The Challenge and the Reward
Let me “tempt” you to make a one-year test of studying and applying to your life what you find in the Bible. To study, to ponder, to test what the Bible says takes time. After all, a student who chooses a psychology career spends four years just getting his bachelor’s degree. At that point, he is only a beginner in the field. It also takes time to test the guidance the Bible offers to those who trust God, its author.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). This verse implies knowledge of God’s Word and love for and obedience to that knowledge. We do not propose a simple, easy approach to inner peace. It is a struggle, with a starting point based on simple faith, with many temptations along the way to draw you aside, on a pathway that today is rejected by many serious, dedicated, sincere people.
The reward is still there for those who take God’s way, in spite of the difficulties. And there is help along the route. Prayer is the gateway to getting this help from God.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
Entertain no worry, but under all circumstances let your petitions be made known before God by prayer and pleading along with thanksgiving. So will the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7, MLB).
Jesus said, “If you shall ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). And He followed this with these words: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14: 15).
If you want your prayers for help answered, become familiar with the commands of God in the Bible. Verbalize your longings before God, then wait to see what He will do. If you have asked according to His will (that is, if you have prayed with the desire that His will may be done), you will have what you asked for. It is yours if it fits into God’s plan. And remember that His ways are not necessarily your ways (lsa. 55:8-9). But also, His ways are not grievous or burdensome (1 John 5:3).
Your challenge is to accept the Bible as your guide and to obey God’s commands fully. If you do, you will find that the Bible is a mirror in which you see yourself as you really are. And when you see yourself, what you do is still up to you. You can correct what ought to be corrected. But you will be tempted to look away and forget what you saw (James 1:23-25). And in looking away you will soon become absorbed in counterattractions that will not let you return for a second look.
But if, by faith, you go God’s way, you will find inner peace along the way as well as at the end of the road. “He who wants to enjoy life and see happy days must keep his tongue from speaking evil and his lips from uttering deceit. He must turn away from wrong and do right; he must search for peace and keep after it. For the Lord’s eyes are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the Lord’s face is set against those who practice evil” (1 Peter 3:10-12, MLB).
Questions for review:
- In your own words, what is temptation?
- Character is forged from encounters with life that tempt you to do wrong. What must you do to prepare?
- All men are tempted to please only themselves, but the pathway to inner peace is to _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________.
- Everyone will be judged someday, and the standard for judgment is ___________ _________________________.
- The author has challenged you to make a one-year test of studying and applying to your life what you find in the Bible. What steps can you take to get started on this?
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