Then I remembered what the Lord had said:
‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
Acts 11:16 (NIV)
As we consider that our faith is a living reality, it helps to remember that God’s great reason for writing us the Bible (which is a book of history) is to guide us through life. Call to mind what Paul said, 1 Corinthians 10:6,11 (NIV)
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did… These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”
What the apostle is saying here is that we need to recall the history of God’s dealings with His people recorded in Scripture. As we see how the Lord dealt with His people in the past, we can compare it to how we are being dealt with now and learn the same lessons the saints did so long ago.
When people come along and try to tell the suffering saint that they must have sin in their lives to be in such sorrow, the tired saint can point to the believers of all ages and give demonstration that God’s children in every time and locality have been in the furnace of affliction.
Then too, we can point out how over and over again Scripture tells us that we are appointed to suffer but not to ultimate wrath from God (eg. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 and 5:9). We feed our faith as we recall the situations in which God’s people suffered long ago and how they overcame even when they were tortured and died for their faith (Hebrews 11:36-40).
Then we have the accounts of God’s people in this dispensation of grace who have gained glory through great tribulation and paid with the price of their lives. Such people as Stephen (Acts 6), Jan Huss (1369-1415), Jim Elliot (1927-1956) and so many more who can inspire us to live for the Lord regardless of the cost to us.
Christian biography can inspire and encourage us greatly in our efforts to live as we should for the Lord. Include this form of reading in your schedule and you will never regret it!
Read the Scriptures, read the lives of saints of the ages, and feed your faith. You will gain much wisdom as you learn of the ways of the Lord with His people. Never forget that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).