Class 13: Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success (Part 2)
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success” (Part 2).
In our last lesson, we considered how reading and obeying the Bible is important to having a successful life. Today, we will begin looking at three suggestions for reading the Bible effectively.
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Abraham Lincoln: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
How should you read the Bible? Well, read it as often as God leads you to. And here are some additional, well-tested suggestions:
1. Pray, Then Read. Praying and reading the Bible go hand in hand. A good practice is to pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes before you read so that He can help you understand what you are reading. For you see, the Bible is a spiritual book, and it will take the Holy Spirit of God to teach it to you.
2. Read And Retain so that you can meditate upon what you read. To meditate means to think upon, and you cannot think upon something that you can’t remember. Please don’t be like the man who looked in the mirror and one second after looking in the mirror, forgot how he looked.
3. Read And Obey. You and I will never be perfect this side of Heaven. But God wants us to strive to obey His Word. And, of course, this is for our own good. Don’t just be a hearer of God’s Word, but a doer as well.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Read the following passages and note what they say about the spiritual nature of the Bible.
1. Luke 24:44-45: “And Jesus said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”
Jesus’ disciples often had difficulty understanding the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus. Thus, He chose to open their minds so they might understand. Likewise, you may read sections of the Bible that leave you with more questions than answers. Jesus helped His disciples to understand because they loved Him, respected Him, and spent each possible moment learning from Him. If you do not highly value the presence of Christ in your life, it is unlikely He will choose to reveal His hidden mysteries to you. On the other hand, if you hunger and thirst for the presence of God, and truly want to know Him more in order to make Him known, pray for understanding, and He will surely reveal the depths of the Word to you.
2. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
The Bible is the believer’s gateway to the very mind of God. Our Heavenly Father is characterized by a beautiful complexity which only His Spirit can fully comprehend. Remarkably, this exact same Spirit chooses to dwell in the hearts of every child of God, thus, allowing us, mere human beings created from the dust, to possess the ability to truly know and understand the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords! The primary tool the Spirit has used to reveal such glory is, of course, the Word. Thus, the Bible is unique from all other books because it is a divine creation. So, we must utilize divinity in order to read the Word meaningfully. Ask and you shall receive, pray and it shall be given to you.
When we lack a passion for reading and studying the Bible we are inherently demonstrating a shallow passion for God. We must pray that the Spirit already inside of us will actively assist our study of the Scriptures. A true understanding of the Bible’s depth will not come without much passion and dedication. The mysteries of the all-powerful God are not available for lightweight believers.
Now, Just Do It!
Before you next spend time reading the Bible, pray and ask God to give you understanding about His word. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about ways in which you can apply the verses you read to your life. After you read, pray and ask God to remind you of the principles of His Word throughout the day.
In our next class, we will take a closer look at what it means to read and retain.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.