Strengthening Your Grip
Presenting The Christian Message
Watch For the Thief
Jesus referred to Satan as a thief. So don’t think it strange if Satan attempts to steal your faith (see John 10:10). What seems perfectly clear and makes perfect sense today may seem foggy and unsure tomorrow. Thoughts of doubt, fear or confusion may come to you. This is how our enemy wars against us—in our minds. That is why the Bible instructs us to earnestly contend for the faith (see Jude 1:3).
Deception is one of the main tactics that Satan uses against Christians. Many who have started out with good intentions have been deceived and have suffered “shipwreck.” Jesus said, “Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Matt 24:11).
We are also warned in Scripture that insincere people will use smooth and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting (see Rom 16:18). Don’t be naive; not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one. In some cases, entire groups and denominations have lost the faith through deception. In this chapter you will find important keys to keeping the faith and strengthening your grip on eternal life.
Keep the Balance
As stated in the preface, it is the goal in this book to present a brief but balanced view of God’s nature. Keeping a balanced understanding of the goodness and the severity of God is important to avoid deception. If we do not see the dilemma created by the holiness of the Almighty Judge of the universe and our own sinful condition, we will not be able to appreciate nor appropriate the love of God.
To grasp the “big picture” and to understand the four aspects of the Christian message is to have a balanced beginning to your Christian life. The redeeming work of Christ is certainly the focal point of the Christian message. However, failure to understand God’s absolute purity, man’s absolute depravity and our part in the coming kingdom, while focusing only on Christ’s redeeming work, often results in a humanistic mentality.
Beware of Humanism
Humanism is that which promotes human desires above God and His purposes. In humanism, there is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) attitude that God (and the church) exists to serve us, meet our needs, and improve our “quality of life.” In this mindset, the “human” becomes the focus instead of God.
God loves us and certainly wants our needs to be met, as demonstrated by Jesus’ death on the cross. However, our idea of what we need sometimes differs from God’s. God does not exist to serve man, but rather man exists to serve God (see Prov 16:4).
Humanistic thought also promotes the idea that man is not basically wicked, but good, and is a victim of his circumstances. As a result, people often feel little or no responsibility for their sin. In this philosophy, it becomes God’s job to “fix” man, and man ultimately reasons that evil must be God’s fault.
Though humanism can sometimes look Christian, it is not. It is another gospel. It is subtle, dangerous and must be avoided. God has indeed paid the price to “fix” man’s condition by Jesus’ death on the cross. Now He commands all people everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
As you embrace the four aspects of the Christian message and become part of the plan, you are on your way to being a strong Christian. You will not be easily deceived by the vain philosophies of men.
Practice the Basics
Below are a few basics that, if practiced diligently, will cause you to grow strong in the Spirit.
Know and share the message. Peter exhorts us to be able to give an account of the hope that is in us (see 1 Peter 3:15). The message is powerful. You don’t have to prove it, just know it and share it. To keep your faith alive and fresh, share it with others.
Study the Bible. Besides helping you know the message, time spent reading the Bible fortifies your mind with truth. The truth found in God’s Word is a great protection against deception. You will also find that God will speak to you through the Bible as you read. He will illuminate certain Scriptures to your mind and they will often apply to your specific situation. The Word of God is timeless.
Pray. God will also speak to your heart as you quiet yourself in times of prayer. As you are diligent in times of prayer, you will find great peace and clear direction for your life.
As you hear God and get direction from Him in prayer, your faith will grow strong and God will be able to use you powerfully. Through faith-filled prayer, God changes things!
Fellowship with other believers. This too is a great protection against deception. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Prov 11:14). No one is perfect. We all need faithful brothers and sisters in Christ to lean on at times.
If you have sincerely prayed and surrendered control of your life to Jesus Christ, you have taken the most important step in your life. Now continue to take steps. Take step after step until you are running with God! Let’s build together until Jesus comes!
Next, Consider Destiny 101, a study course that will restore the foundations of the Christ in your life