Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
September 5, 1999
Last Updated :
February 5, 2012
Gods Hates The Backslider Yet He Is Merciful, False God Of This World, Resist Satan's Worldly Temptations, Distractions And Being Too Busy, Rich And Unhappy, The Snare And Vanity Of Riches, Temporal Or Eternal Riches, Is It The Lord's Day Or Is It Your Day?, Room For Improvement, Fight To Win Back Your Time, Proper Time Management, Are You Equally Dedicated To The Lord?, Faith Without Works, Vulnerability Of Writing Ministry, My Personal Vision And Goals, Rewarded According To Our Works, Brevity Of Life, Reward Or Shame And Contempt, A Good Story Or The Good Book, Importance Of The Word, Depth Of God's Word, Diligently Study The Word Daily Like Bereans
One thing which the Scriptures make very clear is that while God absolutely abhors -- or detests -- the backslider, at the same time, He will also extend great mercy to such a person, if that person demonstrates true repentance, and amends his ways. In fact, the Lord tells us that He is married to the backslider. Consider the following verses which verify these points:
"And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you."
Leviticus 26:30, KJV
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
2 Peter 2:20-22, KJV
"The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself."
Proverbs 14:14, KJV
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"
Jeremiah 3:14, KJV
"Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return."
Jeremiah 8:5, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13, KJV
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
Psalms 103:13-14, KJV
As I pointed out in part one, how we choose to spend our time each day is a clear indication of what we consider to be the most important priorities in our lives. The way we use our time demonstrates if we are truly serving the Lord our God, or the false god of this present world; that is, Satan. As Jesus plainly stated in the Gospel of Matthew, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
What we need to recognize is that all of the enticing Golden Calves which clutter our modern world are devised by Satan himself. That foul fiend purposely offers them to us in the devilish hope that we will succumb to them, waste our time on them, and thus ruin our effectiveness for the Lord. But, we also need to remember that God's Word promises us that the Lord will make a way for us to escape the Devil's carnal temptations, if we let Him. The Lord will give us both the strength and the Grace to resist that demon of darkness. We simply have to yield ourselves to God's Spirit. Consider the following verses:
"And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Luke 4:6, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15,16, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV
"Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27, KJV
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV
Most of us have our share of pressures in this life. Satan has certainly made sure of that; although to be honest, by some of our own poor decisions, mistakes and compromises, we may have helped to aggravate the situation further. As we have seen, Satan will do everything within his power to keep our minds and hearts distracted from the Lord. His evil goal is to keep us all so busy just working and surviving, and in such a state of mental, emotional and physical turmoil, that we don't have much time left to even think about the Lord, much less serve Him; and if we do have any time left, Satan will entice us with his recreational Golden Calves, so that we foolishly waste our time, instead of dedicating it to the Lord's Service.
On the other hand, even if one is well-off financially, and is enjoying the so-called "abundant life" as some misguided Christians like to call it, Satan still has that person in a snare and under bondage; because in some cases, due to their own selfish nature, such people are always looking for a way to obtain even more than they already have. Not only that, but they must also worry about paying higher taxes, and they must worry about protecting the assets they already possess, lest someone wiser than them, or perhaps more corrupt than them, steal it from them. In spite of their riches, some of the wealthy class are the saddest and the most unfulfilled people in the world. It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy, tells us that such well-to-do people are "pierced through with many sorrows", as we see by these verses:
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:6-10, KJV
In the Gospels, Jesus Himself exposed the subtle snare of riches, which can rob a man of his Heavenly Inheritance, when He taught such things as the following:
". . . Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:23-24, KJV
". . . Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
Mark 10:24b, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV
In his Epistle, the Apostle James clearly exposes the sins of the wealthy, and explains to us how their very wealth will be a testimony against them, when they someday stand empty-handed before the Judgment Seat of Christ:
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."
