The Bible offers abundant guidance and help to us all. But its soothing reassurance is mixed with stern admonition. Too often we seek out the Bible as a sort of tranquilizer rather than as a way to stir up the adrenalin inside us. The following ringing words offer us hard truths which, if we act upon them, will do much to remove the burdens that weigh us down.
1. WELCOME CRITICISM.
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. (Job 5:17, 18.) God is trying to make men of us. The father who truly loves his son will not refrain from criticism or punishment when that is necessary to make a child stronger and wiser. So when difficulties come, even painful ones, humbly receive them as a sign of God’s deep favor. And remember if we are wounded, He hinds up and heals.
2. TAKE A STAND FOR CHRIST.
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38.) This Bible challenge is sharply directed to those who, while committed to Christ at least partially, try to keep it quiet so as not to disturb anybody or avoid seeming at all different from the non-dedicated. But Christ insists upon courageous, all-out loyalty, even enthusiastic witness, both by speech and action, particularly the latter. We must have the character to stand up for Him in this pagan culture. Then He will witness for us at the final accounting.
3. RESIST EVIL.
Resist the devil, and be will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you… (James 4:7, 8.) Cleanse yourself of evil, humbly admit your faults, ask God for strength and He will lift you up. Get close to God and God will be very near to you.
4. DO GOOD WORKS.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9.) It is not always easy to be loving in the face of ingratitude, to be generous when confronted by greed and to do good works when surrounded by selfishness. But stay with your worthwhile activities and great blessing shall be yours.
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5. PRAY WITH CONFIDENCE.
And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us. (I John 5:14.) You can have complete confidence in the Lord and in His promises. God does always answer sincere prayer. He answers in three ways: (1) Yes, (2) No, (3) Wait awhile. And every answer, whatever it may be, is for our good.
6. COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO GOD.
If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14.) The fear of world tragedy is deep in men’s hearts. Catastrophe lurks in the dark shadows of impending nuclear war. Is mankind to burrow underground like animals seeking protection? There is a better way. It is to accept God’s great promise that if we turn humbly to Him, He will hear our repentance and save us from disaster. He is our hope. As individuals we must commit our lives to God and thus claim our part in the promise of mankind’s salvation.
7. ACCEPT GOD’S PROMISE.
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39.) Tuck this tremendous promise close up against your heart and never forget it. Keep close to Christ and God’s help will follow you all the days of your life.