Personal faith in Christ comes with social obligations. If we believe that He reigns as Lord over history as well as Lord over our individual lives, we dare not focus solely on the "world within" and forget the "world without." Restricting His sovereignty to our personal struggles demeans Him. What do we imply about the Savior when we seek God's will about moving to another city or marrying someone, but never seek His mind on the plight of the homeless, the rights of the unborn, or racial equality?
Profitable Bible study involves more than just opening to a chapter and reading what's there. Here are seven guidelines to help you make the most of your study of the Bible.
Set aside a regular time. Unless you schedule it, you'll neglect it.
Before you start reading, ask God for help and understanding.
Carefully think about what you are reading. Not all of the Bible's treasures lie like pebbles on the surface. To mine the gold, you have to dig.
Seek to understand what the author was saying to the first people who read the book or letter before you decide how to apply it today.
Write down at least one truth or principle you can put into practice.
Try different translations of the Bible. If you find yourself skimming over familiar words, a new translation may focus your mind on the passage in a new way.
Don't get discouraged. Some parts of the Bible are more interesting than others, and some you may not understand at all. But there's enough that you can understand, and it will revolutionize your life if you apply it.
Somehow the command to love doesn't get through to us. We may confess that we lack a strong faith, but seldom do we admit that we are deficient in love. Perhaps we feel we're as loving as the next person, and maybe a little bit more.
In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul applied the truths of what he had already written to the followers of Jesus in Rome. He said, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." He also urged us to keep our bodies from sinning and to avoid the world's corruption by renewing our minds (v.2).
God had seized the attention of Pharaoh and the Egyptians with a series of plagues. Now they were dying to be rid of their Hebrew slaves. But God didn't want the Israelites to leave Egypt empty-handed. After all, they had 400 years of wages due them. So they asked their former masters for articles of silver, gold, and clothing, and they got them. Exodus 12:36 says that the Israelites "plundered the Egyptians."
Elisa Morgan, president of MOPS International (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers), shared this insight into a child's view of the world:
If I want it, it's mine.
If I give it to you and change my
mind later, it's mine.
If I can take it away from you,
If I had it a little while ago,
If it's mine, it will never belong to
anyone else, no matter what.
If we are building something together,
all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine,
it is mine.
Tell me what you hate and I can tell you a great deal about yourself. Hatred can be the strong side of righteousness, but it needs a sign written on it with large red letters: Handle With Care.
When you think of the term evangelism, what picture flashes onto the wall of your mind? A large stadium filled with people? A small booklet with a set of diagrams? A Christian wearing a pin with the symbol of a fish? A zealous believer playing intellectual chess with a pagan opponent? A salesman convincing a reluctant person to "try Jesus"?