James 5:1-7, KJV
So you see, the central issue here is how do we manage our lives and our time? Due to our ignorance, selfishness, or perhaps even due to our spiritual laziness, are we laying up temporal treasures upon Earth which will soon vanish away, or are we wisely storing up Eternal Riches in the Kingdom of Heaven? As the Apostle Paul wisely tells us:
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
1 Timothy 6:7, KJV
Are we foolishly devoting most of our time and energy to the Devil and his worldly enticements, or as wise children of the King, are we redeeming the time, and spending as much of our time as we possibly can with the Master, faithfully studying His Holy Word, and sharing it with others? Yes, being as we are currently still in the world, we have obligations to our families which must be met; and we also have to satisfy the requirements of our boss at work as well. These activities can most certainly be very demanding of our time; yet, the question still remains: What do we do with our remaining time when we do not find ourselves engaged in attending to such responsibilities? Do we indulge in the worthless activities I mentioned earlier, or do we give the Lord His due?
In the Book of Psalms we find the following inspiring verse which I like to quote often. It is an excellent verse to quote in the morning as your day begins:
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalms 118:24, KJV
As Christians, if we truly believe that each and every day -- and not just Sunday -- belongs to the Lord, isn't it only right and proper that we should dedicate at least a small portion of each day to the Lord, to prayer, and to the study of His Word? Wouldn't this be much more pleasing to Him than our dedication to meaningless books of fiction which do not really feed our souls? Wouldn't the Lord be more honoured by our attempts to reach out to others concerning our faith, than by time wasted watching violent, sex-filled videos, or a football game? Isn't the Lord and His Word more important than going out drinking or playing cards "with the boys"? Isn't our time better spent in communion with Him, than in cruising around town in order to proudly show off our new car? Isn't being filled with His Light through His Word more important than playing "Dungeons And Dragons"? Aren't God's true heavenly visions in the Bible much better than going out to see the latest "Star Wars" epic which is nothing but silliness and fantasy?
Obviously, I can provide many more examples, but it really comes down to one central question: Whose day is it really? Is it our day, or is it the Lord's day? If it is truly the Lord's day, then why aren't we giving Him at the very least a small portion of it? If we each take the time to honestly examine our personal lifestyle closely, I do not doubt that we will find at least a few areas which require improvement. If Satan is going to fight so hard to steal our time from us, then we must fight even harder to win it back; and one way in which we can do this is by adopting good spiritual habits. We need to guard our free time, and use it wisely; because once this life is past, only what is done for Jesus Christ will truly last.
Proper time management has become an important concept in the modern business world. Over the past several decades, the owners and managers of many companies have become very keen on how their employees spend their time, being as it is directly related to how productive they are for the company profit-wise. Any employee which does not meet a certain level of productivity can easily be dismissed from his job, as many people have sadly found out.
If the children of the world place so much importance on time management, even if their only motivation is to earn more money, shouldn't we as Christians do the same? Should not we be willing to give as much time as possible to our true Employer in Heaven, as we do to our Earthly bosses, or even to our own selfish pleasures? All of these other things are merely time-wasters in which worldly people indulge themselves. Are we of the world, or are we of the Lord? As the old saying goes, let me see how you live your life, and then I will tell you what you believe, and what you consider to be most important; because your life is an open book. As the Apostle James wrote:
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works . . . But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
James 2:17-18, 20, 26, KJV
So then, it is very important that we all take Paul's words very seriously when he tells us "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil". We need to demonstrate our faith through our works -- that is, through our service to the Lord -- and we need to strive to dedicate some part of each day to the Lord, as much as lies within us. We need to watch out for the Devil's temptations and distractions, which are indeed many, as we all know.
Time is indeed short, and the days are truly evil. Regarding this writing ministry, it could come to a complete halt at any moment due to a variety of reasons. If it weren't for the Lord's protection and blessing, and my and your prayers, the Devil could easily have found a way to destroy this ministry at any moment without any advance warning.
