One of the main reasons we waited was to help prepare us for parenthood. We both felt if we gave ourselves a few more years to ‘grow up’ our children would benefit. Now here I was at 25 years of age staring at our precious little baby and I still didn’t know the first thing about how to be a dad. Sure I may have been a tad wiser and a tad more mature, but I didn’t feel any more ready than I had before. Looking back now, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I could have waited until I was 35 and I still wouldn’t have known the first thing about how to be a dad.
Through the years I must have heard the phrase, “Kids don’t come with an instruction manual,” a hundred times. It’s kind of a corny overused saying but it is a pretty good description of how you sometimes feel when you are trying to figure the parenting thing out. Today as I write this I am 42 years old. I had always planned to have 2 kids but God has given me 5. Despite my experiences and my age, I am still trying to figure the parenting thing out.
Despite my faults and failure as a parent, today God has given me wisdom enough to recognize that the phrase I heard over and over again, and somewhat found comfort in, is a lie. God has indeed given us an instruction manual. Our instruction manual is the Holy Bible. According to research, it is a manual that is not being read nearly enough. In a recent study, only 19% of churchgoers said they read their Bibles daily. In a staggering comparison, on average Americans watch 5 hours of TV a day. How can this be? If we truly love God we will seek God. Do we not realize that the Bible is living?
It doesn’t get any clearer than John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” So Jesus, the savior of mankind is the word of God. They are one and the same. When we read the Bible, God will draw near to us.
Later in the Gospel of John we read more about Jesus being the word of God. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) When we read the Bible, we are not just reading history. When we read the Bible we are allowing God to pour his power into us.
Think of the human spirit like a magnet. Whatever we draw near to, will draw near to us. If we regularly hang around the wrong people or listen to the wrong music, evil spirits will draw near to us. If we watch movies without morals or lust after the flesh, evil spirits will draw near to us. When evil spirits draw near to us we usually have problems with addictions, anger, anxiety, sadness and depression, and restlessness. We can have evil spirits near us and still think we are happy but this happiness is temporary and superficial. This form of happiness can be supplied from food, alcohol, sex, shopping, and other pleasurable worldly things. If these suppliers run out, our ‘happiness’ goes with them.
What does it mean to be filled with God’s power? When a spirit filled person shares the gospel a tangible thing occurs to those that are listening. The person that hears the message can’t help but be affected. God works through the spirit filled person that speaks or writes to convict hearts, open eyes, and change lives. In 2 Timothy 3:5 Paul writes that there will be terrible times in the last days and that people will “have a form of Godliness but deny its power.” When we choose to pick up a TV remote instead of picking up The Bible, are we denying this power? Are we denying God?
The Bible is not a book. The Bible is God. If we want to know God we read it. If we want to be filled with God’s power we read it. Why do so many people leave God sitting on a book shelf collecting dust? I spent many years of my life doing just that. I am not sure what my excuse was. I guess I loved my life more than I loved God.
While it is true that "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved," (Romans 10:13) we cannot forget that we will answer to Jesus about how we lived our lives. How foolish we will feel if we have put movies and cell phones ahead of our savior. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Make no mistake; some Christians will have a rough, rough time on that day. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 “If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” In the Bible God is often referred to as a consuming fire and many times the word fire is used to signify refining and purifying. Our time on earth is a time of refining and purifying to get us ready to be in God’s presence. Those of us that are not ready on that day will suffer loss.
Would you be ready to stand before Him today?
Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”