Class 14: Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success (Part 3)
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success” (Part 3).
In our last lesson, we looked at the first of three suggestions for reading the Bible effectively — Pray then read. Today, we are going to look closer at the second suggestion — Read and retain.
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Vance Havner: “The Bible humbles or hardens the human heart. We have to do something about its message, for we cannot leave it alone. We may think we have done nothing about it, but it will do something to us.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 verses and note why it is crucial to retain, or meditate upon, the Word of God.
- Matthew 4:4 says, “[Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
The Word of God is crucial to the very existence of man. Food, water, and shelter merely maintain the condition of our physical existence, which we know is only temporary. On the other hand, every word that comes from the mouth of God provides strength and stability in an unstable world, and these words are eternal. The comparison between bread and the word of God is interesting. When we eat something, our bodies do not benefit from the food’s nutritional value until it has been chewed up, swallowed, and digested. This process takes several hours and must happen time and time again, lest we starve and die. The same is true with the Bible and our spiritual life. One cannot expect to quickly read a passage, close the Book, mark that task off the to-do list, and go on with the day. Rather, we must read the Word and allow our mind and spirit to digest it, to really wrestle with its meaning and significance. Otherwise, our spiritual lives will be shallow and will ultimately starve from malnourishment.
- James 1:22-24 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
Reading the Word should result in a transformed life. If you often read a passage and minutes later forget everything you read, you are wasting your time. You will never be able to mature and learn the depths of the character of God if you do not take the time to focus on the simplicity of Scripture. Everything in the Christian walk is a process. The journey will not begin until you make the effort to hide Scripture in your heart.
Now, Just Do It!
Take some time to praise God for the gift of the Bible. Acknowledge that He was not obligated to reveal Himself to us, but He chose to, out of love and a desire to relate to us intimately.
Pray that the Lord would help you make Bible reading and Bible study a top priority in your life by giving you a true hunger and thirst for the Word of God.
Next, make a realistic goal related to what you will intentionally do to hide the Word of God in your heart. This may entail memorizing one verse a week, setting aside 15-30 minutes a day for true Bible study, etc. Pray that the Lord would give you strength to attain your goals.
In our next class, we will take a closer look at what it means to read and obey.
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.