Help for problems facing parents: The first step is do what God shows you, then he will show you more. Start now. Don’t wait until you understand it all, or can do better.
What is the first step?
“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek (Acts 16:1).
Timothy’s father couldn’t lead his son in the way he should go, because Timothy’s father wasn’t walking in the way he should go himself. The first step is that we line our lives up with the way God would have us to go.
In order to do this, it helps to look back at Adam and Eve. At first, Adam and Eve did everything according to the way God would have them to go. But enter the serpent and the apple. After that, they could never again measure up to God’s plan for them. Neither could their offspring, because their offspring would inherit the flawed nature and pass it on down through the ages to all mankind. Adam and Eve were remorseful, but they were also helpless.
God gave the first glimmer of hope when he promised a Savior for Adam and Eve and all their offspring in a conversation with the serpent:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
–Genesis 3:15, 21
God still cared for Adam and Eve. In his compassion for them, God made coats of skins to cover their shame. But Adam and Eve had spoiled the perfect creation of God.
After that no one could walk totally in the way he should go, but down through the ages God continued to promise a Savior. God revealed more and more about himself and the Savior he would send. God led those who would believe his promise of a Savior in the way they should go. And those who believed were willing to follow God’s leadership.
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). What the Bible says of Abram was true of all those who believed God: God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “father of many nations.” Abraham is the name he is usually known by today.
This promise was renewed over and over to the people God had chosen to spread the good news about the coming Savior–the Jewish race. Finally the Savior arrived. And when He arrived, God had something very special to reveal about the Savior: the Savior was God’s own Son! No one else could qualify.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
But the Bible says His own people, the people who had been given the promise, did not receive the Savior:
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).
This is incredible! First God promised a Savior. Then He sent his own Son as the Savior. But the very people He had been preparing to receive the Savior did not even recognize Him.
The world today for the most part does not recognize the Savior either. Our instinct and our conscience tell us we are missing something, that we are not all we should be. We try to do better. We try to fix our spoiled nature by being religious, by giving to the poor, by participating in ceremonial rituals. But we continue to have this guilty feeling that somehow we are not complete. God sent the Savior to “fix” us, but we don’t even notice.
Still God’s love can not be thwarted. God continues to offer everyone the opportunity to receive the Savior. And those who receive His Son come into God’s family and become God’s very own children. This is more than the prophets could ever imagine!
Today, God still leads those who believe in His Son, the Savior, just as he did before Christ came. And those who believe are willing to follow God’s leadership just as then.
What a great God, to give His own Son for us when we were disobedient to his plan. This thing is bigger than you and I can fathom! We cannot imagine what He has in store for us when we become his own children. The prophet Isaiah knew the prophecy he proclaimed was more than even he could understand:
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).
The Apostle Paul commented on Isaiah’s words:
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
–1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12,14,16
The Bible says it is only as we receive God’s Spirit that we can even begin to understand the magnificence of all of this. The Bible says the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never receive these things because they are foolishness to him.
The first step is to determine not to wait until we understand or until we can do better to get started. It is simply to receive the Savior right now by believing that he died on the cross to pay the price for our sin (going our own way instead of following God). Then we will be willing to follow as God leads us in the way we should go. Only then can we begin to understand. Only with his help can we “do better.”
If you have not already done this, take time right now to tell God that you don’t want to live according to your way any more, but according to the way God would have you go. Tell him you believe in the Savior he has sent, and that you are ready to receive this Savior into your life.
The Scripture quoted above from 1 Corinthians describes the miracle that will happen for you then. You will receive the not only the Savior, but also the Spirit of God. God will begin to help you understand things the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never understand. Things that seemed foolish before will become very precious. Verse 16 says you will actually have the mind of Christ to guide you!
God has provided a way to give a new start to those who will receive the Savior. Talk to him now. Tell him you are ready to receive the Savior and to receive a new start. He wants to become your Savior, and He is waiting for your invitation!
We’ve gathered some materials to help you with this important step. If you have just had this conversation with God, or if you’d like more help, please visit our Seekers page.
Questions for Discussion
- What is involved in getting this to work?
- What is the first step?
Thought to Remember
The first step is to start now. Don’t wait until you understand more, or can do better. God has shown you what to do now. When you do that, he will show you more.
Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted