What Will Your Answer Be?
The Bible, because it came from God and is for man, gets at the very heart of who and what we are. It doesn’t dilly-dally; it tells us what we need to know about ourselves without venire or camouflage. It plays no favorites, excludes no one, treats us all alike.
Most folks reject such notions, mainly because they’ve never really studied the Bible. They have a passing knowledge of it alright, but they don’t see it as the most important book in their lives. They sort of tolerate its message and pay lip homage to Jesus as its main character, but they don’t take the time to know either the message or the Man. They may even subscribe to the need to worship occasionally but they don’t look to the Bible for the information they need to know about worship, when and how it is acceptable. To them the Bible is for weddings and funerals, Christmas and Easter, little else.
One reason for this hesitancy to keep in contact with the Bible is that it requires something of you. In fact, it requires quite a lot of you. In fact, it requires all of you. The Bible imposes upon our “freedoms” and retards our “want-to’s.” If you read it, it will bring you to conviction and charge you with change. It will condemn your actions and probably inhibit your “fun.” The Bible not only recommends, it enjoins personal examination.
Furthermore, the Bible calls for adjustment–immediate adjustment. It cries out to its reader, “why tarriest thou?” It calls for action today–right now–not after a while. It will not allow you to do tomorrow what it calls on you to do today. “You know not what shall be on the morrow...” it says, so you best get going today. You may not get finished, but you can get going.
With these thoughts in mind, may I just rephrase some questions the Bible asks, either by actual interrogatives or by implications?
What are your real interests? Notice, I said what are your real interests, the ones you actually put first in your life? Not, mind you, the ones to which you will readily admit, to which you will give intellectual agreement, but the ones that you are actually pursuing with diligence? We will all admit that we are to “seek ye first the kingdom of God,” but there are lots of people who admit that who are seeking something else first–just lots of them. Where is your real focus, you real goal? What is your first desire? What regulates all that you do? How do you spend your time, effort, talent, even money?
What are your real motives? In other words, what causes you to do what you do? God said, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God...” Love should be the motive for all that we do–no matter the situation. We all know that, don’t we? But is that were our real motives are–in the love of God? Do we seek to do bear one another’s burdens in the same way He bore ours? When someone disappoints us, with what motives do we react to that rejection? When someone says something that rubs us the wrong way is our motive one of restoration or retaliation? What determines our course of action? Is it love? “Love suffers long and is kind.” Are you? Do you?
What are your real goals? Again, we all know intellectually what is the right answer to that question. But we sometimes get our priorities mixed up and spend our energies in the pursuit of worldly things instead of other-worldly things. Someone has said we tend to give a first rate dedication to a second rate cause. “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” The only goal that makes any sense is a heavenly one. We know from experience that we will not long be here, that even if we live our “three-score and ten” we will soon pass from this place. What then? That alone should be sufficient grounds for us to look for something better, something that guarantees us a longer span, something that is not damaged by the ravages of time.
I’m aware that these are not the kind of questions you would like to hear. “How are your grandkids?” is much more pleasant. So is “How’s the new job going?” or “How’s the new daughter-in-law?” Or maybe “Are you feeling better now?” And all these are legitimate questions, ones that we do well to entertain. But the greatest questions of all are those the answers for which have eternal implications, the ones which, if answered properly, will result in our eternal life in Heaven.
So what are your answers?