Many books today focus on self-improvement. Everyone wants to change for the better. Americans will spend millions of dollars this year in their search for practical solutions to their problems. Many will move from one fad to another, looking for advice on how to live and for answers to perplexing questions.
Unfortunately, much of the advice being dispensed through television, radio, and print these days is highly unreliable. It is based on popular opinion and current thinking. Therein lies a problem, because today’s “pop psychology” will be discarded next year for a new approach or therapy.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” Lasting freedom from personal hang-ups comes from building our lives on the truth. Only the Bible can be depended on completely to provide truthful insights into the causes and cures for our personal problems. God’s Word has stood the test of time. It is just as relevant and applicable today as it was thousands of years ago. It contains the answers to life’s most difficult questions.
However, it is not enough to simply say, “The Bible is the answer.” It is important for Christians to show how the Bible answers life’s questions. In this book I suggest practical steps and specific actions you can take, based on God’s Word, that will help you cope with the common problems we all face. The great evangelist D. L. Moody once said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.”
When Jesus taught, his intention was that those who listened would “go and do likewise.” He aimed for specific actions and commitments. In each of these twelve studies you will discover simple ways to apply God’s truth to your personal life, your family, other relationships, and your job. The way to get the most out of this book is to act on it!
Why are there so many biographical stories in the Bible? The apostle Paul said, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). God gave us these examples from people’s lives for two reasons.
First, they are given to teach us. It is always wise to learn from our own experiences, but it is even wiser to learn from the experiences of others. It is usually less painful too! By applying the principles illustrated in the lives of Bible characters, we can avoid making some of the same costly mistakes they made.
Second, God gave us these stories to encourage us. We are encouraged by the fact that he chooses to use ordinary people to accomplish his plans—in spite of their weaknesses and failures and sometimes mixed motives. That gives us hope that God can work in our lives also!
It is my prayer that these studies of Bible characters will produce two results in your life: that you will learn God’s principles for successful living, and that you will believe God can use you in a significant way.
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life's Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).