Having the right understanding of the gospel and the Bible is very important (Colossians 1:9), and so I want to try to encourage others to read the Bible with a passion for understanding it.
Prayer is where it all begins.
We all need to begin by praying for a heart that loves Christ more, and seeks His glory in reaching those for whom He gave His life (Matt. 9:38; Luke 11:2; Rom. 10:1; 2 Thes. 3:1).
Timidity is not a good thing (see 2 Tim. 1:7), and it is not loving, but rather selfish and insincere. I know this, because timidity has plagued me all my life. A good way to overcome this fear is to know the Bible inside and out. It is not enough to read books and hear sermons about the Bible. We have got to read Scripture for ourselves.
We need to become familiar with the abundance of wisdom and understanding that the Scriptures provide for those who love Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:3). And we must not forget that our love comes directly as a result of His unfathomable love for us (1 John 4:10).
We need to be familiar with the cross and with the power of His resurrection (1 Cor. 2:2; Phil. 3:10). We need to have died with Christ, that we may live together with Him (Rom. 6:8; 2 Tim. 2:11). We need to live by grace and not by our own efforts (1 Cor. 15:10). It must be Christ in us moving us to will and to work according to His good pleasure (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 2:13).
I really believe 2 Corinthians 13:5 applies directly to every Christian in our day, which exhorts us to "examine" and "test" ourselves to see if Christ is really in us. There is a wonderful sense of confidence that comes with having the proper assurance of Salvation. The letter of 1 John was written so that we may know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13), so I think we should read that New Testament letter carefully for that end.
As established believers in the faith, we need to continually return to the source and fountain of living waters. That is where we get refreshed. We must always be going before the Throne of Grace and seeking our High Priest who is able to help us in our weaknesses. It is the power of Christ, and not us that will give us the victory so that we may overcome. Christians ought to pray together for the world, because that is when God will begin to work in sending us for missions and various ministries according to our gifts.
- In His grace, Penn T.