Getting Off the Spiritual Roller Coaster
taken from a message given by Adrian Rogers
As a teenage boy, I sat in church beside my father and heard the gospel. When the invitation was given, both my father and I went forward and gave our hearts to Jesus Christ. I was as sincere as a young man could be. They stood me in front and said, “Aren’t we grateful young Adrian has come forward to give his heart to Christ?” And the people said, “Amen.”
That was it. I went out, as most do, endeavoring to live the Christian life. As a young man I struggled and failed and rode a spiritual rollercoaster. Sometimes I was up—sometimes down. I started out with great sincerity and resolve, but I floundered. I wondered if I had been saved at all.
Then slowly I began to get into the Word of God. As I studied the Bible, I learned truth, and it became something solid I could stand on. My life was transformed, not by resolution, emotion, or determination, but by the truth of God’s Word.
My heart’s desire is for you to learn how vital the study of God’s word is if you’re going to stand strong.
The #1 factor in faithfulness is Bible study.
As Paul said to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) That’s God’s command to us: study the Word. Jesus prayed on our behalf: “Lord, sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) It doesn’t get any clearer than that! If we want to stop riding a rollercoaster and get some spiritual steel beneath our feet, we must be faithful in Bible study. So how do you start?
RECEIVE – You must put first things first. For God’s Word to become a bright, living reality, you must receive the saving Author of the Bible.
Without Jesus Christ, you are spiritually blind. First Corinthians 2:14 says that the naturally born man “receives not the things of the Spirit of God…they are foolishness unto him….” Without the Author in our hearts, we can never truly understand the Bible.
A college professor was mocking students who believed in the Word of God. He let loose a diatribe, then asked, “Is there anybody here now who says he believes the Bible is the Word of God?” One young man stood and said, “Yes, sir. I believe that.” The professor replied, “Well, young man, I want you to know I’ve read the Bible and it doesn’t make any sense to me.” The student answered, “Sir, I don’t mean any disrespect, but the Bible is God’s love letter to His children. If you’ve read it and don’t understand it, it’s because you’ve been reading someone else’s mail.”
PRAY - Never begin to study without first praying. Psalm 119:12 says, “Lord, teach me Thy statutes.” When we lay our intellectual pride in the dust and pray over the Word, God becomes our Teacher. He opens our eyes “that we may behold wondrous things”—things we’ve never before seen. Truths jump up off the pages into our hearts. It’s unthinkable that I would sit down for a serious study of the Word of God without first asking the author to teach me.
BELIEVE - We must believe the Bible is the Word of God. It will never be a real book to you until you accept it as the sovereign authority of Almighty God. The Bible says that all Scripture is the very breath of God. When we read the Bible, we hear God speak. We must accept its absolute authority.
COMMIT - We must bring our minds and commit to study. “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13) What does the word study mean? Give diligence. Earnestly endeavor. Have a burning desire for the Word of God.
Can you truly say with the psalmist, “The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver”? (Psalm 119:72) Would we rather know the truth of God’s Word than have gold and silver? Most of us would agree we don’t believe everything we read in the newspaper. But how many spend more time with the newspaper than with the Word of God? We must “give attendance to reading, exhortation, and doctrine.” There is no cheap, easy, lazy way to understand the Bible.
Appropriate and act on the truths of God’s Word. The Bible will become a brand new book. And then, the ride on the spiritual roller coaster will end.
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