Scripture reveals to us that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Therefore, faith in Jesus is belief that what is in the Bible is the truth. In order to interpret the Word accurately and obey the Holy Spirit’s direction, it is important to study both God’s character and the correct doctrine of the Bible. Every verse should be read in the context of the passage it is in, and tracing words of the text back to the original Hebrew (for the Old Testament) or Greek (for the New Testament) meaning also helps to understand the message.
Since the fall of mankind, man is born spiritually dead with a sinful nature. If and when we have been educated on the perfectly good character of God, we can use this insight as a reference point that defines what good is and see how we fall short of it (Romans 3:9-26). With the guidance of the Spirit when reading the Bible and within a personal relationship with the Lord through prayer, a believer’s heart can be exposed. If we can accept the true condition of our heart, then, and only then, can God begin to work within it. If we cannot honestly face ourselves, we won’t ever be able to experience our full potential.
If we cannot recognize our sinfulness, we won’t be able to recognize our need for a Savior. Jesus died for our sins to satisfy the wrath of a perfectly good God who because of His nature hates evil and out of His just character must punish it. But because of Christ’s accomplished work on the cross, we have been granted forgiveness for sins that we can abide in until death. The depravity of the human heart is the reason why it is so important for us to die to our own will (see Romans chapter 6). Isaiah chapter 55, verses 8 through 9, portray the supremacy of God’s will over our own when it says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The life of Jesus Christ was the perfect example of what obedience to the Father’s will looks like. The apostle Paul’s life was an example of what following in Christ’s footsteps should look like and was counted worthy to say, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul’s writings left us with a blueprint of how we should teach the principles of Christianity to our fellow believers who lack maturity in the faith. Now honestly, outside of the Word, who could be better to seek guidance from than someone who has the maturity we desire? This is the foundation of discipleship. In Proverbs, the benefits that are acquired by those who are humble enough to be teachable are thoroughly explained (Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 15:31-32). Therefore, those who seek wise counsel will find that it is a significant help to the process of realizing what we are capable of.
The Lord’s design for His children who have been born again in His image is that we should depend on Him, who is our life source, in everything that we do (see John 15:1-17). The Spirit of God within us both inspires and enables obedience to His prompting (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Out of this dependent relationship, the Lord produces righteous fruit within the believer’s heart. As we mature in Christ, we become more and more like Jesus, and our relationship becomes more intimate as we are given a deeper revelation of God. God uses these children who share His heart to portray His attributes, namely, His glory, love, power, wisdom, mercy, and grace (Ephesians 1:17-23; 2:7 and v. 10; 3:10; 3:16-21; 4:12-13 and 15-16; Colossians 1:9-11 and 27-28, 2:2-3; 3:10-17; 4:5-6).
Love is the essential motivation for a life of obedience, and we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19; 5:3). The ultimate expression of love was demonstrated by Jesus’ death on the cross. Through the revelation of this and a relationship with God, His love in us can drive us to give our very best to what pleases Him. If we have committed to allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts, we will glorify our Lord as we overcome adversity by standing firm in faith (Romans 8:31 and 37; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15-17). Our spiritual growth and development will be uninhibited when we are obedient to His direction as revealed in His Word. Once our Creator exposes to us our identity in Him and we realize our place in the big picture of His eternal will, we will begin to experience our maximum potential. And above all, we know that if we answer to this call on our lives, we will be victorious no matter the trials we face because this is what we were born for.
Striving for our best in Christ,