Mature people delight in God and seek out His wisdom. They study God’s Word and obey it. Their lives are surrendered to God, and they endeavor to maintain the disciplines of memorization and meditation on Scripture, moral purity, freedom from anger, a clear conscience with God and man, and submission to God-given authorities.
You will probably be surprised at how many lies you have believed. We believe many because they are partially true, such as “I can never measure up,” “I am not good enough,” “I am not attractive,” etc. Finding out why these are lies and how to respond to each one with truth is vital, because lies produce fears that lead to unwise decisions. These decisions result in painful memories and deadly stresses.
Knowledge puffs up a person and makes him proud, but wisdom teaches a person how to live. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge and comes from seeing life from God’s point of view rather than from our perspective. By understanding this cause-and-effect relationship, we are able to resolve most interpersonal conflicts. This information gives a valuable foundation for problem solving and conflict resolution.
Some of the most difficult questions in life can best be resolved by understanding that we were designed with three parts: spirit, soul, and body. By learning the functions of each part and how they interact with each other, we can have a whole new perspective on some of the most painful experiences that people have, especially understanding why God let things bad things happen to them in earlier years.
“If you had the power to change something about your appearance would you use it?” The vast majority of people who have been asked this question have said “Yes!” However, since we cannot alter our ten unchangeable features, we go on in life rejecting our self-image and often assume that others will also reject us. Thus, fear of rejection is one of the major problems today, especially among youth.
The first command that Jesus gave to all the world is “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). God “commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). But what are we to repent of? We are to confess our sins. (See 1 John 1:9.) However, we are not a sinner because we sin; we sin because we are a sinner. It is that original sin that we repent of. Do you know what that sin is?
Most people assume that they are a body that has a soul and spirit. Actually we are a spirit that is in a body with a soul. This explains what happened in the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam that he would die if he ate the forbidden fruit. He ate it and his body and soul continued living. However, he died because his spirit died, and he passed on that death to all his descendants so we are all born dead. The only way to become spiritually alive is to be born again in our spirit.
Jesus taught forty-nine commands. They contain the secrets of wisdom and success in every area of life. They transcend all countries, nationalities, religions, and political systems. They teach practical ways to love God and one another. The more we understand them, the more we will know God in an intimate way. (See John 14:21.)
Throughout history God has given three law systems with a common foundation of loving God and one another. One was given to Adam for his family, the second was given to Moses for his nation, and the third was given to us for all nations. By knowing this, many perplexing questions are cleared up in the Bible. All three law systems were discussed when the Pharisees argued about divorce. (See Matthew 19.) It is Christ’s law that we are to teach to all nations.
One of the most important definitions in Scripture involves God’s grace. Is it simply His “unmerited favor,” or does it also include God’s enablement to live above the lusts of the flesh? Those who “rob” grace of its power turn grace into a license. (See Jude 4.) “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under [the power of ] grace” (Romans 6:14).
A further way of exercising the power of grace is by the laying on of hands. Paul said to Timothy: “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God [grace], which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:6–7). This is a foundational principle of the Gospel of Christ. (See Hebrews 6:1–2.)
Another way of developing the power of God’s grace is by discovering and using our spiritual gift. Every believer is given one for his profit and to benefit the Body of Christ. Knowing and using our spiritual gift is an important factor in increasing our sense of self-worth and being accepted by other believers.
Every person has an inborn desire to fulfill seven basic needs. One need is to do great works. Because God created us in His image and He is a great God who does great things, our basic needs do not change, but our way of fulfilling them can change. Meeting them the right way brings joy and fulfillment; the wrong way brings a life of disillusionment, destructive emotions, and despair.
“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life” (Proverbs 22:4). What greater motivation do we need to learn how to fear God? There are three levels of fearing God. The first is fearing natural consequences. The second is fearing damage to our reputation. But the third and highest level is to fear destroying an intimate relationship with God. This objective is absolutely essential for personal success.
“All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28), and those who love God cannot even imagine the marvelous future that God has for them. (See I Corinthians 2:9.) But how are we supposed to love God with all of our heart and at the same time love other people? God wants to be loved with no competing affections. What are competing affections, and how can we get rid of them?
