This idea of hope is one of the most crucial differences between an unsaved person and a Christian. When an unsaved person dies, there is no hope. The funeral is often filled with despair and loss.
While at a Christian funeral there is still sadness and loss, there is hope as well. I find that in the life that people live who are not Christians they seem so lost. They live for today because they do not know or believe that there is something after this life to look forward to. One of the things that bothers me the most whenever I have attended a funeral of a unsaved person is when they say, “they are in a better place now.” When I know darn well that they are not. How do you use that to reach someone who is there that is lost? But a Christian can truly say, “They are in a better place”
What does the future hold? We cannot know for certain but we can know that Christ is at the end of it if you are saved… I have hope that once I die I will truly be in a better place! This is really a big theological question. But it is also the key to giving us hope. I know that God has promised me eternal life in heaven with Him. So I have hope, that once I die, I still will live! I know this through theology, and through the reading of Scripture.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Reading the Bible is a multi-faceted assignment. At first glance you may read the Bible leisurely. Some people find it to be an entertaining book, with lots of stories, romance, adventure, and a conclusion where good wins against evil. Sometimes, as Christians, we read it very casually the same way. We know it’s about God and that it’s important, but we read it with no implications for our life, as if it were a fictional entertainment book.
At other times we read the Bible at a different level. Maybe you read it because of an assignment. At class you may have been told to read the book of Genesis and identify the major characters in the book. In that case, you are reading it with your eyes focused on one specific thing.
I challenged myself to read through the whole Bible in a year. This resulted in a just doing it to get it done, checking it off their check list of things to do. This is what I tended to do when I read the Bible straight through… afterwards I felt happy that I read the Bible straight through but I also felt empty because there was not too much of it that I actually retained. Besides the stories that I already knew for the most part.
Recently I have been looking at the Bible in a different way… I get my pen and pad of paper open up to whatever book I am reading through and I take it nice and slow. I let the Holy Spirit speak to me. I look for practical application because I need this to be the living Word of God in my life.
All these approaches have their time and place. You may get someone to read the Bible simply for its entertainment value, but the Holy Spirit uses it to speak to their heart. You may need to get your mind off a busy schedule and just want to read the Psalms and enjoy God’s Word with no agenda. Other times, you may need to study one specific aspect of God. Each time we approach God’s Word, no matter the reason, we have to understand how we approach it. This week, we are going to learn how to study the Scriptures. It’s the building block for everything else we do. Some of it you may already know and you just take it for granted. But it is extremely important that we come to Scripture the way God wants and intends us to.
Why do you read the Bible? Do you find yourself reading it for pleasure or requirement? Do you read it like a fiction or non-fiction book? Do you have a plan and commitment to reading the Bible? Why or why not?