Ask Your Preacher
How long does God expect for you to help someone who is doing very little to help himself? This person also puts a huge guilt trip on me… saying that he will commit suicide, be homeless, and get on drugs if I make him take care of himself. What does God expect of me? I want to do right by my Savior.
Dear Feeling Conned,
The Bible says that there is a balance between helping people and enabling laziness and other sinful behavior. For example, God says that if someone won’t work, the cure is that they shouldn’t eat either (2 Thess 3:10). God commands us to not let people “mooch” off of us because that is just helping them to continue to sin.
Don’t get us wrong; God also says that it is very important that we help carry one another’s burdens in Gal 6:2. However, just three verses down in Gal 6:5, it says that everyone must also be ready to carry their own burdens. The point is this – we should ALWAYS help those who want to succeed, but when someone is unwilling to even try and carry their own weight… you can’t drag them to success.
Can I pray for the devil’s death?
We should pray for things until God gives us a clear and definitive answer. Before we stop to pray for something, we must always stop to read what God has to say first (Eccl 5:1). After all, no matter what we want, God’s will should come first (Matt 6:10).
In the case of the devil, God says that He has already reserved a place for him and his angels (2 Pet 2:4). God has already decided that the devil will be cast forever into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). However, God has also decided that He will be patient and wait for just the right time to judge the devil, his angels, and all mankind (2 Pet 3:9-10).
I have a friend who is constantly asking why God didn't make us perfect in the first place since He knew we would fall. I've tried to explain His love in giving us free will, but she can't accept or understand that.
I've always known He created us for His glory, and giving us free will allows us an opportunity to do that by choosing His will for our lives. I just don't know how to relate to my friend in a way that she understands and accepts. Got any suggestions?
Dear Fumbling Friend,
You might try talking about the definition of ‘perfect’ with your friend. ‘Perfect’ means ‘complete’ or ‘having all the desirable and required elements’. Perfect doesn’t mean that something can’t be broken or fail. A car engine can be in perfect condition, and yet, if you don’t put oil in it – it will break. A house can be perfectly constructed and still be destroyed by an earthquake. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them without defect (Gen 1:31). They were made exactly as He intended them – in His image (Gen 1:26). Adam and Eve were designed with eternal souls and the ability to choose their own destiny. They were perfectly designed with the free will to choose to love God or to choose to rebel against Him. In fact, if mankind were designed so that it would be impossible for them to sin – they wouldn’t have free will. God has given us the great gift of choice, and it is up to us what we do with it (Deut 30:19). God could have made us without the freedom to choose, but then we wouldn’t be “in His image”… we would be automatons. If every parent had the choice between having a child that may break their heart or purchasing a robot that would obey their every command… well, the choice is obvious. A robot is no replacement for a child.
Who or what are the sons of God in Genesis 6? I’m not sure if they are literal, as in someone like Jesus, or figurative. Please help; I'm not understanding this very well.
Dear Guess Who,
The sons of God referred to in Gen 6:2 are mortal men. This language seems confusing at first, but it is perfectly scriptural to refer to mankind as ‘sons and daughters of God’. In fact, Jesus mentions that we are all sons of God (Jhn 10:34-36). Gal 3:26 refers to christians as children of God. Humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and that makes Him our Father (Eph 4:6). Gen 6:2 is simply stating that men married women, had children, and populated the earth.
How do I get into the Bible and how do I read the Bible?
Starting To Study
Dear Starting To Study,
The key to any kind of worship or Bible study is to make it a regular habit. Daniel had a habit of praying (Dan 6:10). Make a decision to put Bible study into your day first (Matt 6:33) and schedule other things around it. Most people fail to study their Bibles because it isn’t a part of their regular life. Make it a part of your morning routine, your lunch break, or bedtime ritual. Somehow schedule it into your life and make it a habit.
After you do that, it is just a matter of what you want to learn first. Many people read a Psalm a day, a chapter of Proverbs each week, or use a ‘read the Bible in a year program’, or you grab one of those five things you want to look at and read away. Any of these is a perfectly acceptable system. In fact, you can buy Bibles that are organized, so that you read a little of the Old Testament and a little of the New Testament every day. For new Bible students, I often recommend reading the gospel of Matthew or the gospel of John first, so that you become acquainted with Christ’s life; then follow that up with the book of Acts and familiarize yourself with the first century church.
The goal is to study your Bible, not just read it. God tells us to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) and to meditate upon God’s Word (Ps 119:15). You could read through an entire book of the Bible in an hour or so but fail to appreciate any of it. Read your Bible with a notepad beside you and a pen or highlighter in hand. Write down your questions and get them answered. Highlight meaningful verses. If you don’t understand something, don’t move on until you do. It is more important that you understand than that you read a large portion of text. And lastly, enjoy your Bible reading time; you are reading the most influential and meaningful book on the planet!