Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          April 6, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 6



It's easy to get caught up in the political and social issues of our time. Currently, you can't turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a newspaper without being bombarded with news on the health care debate going on in Washington. Most of us probably have our opinions about the issues involved. Some might like more government control and financing of health care, and some might want less. Some might prefer that health insurance be mandatory for all, while others might like a choice in the matter. No matter what our feelings are on these and related issues, Christians need to remember to allow their thinking to be directed by their faith in God and the truths found in His word. Whatever Washington decides about healthcare, certain things will remain true.

Clean living leads to good health. The best health care plan in the world is to live like God says. He created us and surely knows what is best for us! "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8).

Listening to wise parents promotes a long healthy life. Solomon said, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart, for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh" (Proverbs 4:20-22). "Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:2-3)

Health is a gift from God. It is the Lord who blesses people with good health and well being. As was mentioned earlier, we can certainly do things to promote our health. And the Scriptures indicate that doctors and pharmaceuticals also have roles to play in keeping us healthy (cf.Matthew 9:12; 1 Timothy 5:23; Luke 10:34; Jeremiah 51:8). But ultimately it is God who blesses us with health and healing. Let's not forget that! "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases" (Psalms 103:2-3). We may have all the money in the world, but the health and strength to enjoy it is a gift from God. Solomon observes, "As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor -- this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

No health care program is going to keep you from dying. We talk about health care as if it is going to prevent people from dying. It will not. You can take all the pills you want. Exercise, eat right and avoid risky behavior, and you will still die anyway! In the end, it won't matter what health care program our nation adopts. "No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, and wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it" (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

If our thinking is right, we'll be much more concerned about what happens after death than we are about what to do to prolong life -- for "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

—Steve Klein

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  “It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done” (Samuel Johnson, 1770).

Potential has to do with something that can happen, but has not yet happened. It has to do with possibilities: unrealized and undeveloped. While it is good to have the capacity to do many things, potential alone is not enough to accomplish what is necessary.

Christians have great potential. We have the potential for growth, to convert many people to the Lord, to make a strong impact on the communities around us. There are great possibilities; the future looks fantastic from this viewpoint.

But potential is not enough! Just because we have the ability to do something does not mean that we will do it. A congregation with great potential is no guarantee that they will make the most out of it. Remember, while something is still potential, it has not happened. What a tragedy it would be if, given the possibilities before so many Christians, these potentials were never realized!

Potential is realized when we press on with diligence to grow. We must act on our abilities and improve upon them. It takes work and commitment, not just recognition that we “can” do many things. The one talent man had the ability to gain another, but his laziness marked him forever as never reaching his potential (Matt. 25:14ff).

Sometimes people boast about their former days. “These seats used to be filled up.” “We used to have so many classes going.” “We used to be known for our singing.” So? What are we doing now and where are we headed? Potential will never be seen by resting on the past. Paul understood this: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14). Paul did not think in terms glorying in his past accomplishments or moping about his failures. His potential for perfection would only be realized through continually pressing toward the goal. Shall we expect less now?

God has provided for a local church to grow and be what He wants it to be (Eph. 4:11-16). Teaching takes place, saints are equipped to serve and edify, unity is accomplished, maturity is accomplished, and the church grows as each individual members does his or her part. However, as long as there are Christians who do not do their share, the total potential of a congregation will not be seen. A church may accomplish much and be known for its faithfulness, but it will never attain to its full ability as long as there are some who do not act as they ought. One or two people cannot work for everyone else. “... the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (vs. 16).

Not everyone does the same work. One person may not have abilities that another may have, and vice-versa. But God expects each person to do what he/she can do. Potential means nothing unless we are willing to act on it.

There is a sense in which we will never reach our full potential on this earth. We must avoid the attitude that says, “I did it; I’m perfect” (see Rev. 3:14-22). If we become satisfied with our spiritual lives so that we do not work for further growth and knowledge, we are in serious trouble. So, while we recognize that we have potential, let’s always be striving to grow and mature. If we will, our capacity for heaven will be attained when this life is over (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

So ask yourself, “What have I done?” Then ask, “What am I able to do?” Are you working hard toward fulfilling your abilities?


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