Vital signs for living a vibrant life in Christ
You can have high blood pressure – and not even know it. Until, that is, the headaches and fatigue prompt a visit to the doctor, where you discover it’s now too late to prevent the problem; all you can do is treat it, usually involving a wholesale lifestyle change and perhaps lifelong medication. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “silent killer.”
The silent killer for you as a believer in Jesus Christ is your lack of knowledge of, and ability to know and apply the Bible to your life.
In a study conducted in July 2009 by The Barna Group, while most Americans consider themselves to be Christian, very few adults base their moral decisions on the Bible, and surprisingly few believe that moral truth exists. A representative sample of just over 1,000 adults found that:
- Just one out of every six adults (16%) claim they make their moral choices based on the content of the Bible.
- Of those identifying themselves as evangelicals, just six out of 10 rely on the principles of the Bible as their main source of moral counsel.
- While more evangelicals (70%) contend that moral truth is absolute – that is, it is not de- pendent on circumstances around them – only 1/3 of Americans say the same thing.
For several years, The Barna Group has been tracking how many people possess a “Biblical worldview,” defined by a variety of requirements:
- Absolute moral truths exist;
- Such truth is defined by the Bible;
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life;
- God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today;
- Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned;
- Satan is real;
- Christians have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people;
- And the Bible is accurate in all its teachings.
Using that framework, Barna discovered that the percentage of adults holding a Biblical worldview has remained minimal and unchanged over the past three years. Currently, only 5% of adults have a Biblical worldview.
I’m convinced that the primary reason people do not act like Jesus, and therefore do not solve life problems like Jesus, is because they do not think like Jesus.
Do you think like Jesus?
Behavior stems from what you think. The Apostle Paul encourages you to mind your thoughts carefully. He tells the believers in Ephesus “to be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23). He urges the Christians in Rome to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
The Bible teaches that how you choose to think will not only affect what you expect from life and feel about God; but it’ll impact what you do in life and become for God. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 10:3 NIV). “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3 NIV). Yet you simply cannot do this if you don’t know the “knowledge of God,” revealed in His Word.
The Bible has an answer for the challenges you face today.
What problems are you facing today? The Bible likely has a direct answer to help you deal with each one. Do you know the Word of God well enough to find them? If not, you have a silent killer in your midst that you need to address before it’s too late.
The world is not a safe place. There are lots of things that can happen that can be upsetting, or even devastating: from the loss of a job to the death of a loved one. That’s why your relationship with the Lord is to be a safe place – where you know you’ll be loved and sustained, no matter what.
But how many times have guilt or shame made you afraid to come to Him for shelter? Or, worse yet, how often do you find that your faith in Him is nonexistent? Perhaps it stems from the fact that you’ve never made the Lord the most important part of your life.
Another remarkable study from The Barna Group, this one from October and November of 2005, found that in a representative sample of over 1,000 adults, only one out of every seven respondents (15%) placed their faith in God at the top of their priority list. Even among those who attend Protestant churches, not quite one out of every four named their faith in the Lord as their number one priority. Among the people groups least likely to put God first, sadly, were adults under 30 years of age – the current younger generation.
Psalm 91 serves as a glowing testimony to the security of those who trust in God. It identifies the Lord as a “refuge” and “fortress” who will “save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence,” whose “faithfulness will be your shield and rampart,” and who will help you “not fear the terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day.”
These poetic promises, though, come with a condition; they’re valid only for the man or woman “who dwells in the shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1). How can you possibly dwell in a place you rarely, if ever, visit? If God is not foremost in your life, you deprive yourself of your safety – of the joy of resting “in the shadow of the Almighty” when life’s worries and circumstances bear down upon you like a relentless heat wave.
Jesus had it right in Matthew 6:31 and 33: “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Take it from this doctor’s heart … there is no higher priority than the wellbeing of your relationship with the Lord. How are your spiritual vital signs looking today?
If you missed part 1 of this blog, click here.