QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
What advice would you give a new convert to help him in his Christian life?
1. Pray daily.
2. Read God’s Word daily.
3. Attend church services faithfully.
4. Witness to others.
I have never known of a person backsliding who did these four things.
How does a person overcome temptation?
The Bible says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Be diligent about being filled with the good, and you won’t have room for the evil. Three good ways to overcome temptation are:
1. Through the Holy Spirit’s power (Zech. 4:6; John 16:13). 2. Through prayer (Matt. 26:41).
3. Through the Word of God (Ps. 119:11).
A person should not deliberately throw himself into the path of temptation. However, when temptation comes we have the assurance that we can overcome, even as Jesus did (I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 2:18; 4:15).
How can a person tell whether he has sinned and therefore broken contact with God or has just made a mistake and is therefore not backslidden?
The difference between a mistake and sin is that sin means a willful act has been committed against God’s known will, whereas a mistake is involuntary. Many times new Christians are confused at this point, but keep this in mind — if you sin, you know it, and you knew it before you did it. Else it was not a sin; it was a mistake.
When a person feels that he has made a mistake (not willfully sinned), what should he do?
Don’t brush it aside. Pray about it. Do something about correcting it. But don’t let the devil trick you into “throwing up your hands” and quitting. You are human and will make mistakes as long as you have a human body in which to make them.
How may a person know it is the Lord speaking to him and not the devil?
Someone has given us the following four-point test to determine where an impression comes from: (1) Is it scriptural? (2) Is it right? (3) Is it providential? (4) Is it reasonable? If we can answer, “Yes,” to all of these, then most likely it is of God.
How can a person have joy?
There are three ways to find Christian joy: (1) Seek to be a deep Christian, sanctified and “growing in grace” (John 17:13); (2) Study God’s Word (I John 1:4); (3) Pray (John 16:24). If we are diligent and earnest in these, we will have joy as a by-product.
Is it an indication of personal sin when a Christian suffers?
No. There are three sources of troubles for God’s people: (1) The devil tempts. (2) The Lord tries. (3) Satan-inspired people persecute. None of these is a matter of personal sin. It was said of Job, in spite of all his trials, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Jesus pronounced blessing on us “when men shall revile . . . persecute . . . and say all manner of evil against” us falsely, for His sake (Matt. 5:11). Some of the saintliest people have had to suffer great physical pain (II Cor. 12:7-10).
How can I better understand the Bible?
Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13, italics mine). Many have testified to a new love for and a new understanding of the Bible when the Holy Spirit came in.
What is meant by the term "walking in the light"?
Spiritual light may be defined as “the revelation of God’s will to the human heart.” To walk in the light is to do that which God reveals to us as His will. It simply means minding God. One word sums it up: “obedience.”
If a person has doubts, is this proof that he is not right with God?
Not necessarily so. The temptation to doubt and actual doubt are two different things. John the Baptist, while in prison, sent word to Jesus, for whom he had been the forerunner, saying, “Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” Jesus was very patient and understanding in the answer He sent back to John, and did not imply that John had committed sin (Luke 7:22-23). Doubt may come from the devil, and should be resisted, or it may come from the fact that one is not in right relationship with God. Each individual must decide for himself which source his doubt comes from and react accordingly.
When a person realizes that he has sinned, what should he do?
Go immediately to God in prayer. Dr. F. B. Meyer used to talk about “keeping short accounts with God.” Don’t let the sin get you down or keep you down. You don’t have to wait until the next altar service at the church. Settle it right on the spot. I John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” But he goes on to say, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” God is not waiting over you with a club ready to beat you over the head when you fall, He is merciful and will forgive “seventy times seven.” As soon as you realize you have failed, go to God with this failure — immediately.
Does a person have to "feel good" all the time in order to be assured that he is saved?
No! Our feelings come and go, and are influenced by such factors as how much sleep we get, the food we eat, and our general physical condition. But we are saved by faith, and not by feeling (Eph. 2:8). Say with the poet, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Yes, there is feeling in salvation, but this is not our only way of knowing we are saved. Keep trusting God and His Word even when you don’t feel like it. As you “live by faith” the “feeling” will come in due time.
How does one know when he has a call to preach, or to some other full-time Christian service?
God has various ways of letting us know. With some it is a direct, clear, and distinct moment when they feel God speaking to them. With others it is an inner urge, or a deepening conviction that this is the will of God for their lives. This persuasion lingers with them till they say, “Yes.”
What is the difference between evil thoughts and thoughts of evil?
A thought of evil may flash through the mind of a person as a matter of temptation. This is not sin. The Bible says that Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Sin enters in when a person harbors an evil thought in his mind, continues to think on it and plan how he will carry through with the wicked intention. “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head [thoughts of evil], but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair [evil thoughts].”
What scriptures would you suggest for a person to read who is going through a severe physical and financial trial?
Psalms 27; 37; and 91; also John 14.