Many of us have convinced ourselves that we can no longer memorize; our memory banks are filled up. But we can remember locker combinations from High School, birthdays of second cousins, pithy bumper stickers, and every cruel word anyone has ever said against us. Our memory banks are just fine. But Satan does not want God’s words in our minds, so it’s a fight.
Along with helping new followers of Christ read the Bible, we need to help them learn to meditate on it. Of course, for many Christians, this means we ourselves have to learn to mediate on it.
There are many times when Robin, my wife, will tell me things that take time to process. I need to chew on the words and digest them. And because we are both committed to a healthy relationship, so I am committed to reflect on her words.
In our series on helping new believers get started in the right direction, we have moved to what we can learn about God from what we read. But this information is not academic — it must lead to action. So what four things can we tell new Christians they should do with the Bible?
The first is, “Read it.” This may sound a bit like, “Dah.” But there are many books about the Bible that vie for our attention (and many of them are good). None are as good as the Bible. We need to read the Bible.
There are four things that followers of Jesus believe about the Bible. I don’t have time to cover them in detail, but let me mention them and I’ll give you a website where you can learn more if you want.
This is really important material. The Bible wants to become your guide, and you have to decide whether you will believe it or not.
Last week we looked at “General Revelation,” what all people can know about God by looking at creation. In doing so, we read the first part of Psalm 19.
But there is information about God available only to some people some of the time. It is available only to those who can read the Bible. This is called “Special Revelation.”
The purpose of this blog is to explore the question of what a new believer needs to understand in order to start his/her spiritual journey in the right direction. We’ve talked about what really happens at conversion, how the new path of discipleship is different, and what to do when we stumble (sin).
The next topic we are going to broach is how to listen to God. Today we will talk about what you can hear by seeing, and next week what we can hear by reading.
We have been talking about confession of sin, and I want to end by talking about the total joy of confession.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). God is a just God; he is perfectly righteous. And he is faithful to all his promises. This faithful and just God promises to forgive your sin if you but sincerely ask.
Let me share a few practical things I have learned about confession. It is, in a sense, a skill we all need to develop, whether we are new on the path of discipleship or a seasoned traveler.
1. Get it over with
Confess early, confess often, confess fully. If you do not, the only person you are really hurting is yourself. You’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know. He knows what you are doing on the Internet at 1 in the morning. He knows what you are whispering in another’s ear even before you gossip a word.
When you stumble in your walk with Jesus, what will you do? When you give into temptation and sin, what’s next? You need to know that these are defining moments in your life. If you don’t get this right, you will be miserable. There is nothing more miserable than a follower of Jesus hanging on to his or her sin, lying face down on the path, insisting that everything is okay and nothing is wrong.
A common misconception among believers, new and old alike, is that temptation is sin. New followers of Christ need to know this is not the case. Otherwise, they will fall into misery and defeat.