It is late afternoon, or evening, and there is a deep sense of frustration as we look back on the day. Everything has gone wrong. Things that usually are easy were difficult today, while unexpected problems brought a sense of irritation and futility.
A harsh word led to unpleasantness with a loved one. Colleagues seemed unusually annoying, and the daily task has been a burden, not a pleasure.
The news has been bad, the world outlook unusually foreboding. Some incidents of the day struck home with unusual force. We face the remaining hours of the day with a deep feeling of dissatisfaction.
Why does this happen to us, to Christians? We know it is more than a problem of getting up on the wrong side of the bed. In our hearts we know there is something wrong inside, some turn we missed, some action of the vagaries and perversities of human nature of which we have been the victim. What has happened? What is wrong?
The trouble is that no proper foundation was laid for the day. There was no turning to the Fountain of Life, no drinking from the well-springs of eternity, no use of the means of grace God has made available to all who will look to him. A Christian who starts his day without first turning to God in prayer and to his Word for truth and guidance has taken a sure step toward a day of frustration and ineffectiveness. Many Christians live lives devoid of power, purpose, understanding, security, assurance, and victory because they are starved for spiritual good.
Why do we presume to walk without a lamp to guide our feet, a light to lighten the way?
Why do we go on in willful sins when our hearts may be fortified by the Word of the living God?
Why do we settle for inward chaos when by asking we may have the peace of God, which passes understanding?
Why do we look at the panorama of unfolding history and cringe in fear at the things we see coming on the earth when it is our privilege to know and rest in the God of history?
Why do we walk blindly, stumbling over the adverse circumstances of life, when it is our privilege to walk in the conscious presence of the God who gives light and understanding?
Why do we perversely insist on our own way when we should know that such a course may be the way of death, while there is a certain way that leads to life eternal?
Why do we often complain against the providences of God when in those acts we find his perfect will and his unlimited blessings for us?
Has the god of this world blinded our eyes? Surely not the eyes of Christians! Then what is the matter? The answer is clear and the way is sure. God expects his children to take advantage of privileges open to no one else, namely, to live by his wisdom, his power, his guidance, and in the light of his loving favor.
When the day goes wrong, when things turn sour and we find ourselves no longer conscious of the joy of the Lord in our hearts, it is high time to stop and take stock of ourselves. The Holy Spirit will show us that the fault lies within us, for God has neither forsaken us nor voided his promises.
Engaged in an unending battle with the enemy of souls, we have but one weapon against which he cannot stand: the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Strange how willing we seem to remain ignorant of what God has said! Strange that we are willing to start even one day without the comfort, hope, and guidance that can be found in Holy Scripture! Strange that we will undertake important projects without first talking to the One who sees the past, the present, and the future all at one glance and who holds all in his loving hands!
Living in a dying world order, a transient speck in the panorama of eternity, men need the steadying and clarifying truth of the God of eternity, a perspective that takes the unseen into account.
We also need something better than the frailties and fallibilities of human wisdom and speculation; we need something that is certain in the midst of uncertainties, something that is revealed from heaven rather than merely that which man himself can discover.
The Apostle Paul, writing to his spiritual son Timothy, said: “From a babe thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Are we neglecting the Scriptures today? Is our “Bible reading” done with a hasty and undisciplined mind and life? Do we approach Scripture as we would a fetish or Aladdin’s lamp, thinking there is a magic that may do us good? Or do we recognize that God has spoken and that it is our privilege and duty to find out what he has said?
The Bible is not a book on which we sit in judgment. Rather, it is a book that speaks to us in clear and unmistakable terms, judging us in every thought and motive. Here we find doctrine (Christian truth), instruction in righteousness, reproof, correction, and above all else, God’s revelation in the person of his Son.
To start the day without the help that God is so anxious to give is to court disaster. To lean upon our own understanding is to walk in darkness rather than in the light. To neglect the Bible is to live in ignorance when we should be living in the way of divine revelation.
We owe it to ourselves and to our profession as Christians to follow the example of the Berean Christians, who “examined the scriptures daily,” taking them for what they are: God’s word to man.
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