Spiritually Alert
Know the Word of God
by Greg Wright

We do well to teach kids to be mentally, physically, and spiritually alert. Many a kid who otherwise was bright, strong, and athletic has fallen into trouble through spiritual weakness. We are spiritually weak when we don't know the Bible and when we don't rely on it as our guide for how to live.

Being mentally bright, whether it's in the area of math, history, or even a sport like how to play soccer, often requires that we study and memorize. For example, try understanding the concept of "off-sides" in soccer without doing some serious study and memorization.

Similarly, being physically strong requires that we exercise our muscles and that we know how they work. As we exert ourselves in strenuous activity, followed by appropriate rest and nourishment, our muscles grow stronger. However, the best muscle builders are guys who have studied the way muscles develop. They know how to get maximum results from diet and exercise.

Likewise, if you want to be spiritual strong and alert, certain exercises are required. Often spiritual strength is derived from what we know -- the truth from God's word. One very important spiritual exercise is reading the Word of God. And we shouldn't just read to fulfill some Bible reading plan. We need to think about and pray about what we read.

In addition, some of the things we read should be committed to memory. Detailed knowledge of the word of God can keep us from sinning when we don't mean to. Consider the words of Psalm 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

It is easy to make mistakes when you don't know the Word of God. An example of this is a boy named Bradley. Bradley worked in a produce stand at a local grocery store. Bradley would never think of taking God's name in vain; he would never say anything that used God's name in a disrespectful way. He knew that was wrong. He knew the Ten Commandments and tried to live by them. But he also enjoyed hearing and telling dirty jokes. It wasn't until he read Ephesians 5:4 that he realized this was sinful, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."

What about you? Do you tell dirty jokes? Do you laugh when your friends make racial slurs? Do you enjoy sharing obscenities?

Another example is a boy named Stuart. Stuart was a new believer, but he had a lot to learn. When he and his cousins went to Grandma's house, his cousins Harold and Ben would meet him up at the old tobacco barn. There, away from all the little kids, they could talk about big kid stuff: motorbikes, race cars, girls, etc. But today Travis followed them. Travis was seven years old.

When Travis refused to stop bugging them, Stuart pushed him out the door. Travis fell and cut himself. Within minutes Uncle Buck, Travis's dad, grabbed Stuart by the collar, yanked him off the floor, and drew back his fist.

Stuart turned white with fear. Grandma emerged through the barn door just in the nick of time and got everyone to calm down. Then she told them, all, the story about how Jesus' disciples had responded to the little children when they were bothering them, that is, when they were trying to get to Jesus. The disciples tried to run them off. However, rather than letting the disciples drive them away, Jesus blessed them, see Matthew 19:14-25, "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

Grandma went on to tell the boys that if Jesus is our example, we should try to love little children the way Jesus did. She also explained that when little children get out of hand you don't rough them up. Rather you lead them by the hand back to their parents.

Stuart learned from his mistake, but he mourned that the incident could have been avoided had he known his Bible better.

What about you? Are you spiritually alert in the way that you deal with the children that bug you? How do you treat your brothers and sisters? Can they see Jesus in the way you treat them, or do they just see a bully, someone to be avoided.

In conclusion I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that you will make lots of mistakes. If you are not a Christian, these will only add to your torments when you go to hell. You need to turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus Christ.

However, if you are a Christian there is still bad news: you will still make lots of mistakes. But the good news for Christians is this: not only is God committed to saving you from hell, but he is committed to saving you from the power of sin right now. The power of God is committed to your growth in holiness. Do you want to be clean before God? Do you love God enough to want to please him by obeying him? Then consider Psalm 119:9, "Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word."

May God richly bless you by making you spiritually alert, as you study, memorize, and treasure the Word of God.

The Christian Counter

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