Class 15: Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success (Part 4)
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Your Road Map to Real and Lasting Success” (Part 4).
In our last lesson, we looked at the second of three suggestions for reading the Bible effectively — Read and retain. Today, we are going to look closer at the third suggestion — Read and obey.
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Oswald Chambers: “The key to my understanding of the Bible is…personal relationship to Jesus Christ.”
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.
- 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. “
The idea of a workman seems to connote one who labors for a higher authority. I picture an individual who clocks in at work early in the morning, receives a list of the day’s assignments, and gets right to work. In order to unashamedly approach his boss at the end of the day, the laborer must be confident he fulfilled his responsibilities to the best of his ability. He uses his time, skills, and resources wisely. Likewise, as Christians we have in our possession our agenda for life. Within the pages of the Bible, we can discover the purpose for our existence and how to successfully live as heirs to the Kingdom of God. Accessibility to the very Word of the Father is a huge responsibility which should not be taken lightly. There is no excuse for living in immorality and unrighteousness because Jesus Christ went to great lengths to show us how to live a life that glorifies the Father. So, let us read, study, and apply the Word to our daily lives. Then, on the day we enter Heaven we can unashamedly stand in the presence of the Almighty God and offer Him the fruits of our obedience.
- Titus 1:16: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
You may have already excelled at reading and retaining the message of Scripture. It is quite possible that you have been in church every Sunday morning since the day you were born. I would not be surprised if you could tell me the stories of the heroes of the Old Testament, quote many of the sayings of Jesus Christ, and recite Paul’s statement on love in 1 Corinthians. However, if these aspects of the Bible have never been transferred from your head to your heart, they are serving absolutely no purpose. In fact, you may be in danger of more judgment than the individual who has never opened the pages of the Bible. In Revelation, God makes a very bold statement about Christians who know all of the right things but are doing absolutely nothing. He begs those individuals to either choose to be hot or cold, for those who remain lukewarm are detestable. The powerful, beautiful, transforming Word of God is easily accessible to each one of us. It is time to cast away the hypocrisy of being lukewarm. It is time to act on what we know.
Let us pray through the reading of Scripture. Let us meditate upon and retain the passages we study. But, let us not settle with step two. Let us press on, and actually win the race of the Christian life, by making our actions reflect our knowledge, and our knowledge reflect our commitment to Bible study. In this commitment, one finds true success, for he becomes more like Christ, who is truly the only individual to ever UNFAILINGLY succeed in accomplishing His purpose on earth.
Now, Just Do It!
Look at your life objectively, and honestly ask yourself if you are practicing what you preach. If you claim to love God, does your life display a love for your neighbor? If you say Jesus is your role model, do you live a life of humility and service? If you would name Paul as your favorite Bible character, does your life also reflect a boldness and passion for taking the saving message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth? Write a prayer of confession for the times you have been lukewarm — claiming to cherish the message of the Bible, yet living for yourself. Finally, pray a prayer of renewed dedication to not merely hear the Word of God but to obey it as well.
My friend, if you have done these things you are well on your way to living an incredibly successful life!
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.