It is a re-commitment I am making now to amp up my Bible study. Other than devotional references and following up on sermons I hear, I have not been reading the Bible much for several months. I need to fix that. God has given it to us as His special communication for our lives. Kind of a big loss to not be spending time with it, eh?
I have been spending some time recently with II Corinthians 5. Paul's letters always fascinate me. No one can read them and not see that Paul had divine inspiration and insight.
Check this out -- verse 5:
"God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit."
This was written in the context of God promising us a new body after our death here on earth. But yet He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit -- to guide us and encourage us now -- before we've died.
Then skip down a bit to verses 16 - 18 (I'm using NLT, by the way -- verse 17 of course will be familiar):
"16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him."
His gift of the Holy Spirit affects how we see others ... and out of seeing others differently, we will want to bring them to a relationship with Christ just as we ourselves have known.
But yet we're still humans ... God has made us new through the Holy Spirit which is indwelling to guide us to new thought processes, new reactions, new attitudes, and new actions ... but we're still human. the Holy Spirit supports our innate conscience and moral compass but yet, even as Christians, we will still mess up ... we can still make the choice to overrule what the Spirit tells us and do the opposite.
What then, is to keep us on the path? Gratitude ... gratitude for the relationship that God has offered us through the sacrifice of His son. When the Christian fully appreciates the gift of Jesus, we then will want to live out a life that is in the Spirit and is committed to leading others to their reconciliation as well.
Still, not easy though.
For me, Bible study is one major key.