Martin Luther said, “What greater insult . . . can there be to God, than not to believe His promises.”
I have heard people say, “But I just find it hard to have faith in God,” not realizing the implications of their words. These are the same people who often believe the weather forecast, believe the newspapers, and trust their lives to a pilot they have never seen whenever they fly in a plane. We exercise faith every day. We trust our car’s brakes. We trust our history books, our medical books, and we trust elevators. Yet elevators can let us down. History books can be wrong. Planes can crash. How much more then should we trust the sure and true promises of Almighty God. He will never let us down . . . if we trust Him.
I have often heard cynics say, “The Bible is full of mistakes.” It is. The first mistake was when man rejected God, and the Scriptures show men and women making the same tragic mistake again and again. It’s also full of what seem to be contradictions. For example, the Scriptures tell us “with God, nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). We are told that there is nothing Almighty God can’t do. Yet we are also told that it is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). So there is something God cannot do! There’s an obvious “mistake” in the Bible. The answer to this dilemma is to be found in the lowly worm.
Lying, deception, bearing false witness, etc., is so repulsive to God, so disgusting to Him, so against His holy character, that the Scriptures draw on the strength of the word “impossible” to substantiate the claim. He cannot, could not, and would not lie.
That means that in a world where we are continually let down, we can totally rely on, trust in, and count on His promises. They are sure, certain, indisputable, true, trustworthy, reliable, faithful, unfailing, dependable, steadfast, and an anchor for the soul. In other words, you can truly believe them, and because of that, you can throw yourself blindfolded and without reserve, into His mighty hands. He will never, ever, let you down. Do you believe that?
3. Evangelism — A Sobering Task
It was late in December, 1996. A large family gathered in Los Angeles for the joyous occasion of wrapping Christmas presents. It was a big family because it was the product of two marriages. There were so many gathered that night, five of the children slept in the garage. It was a converted structure, kept warm during the cold night by an electric heater which sat by the door.
During the early hours of the morning, the heater suddenly burst into flames, blocking the doorway. In seconds the room became a blazing inferno. The frantic 911 call revealed the unspeakable terror of the moment. One of the children could be heard screaming, “I’m on fire!” The distraught father vainly rushed into the flames to try and save his beloved children. He received burns to 50% of his body. Tragically, all five of the children burned to death. They died because steel bars on the windows of the garage thwarted their escape. There was only one door, and that was stopped by the flames.
You are back in time. It’s minutes before the heater burst into flames. You peer through the darkness at the peaceful sight of five sleeping youngsters. You know that at any moment the room is going to erupt into an inferno and burn the flesh of horrified children. Can you in good conscience walk away? No! You must awaken them, and warn them to run from that death trap!
The world sleeps peacefully in the darkness of ignorance. There is only one Door by which they may escape death. The steel bars of sin prevent their salvation, and at the same time call for the flames of Eternal Justice. What a fearful thing Judgment Day will be! The fires of the wrath of Almighty God will burn for eternity. The Church has been entrusted with the task of awakening them before it’s too late. We cannot turn our backs and walk away in complacency. Think of how the father ran into the flames. His love knew no bounds, and our devotion to the sober task that God has given us will be in direct proportion to our love for the lost. There are only a few who run headlong into the flames to warn them to flee (Luke 10:2). Please be one of them. We really have no choice. The Apostle Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Fervently pray for your loved ones, thanking God for their salvation. Let them see your faith. Let them feel your kindness, your genuine love, and your gentleness. Go the extra mile. Put yourself in their position. Pray for wisdom and for a sensitivity to God’s timing. You may have only one shot, so make it count. Keep your cool. If you don’t, you may end up with a lifetime of regret. Believe me. It is better to hear a loved one or a close friend say, “Tell me about your faith in Jesus Christ,” rather than you saying, “Sit down. I want to talk to you.”
It is important to realize that we should share our faith with others whenever we can. The Bible says that there are only two times we should do this — “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). The Apostle Paul pleaded for prayer for his own personal witness. He said, “. . . that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak,” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
Remember that you have the sobering responsibility of speaking to other peoples’ loved ones. Many times when you open your mouth for the Gospel, you may be the answer to the earnest prayer of another Christian. Perhaps he has cried out to God that He would use a faithful witness to speak to his beloved mom or dad, and you are that answer to prayer. You are that true and faithful witness that God wants to use.
Never lose sight of the world and all its pains. Keep the fate of the ungodly before your eyes. Too many of us settle down on a padded pew and become introverted. Our world becomes a monastery without walls. Our friends are confined solely to those within the Church, when Jesus was the “friend of sinners.” So take the time to deliberately befriend them for the sake of their salvation. Remember that each and every person who dies in their sins has an appointment with the Judge of the Universe. Hell opens wide its terrible jaws. There is no more sobering task than to be entrusted with the Gospel of Salvation — working with God for the eternal well-being of dying humanity.