This was the secret of the first-century Church’s power. Only when believers were “in one place and in one accord” did the Holy Spirit come upon them with supernatural power. When the disciples prayed in one accord, “the place was shaken where they were assembled together” (Acts 4:31). By such prayer, miraculous things take place. This one-accord power must be the goal of every group of believers.
It only takes one person to break the one-accord power of the whole group. The example of this among the covenant people of Israel was Achan. His secret sin caused God’s power to depart. The purpose of the Lord’s Table and Communion is to ensure that all secret sins are confessed and forsaken in order to maintain one-accord power.
Much of our praying lacks the fervency that God requires for getting results. The Phillips family in Florida prayed for five years that God would give them a little girl. Then they learned about the power of crying out. Two days later Mrs. Phillips conceived, and nine months later their little girl was born. God promises, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).
The guaranteed secret of prosperity and success is given to us by God Himself: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8). This guarantee was repeated in Psalm 1 and David testifies of further rewards in Psalm 119:97–99. Meditation is using Scripture to express our thoughts, emotions, and will to God.
The conflicts between teenagers and their parents are rampant in our day. They result from a clash of wills and the teenager wanting to be on the same level of authority as his parents. However, all power comes from God and is delegated to human authorities. Through this channel, God provides protection, direction, provision, and instruction to our lives.
The principle of delegated authority is so important that God has given us many analogies, examples, and pictures of it in Scripture. By learning about these types we can understand how to cooperate with God in order to achieve success, wealth, health, and joy. We can also understand why this principle has been under severe attack by Satan from the beginning of time.
This is the first command with a promise: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother . . . that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1–3).” God distinguishes between obeying and honoring. If parents ask us to do evil, we cannot obey them, but we can still honor them with words and attitudes. To dishonor parents is to invite God’s judgment. (See Proverbs 30:17.)
All government leaders are called “ministers of God.” (See Romans 13:6.) They are to praise those who do well and punish those who do evil. (See I Peter 2:14.) To be successful, they need the prayers of God’s people. Our reward is having a life of peace and the potential of all men coming to repentance (See II Peter 3:9).
Ask any employer and he will affirm that one of his most difficult tasks is to find diligent and honest employees. Dream employees would be those who have initiative, creativity, wisdom, enthusiasm, and diligence. God explains that we can get these qualities if we picture ourselves as actually working for the Lord rather than a human employer. (See Colossians 3:22–25.)
Being obedient to an authority certainly does not mean that we do everything he says. That is blind obedience. Many times, authorities need to have those under their care come to them in a spirit of obedience and wisely point out why their decisions will not work. Then, if possible, give them potential alternatives. This is what Daniel did when his captors ordered him to violate the Word of God.
Most parents and other authorities tend to have character flaws and deficiencies. Those under their authority assume that these will not change, so they either try to ignore them or react to them. God has a better idea: employ the power of a verbal blessing! There are three reasons why a verbal blessing will impart the power to an authority to correct his character flaws. This course will explain why and how to give them.
The founding of the United States resulted from the passion of Pilgrims to establish a nation that was built on the laws of God. It was upon the laws of Scripture that the three central branches of government were formed and the articles of the Constitution were written. Patrick Henry stated: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”
Paul likened the Christian life to a race and he wants us to win, but that means laying aside weights and sins. Weights are anything that slow us down. We need to recognize what these are and lay them asside so we can run with patience and win the prize of the high calling of God. (See I Corinthians 9:24 and Hebrews 12:1.)
It is one thing to know the importance of having a clear conscience and quite another matter to actually follow through in gaining one. This means contacting all those whom we have offended, acknowledging where we were wrong, and asking them to forgive us. There are certain guidelines that are necessary in order to be effective. This course will explain them.
Guilt is a major cause of stress and disease. It is usually the result of unwise decisions. Every experience we have is filed in the limbic system of our brain. If it is a painful memory it will cause hormonal imbalance, whether we are thinking about it or not. Soon, physical symptoms will develop and require treatment. Drugs will only mask the root problem of guilt.
Adam’s first response to guilt was to blame God and his wife. Blaming is judging, and if we judge another we expose the same root cause in ourselves. If we judge rather than restore, we lack genuine love. Thus, God declares, “For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1).
