My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you. I believe I can summarize them to two fundamental commitments.
The first is that the only way to find and enjoy the life God has planned for us is to live by faith and faith alone in Christ and Christ alone. Our confidence must not be in our heritage, our education, our hard work, our abilities, our wisdom, our strategies, our church; it must be in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for every aspect of our lives and ministries. Our confidence must be in the power of His death and resurrection and exaltation as the only power that can save us and set us free to live life to the full. It is the power and reality of Christ living in us that is our hope of glory for this lifetime and for an eternity. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion nor a creed. Our faith must be in Jesus as the only way, truth and life that leads us to the Father and to life in Him. So fall in love with Jesus, bow in total submission to His control, and let Him do whatever He wants to do to make you holy and righteous in the truth just like He is. That is when you will find and enjoy a life to the full that is beyond your wildest imaginations.
The second is that the only way you will ever be able to believe in Jesus and find life to the full in Him is as you dare to believe and live by the truths recorded in the Bible as God’s inspired Word. It is so much easier to follow the paths of modern philosophies or even the latest religious experts. But God the Holy Spirit has orchestrated the writing of this Book as His Masterpiece in a way that it is God’s inspired Word and the only absolute authority for teaching, convicting, correcting, and training in righteousness, so we can be men/women of God who are fully equipped for every good work. However, the ultimate power and purpose of this Book is always to “make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” God has given us this Book to lead us to Jesus and to teach us how to live by faith in Him in such a way that He can save us fully and unleash in us and through us all the power of His death, resurrection and exaltation. And God has sent the Author of this Book actually to live inside of each one of us to help us understand what He wrote. Just as He helped me to find what I needed to face the battles and struggles of my world, so He can help you to find just what you need for whatever you will face in your life and ministry. Dare to live in absolute submission to the truths in this Book, so the Holy Spirit can lead you to Jesus. That’s when Jesus will lead you to life to the full now in this lifetime and for an eternity.
We live in a world that dogmatically asserts that all roads lead to heaven, that there is no absolute truth, that everyone should be free to believe whatever they want, that Jesus is just one of many great thinkers. But God is looking for people who will dare to believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that Jesus is God’s Son and that we find life in Jesus only as we come to Him by the faith defined in this Book. Though I have fumbled and failed many times in my spiritual journey, I am so thrilled with how God in His grace has gently led me to these simple truths that are changing my life so radically – and leading me to a life in Jesus that is so very, very good. And I challenge you to devote your life to discovering and living those same truths that will lead you to enjoy that same life – and to sharing those truths with as many people as you can for as long as you live.
Living by His grace,
Your brother in the Lord, Galen