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In a world of obstacles and temptations, we could not survive if it weren’t for the help God gives us in Christ. Peter wrote of those “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
Believing is not a simple one-time decision after which we drift through life automatically. Faith is a soul-deep dependence on the Father who has loved us and saved us. To believe is not only to believe, but to take the risks that only trust will take.
The God who gave each of us our gifts has said, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord.”
Jesus did not simply say that He taught the way to God — He claimed to be the way. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
Most of us focus too much of our attention on the passing pleasures and fleeting accomplishments of this world. But majoring in minors always turns out to be a losing proposition. No one can reach for “profit” in this world and not be disappointed at how unprofitable it is.
What is the point of this “vain” life? Solomon summed it up succinctly: “Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about” (Eccl. 12:13). Any way you translate it, the point is basic — only in reverence and obedience to God can we accomplish anything.
Generally speaking, it is through hardship and heartache that we learn to be wise in our own lives, and that is why we ought not to avoid difficulty. If we despise the means through which wisdom usually comes, we can’t truly say we desire wisdom.
“Gravity” is essential to the good life. If we dispense with all formality and solemnity in our lives, the result is not the carefree enjoyment of constant informality, but the boredom that comes from dumbing everything down to the level of the casual.
Many of the things we would define as “good” because they draw us closer to God are those that the world would define as “bad.” For example, difficulty and pain can have a beneficial spiritual effect on us, but most people want as little of these as possible.
Our relationship with God requires tending. 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 that we can be more fully pleasing to the Father.
I expect we are all hoping for a better year in 2021. For me, however, the completion of Obeying the Gospel and AreYouaChristian.com made this a banner year. I will always look back on 2020 with a special fondness and gratitude.
Needless to say, I am relieved that “Obeying the Gospel” is now out of my hands and available to be ordered by readers. Now, even if anything untoward should happen to me, the book can still move forward and do whatever good the Lord wills for it to do.