One of the most powerful ways to help people conquer bitterness is to ask the question: “Why did God let it happen?” There are benefits that can be listed for any “tragedy” that a person goes through. However, in order to identify these benefits we must learn the ways of God so we know what questions to ask. This approach has transformed those who have used it.
This step should also be taken before trying to forgive an offender. When someone damages us we experience negative emotions. By asking God to bless the offender with the positive qualities that he or she is missing, we neutralize the painful emotions and impart the power of God’s grace to change. Thus we are to “bless them which persecute you” (Romans 12:14).
When someone offends us, we must forgive them. However, if he has broken a law, we cannot pardon him. Forgiveness and pardon are distinguished in this study. Forgiveness involves releasing an offender emotionally and choosing to live with the scars. This is what Jesus did for us when He chose to put the scars from His crucifixion back into His resurrected body.
After learning benefits and blessing our offenders, we are ready to go to them. However, we should never tell anyone else about the offense until we have first discussed it privately with our offender. Otherwise, verbal “fires” are started that make reconciliation impossible. Thus Scripture commands, “Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matthew 18:15).
Being ridiculed for doing good is one of the most effective weapons that Satan has to discourage us and get us to “give up.” Jesus stated, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad” (Matthew 5:11–12). Learn what these rewards are that will cause rejoicing.
Human love is totally inadequate to carry out this command, because it is based on receiving love in return. The only way to truly love our enemies is to be a channel of God’s love to them. God’s love meets basic needs without expecting anything in return. We must distinguish two types of enemies: those we have made, and those who are enemies of God. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
The Jews hated the Romans and their law that allowed them to force any boy twelve or older to carry their heavy military pack one mile. Thus, it was a shock when Jesus said, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41). An unexpected reward awaits us on the second mile, which transforms our whole attitude toward our enemy.
Billions of dollars are being spent on organically grown foods, whole grain breads, vitamins, nutrients, and many other food supplements. However, they are of no avail if we have bitterness. Bitterness directly affects our entire digestive tract and causes deadly sicknesses and diseases, including cancer, because the food turns toxic in our system. That is why Solomon said, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith” (Proverbs 15:17).
Why do some people believe that a certain activity is morally wrong, while others argue that it is perfectly acceptable? The answer is revealed in where each person is in the development of reprobation. God identifies three categories of lust and warns that if we have any of them His love is not in us. (See I John 2:15.)
Courtship is asking permission of the girl’s father before winning her affections. It affirms the Biblical right and responsibility of her father to check out the qualifications of the young man. The goal is to get the full blessing of all parents for the pursuit of the daughter, who has the final word on the matter. Many potential marriages have been stopped when the parents learned of moral failure in the fellow’s life.
Scripture warns, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The basis of this guarding will be the vows that we have made for personal purity, the meditation on Scripture, and having the fear of the Lord. The ultimate answer to guarding our heart is to fill it with the commands of Christ. David testifies, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
Jesus promises that if we fast secretly, He will reward us openly. (See Matthew 6:18.) One of the rewards of fasts of three or more days is a decrease in sensual drives. Scripture states, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free” (Isaiah 58:6).
Adam’s temptation was to put his intellect in charge so he could decide for himself what was right and wrong. This resulted in death. When Jesus spoke of denial, He stated, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it” (Luke 9:24). The word life in the Greek is psuche (soul). It is a daily exercise to take our soul off the throne and walk in the Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
God is a Spirit. He has no body. Satan is also a spirit and has no body. They both want our body. Satan wants to destroy it, and God wants to do great works through it. If we do not dedicate it to God, Satan controls it by default. Therefore Paul wrote, “I beseech you . . . that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). The moment that we dedicate our body to God it becomes holy.
Many people try in vain to break bad habits. They are unsuccessful because they are dealing with an “unclean spirit.” We have many accounts in the New Testament of unclean spirits. They exercise power over a person’s mind, will, and emotions. This can be broken only by the power of God. There are also several important steps that a person must take in order to gain and maintain daily victory over sin.
Leaven is almost always used as a symbol of evil. Paul warns that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, every bit of leaven has to be removed from the house. Similarly, we need to cleanse our home of all items that would draw us into sin. We are to “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof ” (Romans 13:14).