My wife and I recently completed an updating of our last will and testament. We created a will early in our marriage because were concerned for our future. But now it was time to remember what mattered to us in the stewardship of who we are and why we live this way. Part of our will includes instructions for the handling of our estate. It also communicates what our two children will inherit on news of our death.
Read Acts 20:32.
In the Old Testament, inheritance benefits were pretty rich for the first born, but the conditions were often really restrictive. When God created the New Testament, He exchanged a system of laws that were virtually impossible to keep for one based on grace. This opportunity would be given out as favor you cannot earn, deserve, or have to work for. As you put your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus, you receive in return standing, status, or salvation, that is freely given.
When I started following Jesus as a college student in the 1970’s, I learned the value of the Scriptures in my growth and pursuit of God. Doug Smith (or Smitty), one of my baseball teammates helped me realize that I was personally named in the New Testament. Smitty showed me where it’s said in John 3:16 that “whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Wow, I discovered I am a whosoever! That information made the Bible become a real source of joy and identity. I found I could learn a lot about who I was from Scripture.
I recognized my salvation, as tremendous and glorious as it was, was only a starting point of my journey. Who am I? Where am I going? What was God’s will for me? What sort of inheritance do I have in Christ? These and many other questions had answers I could find. Smitty helped me see and learn that the disciplines of searching the Scriptures, standing on the Scriptures (i.e., the promises of God – a great hymn sung often at New Life Assembly of God in Athens, Ohio), and speaking the Scriptures in my daily life were steps to a deeper faith and experience of God.
I learned that praying the Scriptures was like going to a bank for a withdrawal of certainty. One of my Sunday school teachers said, “It’s like saying the check is made out to me, but it is issued and endorsed by the work of Christ on the cross. You can cash it because God’s Word is faithful and you can depend on the more than 5,000 promises of God in the Bible.”
Smitty used the analogy that too many Christians live life and die without every accessing their heavenly account. He had me memorize 1 Peter 1:3-5 and 2 Peter 1:3-12 so I would understand my inheritance in Christ and not be ignorant of the resources God makes available to me.
He taught me to pray: “Father, it seems that the last will and testament of Jesus names me personally. It says that I belong to Him, all my needs will be met, my steps will be directed, my sicknesses will be healed, and that you have gifted me to play a part in building Your Church by making disciples of Yours…all by your Holy Spirit’s empowerment.”
Smitty also helped me learn early on that is why Satan does not want me to read and know my Bible. Grow devotionally. You are named in God’s Will. Part of our holy habit of reading Scripture is to know and understand our inheritance in Christ. Memorize the passages in 1 and 2 Peter I mentioned. Paul said in Acts 20:32: “The word…which can…give you an inheritance.”
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz