LESSONS FOR LIFE 8-25-19
Lessons for Life
August 25, 2019
Another school year has begun… When I was a child, I did not look forward to going to school. Not that I didn’t like to learn. I did – and still do. I just didn’t like the school environment. Social pressure. Academic pressure. Parental pressure. Headaches and stomachaches were my constant companions. Book report due tomorrow. Test on Monday. B+? That is unacceptable. When I graduated high school I wanted nothing to do with college, but several years down the road I ended up going to Joliet Junior College anyway, to learn more about subjects that I was interested in – psychology, sociology, philosophy, biology, genetics… basically what makes us who we are. While admittedly I am an introvert by nature, I am fascinated by people and what makes them tick. I have learned much from both my studies and from my years of working, interacting, and dealing with people. But there is one source of knowledge that surpasses both secular studies and personal experience – the Word of God.
The Word of God provides us with both wisdom for this earthly life, as well as instructions on how to have eternal life. Human wisdom is not perfect, but the wisdom that comes from God is. Scientific theories come and go. They are believed for a time, and then disproven and replaced by yet another. Some might suggest that the law was replaced by the gospel, and yet replaced isn’t the correct word. Jesus fulfilled the law for us. In the second chapter of Colossians we read, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” (vs. 13b-14) and then states that the law was “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (vs. 17). So it isn’t that the law was ‘wrong’, like the belief that the earth is flat was wrong. It isn’t as if the earth was at one time flat and then became round. Our original belief that the earth is flat was wrong, even though there are some that still believe it is. And that is just one example. Human knowledge continues to grow and evolve. Our technology advances. We make new discoveries every day. And this is good, for we should never lose our desire to learn, both collectively and individually.
When we lose interest in learning our brain cells start to die. Harvard Health published a list of ways to keep your brain healthy, especially as you age, and No. 1 on the list is “Keep Learning” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/6-simple-steps-to-keep-your-mind-sharp-at-any-age).
And the No. 1 way to keep our spirits healthy is to keep learning God’s Word. We start out as babes in Christ when we are born again spiritually by hearing the truth of the Gospel and receiving it in faith. Then we need to feed on the milk of God’s Word in order to grow and mature. The apostle Peter told new believers to crave pure spiritual milk like newborn babies, so that they would grow into a full experience of salvation (1 Peter 2:2). But we shouldn’t stop there. A mature adult shouldn’t still be on a diet of milk alone. An adult who possesses only the knowledge of a preschooler isn’t going to get very far in life. Likewise a born-again Christian whose knowledge of the Bible is limited to John 3:16 will still get into heaven, but won’t be equipped to do spiritual battle in this life. While Jesus told us to be like little children in our trust of, and love for, our Heavenly Father; he did not mean that we are not to grow in our faith, and in our knowledge of God’s Word. We should be like the Berean Jews that Paul and Silas preached to, who “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day” (Acts 17:11).
While I do heartily encourage you to attend church every Sunday, and listen to the Scripture readings and to my message, that shouldn’t be your only spiritual food for the week. Do you only eat physical food one day a week, and fast for the other six? You need spiritual food to keep your faith strong, maintain your resistance to temptation and deception, and have the strength to go out in the world and shine a light for Christ.
Now I’m not saying you should spend hours upon hours reading and meditating on the Book of Leviticus, although reading the Old Testament law helps us to see how blessed we are that Jesus fulfilled it for us and we are no longer slaves under it. And I’m not saying you need to memorize entire chapters, even books, of the Bible as the Old Testament priests used to do. But memorizing some key verses does help them to spring into your mind when you are in a tough situation. There are many Bible reading plans to help you if you need structure in your study. Paul told Timothy to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 ). You need to read your Bible and build yourself up in the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal its truth to you, so no one can lead you astray. Satan loves to twist God’s Word. Remember, the first sin on earth came about because Satan asked, “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1). You need to know what God really has to say to us, so you can refute any lies or half-truths that might come your way, and be strong in your faith.
God has much He wants to teach you, and I pray you are willing to learn His lessons for this life, and the next. Amen.
“Ancient Words” (Michael W. Smith) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vmTkXNpwzs
“Your Words” (Third Day) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqaA8XBI15o&list=PLh_zYS6MYQNnMbVSTiEgdYFoMwhVs2yz4&index=3