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It's a dangerous mistake to assume that our lives are pleasing to the Lord simply because we've been baptized into the Lord's family. The fact is, we may be guilty of doing things that do not have His approval. If so, the sooner we find out about that and make the necessary changes, the better off we will be. Paul wrote, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Cor. 13:5). Life requires numerous "mid-course corrections," and the people who have the honesty to make those adjustments are the people who will get where they want to go. We need to check ourselves constantly to see if we are doing God's will. If we do not, it's likely that we'll veer off our intended path . . . and be lost.
"Drift" is a danger in many of life's endeavors. Certainly it is so in spiritual matters. Slight alterations, hardly even noticeable at the time, can take us progressively farther and farther away from our intended course. Hence, the Hebrew writer cautioned: "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard" (Hb. 2:1-3).
Those who believe that once they're saved, they can never lose their salvation are tragically mistaken. Paul, whose writings are often used in an attempt to teach once-saved-always-saved, said, "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). And he urged his brethren in Philippi: "As you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12).
We can't be too careful about our relationship to God. Like any other good relationship, it requires tending and maintenance. If we actually love God and want to go to heaven, we will always be on the lookout for changes we need to make in our attitude and conduct so we can be more fully pleasing to the Father. This week, let's remind ourselves how important it is to be honest about our religion -- and to keep ourselves faithful to God.
Monday: Proverbs 14:12
Key Idea: It is possible to be mistaken about whether we are doing right.
Questions for Family Growth: Is everybody actually right who thinks he is doing what pleases God? What are some things that could cause us to be mistaken about what God wants us to do? When we find that we've been mistaken, what should we do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:4.
Tuesday: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Key Idea: It is the Bible that can show us what we ought to do.
Questions for Family Growth: What does Paul say the Scriptures are "profitable" for? Does the Bible contain the answer to every question we need to know in order to obey God faithfully? Can we know God's will without studying the Bible?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:5.
Wednesday: Colossians 3:12-17
Key Idea: We ought to do only those things that meet with Christ's approval.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to do something in someone else's "name"? How can we do things in Christ's name? How can we know whether or not Christ approves of a particular thing we are doing?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:6-8.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 13:5
Key Idea: From time to time, we need to check whether we are doing right.
Questions for Family Growth: What does Paul mean when he says we ought to "examine" ourselves? How do we "prove" (NKJV) ourselves? What does it mean to be "in the faith"? What should we do if we find that we are not pleasing God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:9.
Friday: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Key Idea: We need to be willing to change when we learn we have been doing wrong.
Questions for Family Growth: What kinds of things had Paul done before he became a Christian? What was his attitude when he found that he was wrong? In vv.13,16, what did Paul say he had received from God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:10,11.