Puritans used to speak of “following hard after God” and “setting our faces like a flint toward God.”—Strange-sounding phrases in today’s fast-paced world! But these words need to be remembered, especially in our generation.
On this our 29th anniversary, we've been reflecting on the words theologian Rod Stewart sings, “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.” Here are a few things we know now.
“You can prove anything you want to from the Bible!” Have you ever heard someone make that claim? Probably so. For the most part, it is true. If a person really wants to find biblical “justification” for some belief or activity and is willing to use half-verses, to take passages out of context, and to twist the meaning of various terms, then he or she can “prove” just about anything from Scripture.
Have you ever stopped to think about the benefits of having a copy of the Scriptures in your own language? Have you pondered the thought: What if the Bible never existed? In our overabundant, more-than-enough world, such thoughts are foreign…too impossible to imagine.
Without love, knowledge can be a source of pride. Without humility, knowledge can lead us into a judgmental attitude. Without wisdom, knowledge can result in idealism and a perfectionist spirit. Knowledge needs a buffer…something to soften it, to give it perspective, to make it workable and real. Perhaps the very best companion for knowledge is discernment.
Encouraging the disheartened is important for a body of Christians. Enduring tough times is too. And worshipping is equally essential. A church needs all three…but a ministry is incomplete unless there is also the presence of learning. Healthy, vibrant flocks are kept in that condition by a continual emphasis on the discovery of new truth as well as the review of old truths. Such emphases give our faith stability and substance.
No matter what the situation, people in every generation and age group have struggled with a lack of gratitude and feelings of entitlement. We have a long history of pride, narcissism, and faithlessness.
Sometimes the simplest messages are the most difficult to obey. One such message is only two words. What is this message? Well, in plain and simple language: Trust God! Easy to say, hard to do.
Not having things go the way we want when we want is one of the toughest things in life we have to deal with. Prayers aren't answered right away, loved ones pass away, and bad things happen to good people.
It’s not about the change in the weather, how young or old you are, or any other circumstance. None of these things matter. Life is to be celebrated, not merely endured.