It is because I realize these things, that I work so hard to share as much information with you as I can, while there is still time. And believe me, I still have a great quantity of articles which I have already started, which you have never seen before. As I mention in the article "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?", by God's Grace, I will continue to burn brightly at both ends as long as He will allow me to. I have no intentions on giving up. I plan to stay focused on the task which He has set before me. I hope to run the rest of the race to the finish line. I hope to redeem the time, and to spend the rest of my life wisely in service to Him and others.
What about you? Are you doing the same; or will you someday stand before the Lord empty-handed? Will all of your works be burned because you devoted your time on Earth foolishly building upon the wrong foundation? Our works in this life will surely follow us to the Judgement Seat of Christ, and then He will determine which ones were truly done for Him, and which ones were only done for ourselves. Consider the following verses:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV
"If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
Proverbs 24:12, KJV
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Matthew 16:27, KJV
". . . I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Revelation 2:23b, KJV
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Revelation 14:13, KJV
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 20:12-13, KJV
As the Apostle Paul also informs us in his Epistle to the Romans, now is the time to awake out of sleep, and to begin doing our works for the Lord, because the imminent Day of our Salvation, and our graduation into the Next Life, may be much nearer than we think. Consider the following verses:
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
Romans 13:11, KJV
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
James 4:14, KJV
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Hebrews 9:27, KJV
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
Luke 12:20, KJV
So as you can plainly see, even if Jesus were not to return for another twenty or fifty years, that does not necessarily mean that you personally have that long. You could be dead tomorrow due to an illness, or an accident, or due to any number of unforeseen reasons. God forbid that such a thing should happen to you; but if it were to occur, would you be forced to shamefully look back at all of the precious time you wasted doing foolish things in your life which would ultimately have a negative effect on your Eternal Destiny, such as reading fictitious novels simply because they have a good storyline? The choice is really up to you. I'm reminded of the following verse that is found in the Book of Daniel:
"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Daniel 12:2, KJV
Personally, rather than waste my time reading a fictitious novel -- no matter how good it may be -- I prefer to read the Good News in the Good Book; and I prefer to share the Good News -- that is, the Gospel -- with those people who need to hear it. As the Apostle Paul wrote, I prefer to set my mind and heart on things above, in the Heavenly Realm, and not on the things of this Earth, particularly when such things are not even true.
As you may know, Jesus said that the Words that He speaks to us are Spirit, and they are Life; and He also said that it is only His Word which washes us clean. Can the same be said of worldly books and novels which are written by men who do not even possess the Spirit of God? The Apostle Paul reminds us to think on the things which are true, honest and pure. King David also informs us that God magnifies -- or esteems -- His Word above His name. Should we not do likewise by spending our time wisely reading and studying it diligently, instead of wasting our time reading the fictitious and often erroneous works of worldly men? The Apostle Paul, in fact, warns us against such things. Consider the following verses:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:3, KJV
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8, KJV
"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Psalms 138:2, KJV
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
That certainly leaves out fictitious novels which are of no real spiritual value. In conclusion, there is so much to be learned from God's Holy Word, that I don't believe that any of us can truly grasp it all in one lifetime. I have been studying the Scriptures for over forty years now, and I still don't fully comprehend them; and I probably never will until the day that I go to be with the Lord, and perhaps not even then. I am reminded of these verses:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
"Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."
Job 9:10, KJV
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33, KJV
In the meantime, similar to the Bereans of the Book of Acts, I will continue to search the Scriptures daily, and to study to show myself approved unto God, so that I will not be ashamed. I will continue to hide the Lord's Word in my heart, because "You are what you eat"; and this principle applies to our lives spiritually, as well as physically. Please consider the wisdom that is found in these final verses:
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalms 119:11, KJV
I truly hope that you are redeeming the time wisely, and that your spiritual diet is a healthy one. I pray that this article has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.