by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
It is not easy to be a Christian in these days. I suppose that it never has been easy. We have to contend with temptations. There are those who will think that we are either square or stupid. Many have affirmed their faith in Christ by being willing to die for him. Barrett’s estimate (World Christian Encyclopedia) is one Christian martyr out of every one hundred Christians. Things will go wrong in our lives, and we will wish that they had not. Yet we are far better off with Christ than those who are without him.
Indeed, our Lord warns us against walking on the wrong paths:
“Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Our Lord also tells us that we will encounter difficulties.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2,3)
Consider Psalm 103:1-5:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
The above passage is just one of hundreds of promises that God gives to us to encourage us. As we believe in Jesus Christ, we know that God loves us and cares for us; that he desires the very best for us. Where else do we get such teachings and encouragements? One of our basic aims in life should be to please God rather than to impress our neighbor.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.” (Proverbs 9:10,11)
The teachings of the Bible are a treasury of goodness. The Ten Commandments teach us how to live. We are to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” We are taught to look out for the welfare of others.
“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves better than others. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3,4)
God does not begrudge his children possessing nice things—but he warns us against worshiping them. It is Christians that have built hospitals. It is Christians that have established schools. Many of the universities in the eastern part of our country were established by pastors and Christian people. All kinds of feeding, caring, and healing ministries are going on today because they are inspired by the Bible.
Where do you find something better than the Bible? Where else do you find a Savior who has atoned for your sins? Where else do you find assurance of eternal fellowship with God?