It’s common knowledge that there are lots of books printed so far. Some books are very useful such as cook books, car manuals, grooming books etc. These are quite objective in their approach and to the point. However not everything is worth reading as there are other books that are filled with foolishness that you must avoid.
There are certain books that are superficially considered as works of artistic grandeur. On closer inspection you’d realize that they contain moral or spiritual gibberish at best. You must do you best to discern what is really good for you to glean on when reading such things.
Some people love poems while some love novels. There are people who relish classic literary works, while some revel in the contemporary. No problem in such hobbies as long they are not harmful. For instance gardening is no sin unless you are growing poisonous plants to harm others or yourself. Likewise, when reading various books they induce thoughts in the garden of your mind. You need to remove weeds of impure thoughts lest they choke the beautiful thoughts of piety, respect, gracefulness etc. The garden of your mind must be well watered with the word of God and never any substitute.
The wisdom of the world in some books can be shaky. They teach you that you are not took keep whining about your sorry situation but do something positive about it. You are encouraged to help yourself. While a worldly book teaches self-reliance it might also teach you to not help people in trouble as they are expected to help themselves. Such teaching on self-reliance is out of balance. I’d say that avoid such books that teach you not to help others. While its true that some people are way too lazy to help themselves, there are some who are too depressed to figure out how to get out of trouble. Not every self-help book is bad but that which teaches foolishness like not helping others is surely a bad one.
Take care what emotions are prominent in worldly books. As certain authors put in their own bitterness in their writings. Some are obsessed with suicide in their works and receive critical acclaim for that. However, the same critics get horrified when the author whom they praised actually committed suicide maybe due to divorce or loss of a fortune. What a tragedy at many levels? Three levels that immediately came to my mind. First, for the author’s life that got lost in gloom forever. Secondly, that the audience and critics celebrated suicide that people usually commit out of hopelessness. Thirdly, that such works that promote despair and suicide are still in vogue even after people came to know that the author wrote them not in the objective sense but out of their own grief which they tried to hide behind.
There are certain books that encourage you to feel helpless just because you are of a particular country, race or gender. Such things only promote you to believe in falsehood that you cannot breakout of worldly stereotypes. Keep away from such books.
Some authors are highly obsessed with sexual immorality. They portray love what is vulgar and hypocritical. They are more concerned with sinful please rather than right living. Nowadays in works of art even a bank robber is glorified if he has a relationship with an adulterous woman as long as he robs the rich and gives to the poor. The Bible doesn’t teach us to rob the rich and give to the poor.
There are certain books what promote unbelief. They will try to make you doubt if God exists. They will say lots of evil things about Jesus Christ. These are to be shunned outright. Because atheism and blasphemy are not in line with the Christian faith.
If you call yourself a believer in Christ then remember that is pointless to keep reading such books. Read what is wise and good and keep away what is sinful and vain. Moreover, read the Bible because it contains God’s message to us which leads us on to the right path.
A few scripture verses to reflect on:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.(1 Timothy 6:20-21)
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.(2 Timothy 2:22)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.(1 John 2:15-16)
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing (Psalm 100:2)
Do you serve the Lord with gladness? Do you feel that serving God is something that you need to do legalistically or freely?
Never get into a legalistic mode when serving God. Because your will power and disciple will get affected in the course of time. You are not a robot!
The Christian faith goes beyond religion because it concentrates not on rituals but on relation. Not any ordinary relation but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ his Son. So keep ritualistic attitudes outside and far away from your relationship with God.
It may be possible to show your gladness externally like smiling, singing when preaching the Gospel to unbelievers. But sometimes you can’t actually do this in instances of praying for a person who is suffering from cancer and is in pain. The point is that the expression of gladness must always be there in your inner being. You can be happy in your heart that Christ gives you salvation even in the midst of pain and suffering that you encounter either in yourself and others. Even Moses said in Exodus 15:2 that; The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Getting your mind right can dramatically affect your will power and discipline in doing the works of God. You will need to be very familiar with the word of God for this and put it to action.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
A sure sign of faith that is disciplined is that you do not empower the flesh nature but rather you focus on the desires of the Spirit.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
We must encourage each other to hold on the to word of Christ. Never force anyone but rather do it in freedom and respect. We do not condone sin but we exhort each other to be holy for God.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:1-12)
Accept the discipline of God because he loves you. God loves you as his child. No good parent will like to see his child eat stale food. If a child still tries to eat stale food then the good parent will surely try to correct the child. This is because the parent is aware of what is beneficial to the child and what is not.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage (Psalm 94:12-14)
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)
Never mistake the correction (or chastisement) of God as punishment. Because if you were to be punished he would have done so already. Correction is so that you improve while punishment comes due to lack of repentance.
Correction may come in form of preaching, teaching and examples in real life. Most of the while the Lord God will speak through your conscience about whether you are making a wrong move or walking on the right path. Sometimes godly people will approach you and try to get you on the right track. Never get confused between false accusers and those who truly are trying to help. Check the facts for yourself with the Bible as your guide. Because skepticism is not a substitute for discernment.
The difference between correction and punishment must be clear to you. Otherwise you might simply be bitter over nothing. Suppose you are speeding in your car and your dad is in your car too and he yells at you to slow down, he is not punishing you. He is only correcting you. However, if he makes you stop because you refused to slow down and then bans you for a month from driving then that is punishment.
You are to remain disciplined even as you commend others to godliness. If you train people to be holy but yourself commit robbery, you are in danger of hell fire.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27)
You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2: 23-24)
Have your will power and discipline for the Lord God not out of compulsion but out a free and thankful heart. This way you will truly give glory to God through Jesus Christ his Son. God be with you!
As a believer in Christ you are no longer a slave to sin. To understand this, lets read John chapter 8 verses 31 to 35
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
You are called to be free, no longer a slave. Slavery to sin is the worst of all. Because this slavery continues in hell for all eternity. Only the Son of God can set you free from sin and death.
You are called to be with God forever as his child. Though it’s a great honor to be an angel of God it’s even a greater honor to be in truth a child of the Lord God.
Now let’s read Galatians chapter 4 verses 1 to 7
1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 3but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Jesus redeemed you from the curse of the law so that you get adopted as a child of God. So never think of Christianity as following a set of laws. It’s about being a right relationship with God through Jesus. You need to believe in the Gospel.
Let’s read Romans chapter 8 verses 12 to 17
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
You are called to no longer live by the works of the flesh. But rather be led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will remind of you of the things of God. He bears witness that you are a child of God. Do not therefore worry about your sins but repent of them. Be free not for evil but for the Lord Jesus who loves you so much.