Although I've known Jesus since I was a boy, I mark the beginning of a real relationship with Him in college. Since then, I have ridden a wave of guilt and joy and duty and praise - just trying to figure out how I am supposed to approach my relationship with Him and my responsibility as a Christian. Although I would consider myself a toddler in the faith, I feel confident in two very simple, yet important lessons from God. Two lessons that Satan wishes we didn't know, but is powerless against.
The first lesson is that God is most clear through His word.
Let me explain this very simple statement. I watch a lot of sermons. And I'm probably responsible for several hundred visits to the many John Piper, Francis Chan and Andy Stanley videos on YouTube. I've learned so much from them. I also love books about Christian living. Honestly, most days, I'd much rather read a book about the Bible than the Bible.
But as great as those pastors and books are at communicating the truth, no voice is clearer than the voice of Jesus. And we should be careful to substitute a sermon or a blog or a book in place of a deep dive into the scriptures. When I sit down and read my Bible, with a desire to listen to God, I learn more in ten minutes than I do from watching ten sermons. And Satan hates that.
His lie is that if we're not reading twenty-nine chapters a day, we're not good Christians. But I've learned that when I read even just one verse, out loud, slowly, and repeatedly, God's voice becomes clear through His word. And this, to me, should be the goal of our relationship with Him.
The second lesson is that we have to ask God to give us joy in our salvation.
Notice what I said above - that I learn so much from reading my Bible when I have a desire to listen to God. That desire is hard to maintain, especially when the evil one is poking and prodding us with every temptation imaginable. Satan is a master at making Christianity seem boring and joyless. As a result, you and I often lose the joy that comes from the salvation of Jesus.
It's important to be aware of this tactic, and to know that this happens to us all. But it's even more important that we fight this by asking God for joy in Him. One verse that every Christian should commit to memory, and plead to God everyday, is David's Psalm 51:12:
"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."
We must ask God to help us want to trust Him, want to learn from Him, want to be like Him. Because most days, we're indifferent. Most days, I'd rather write a blog post or read the news than read the words of our Creator.
Don't let the seriousness of this post trigger any guilt or sarcasm in your minds. But ask God to give you a willing spirit for obedience and joy in his salvation.
I regret to tell you that this is my last post until August. As most of you know, the bar exam is closing in, and as much as I love to write, I need to focus on my studies. And, if God wills it, I'll pass this dreadful exam.