I believe it would be impossible to be content in whatever state we are in (Phil. 4:11) without the knowledge and assurance of the promises of the Lord. Without these there would be no optimistic outlook, there would be nothing to look forward to, there would be no assurance of hope.
Herein I believe again is why we meet so many who profess a faith in Christ but show little ambition to walk through that door of death to meet Him, they have not studied the Word of God diligently, but have only a cursory knowledge of the Scriptures. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Not just the saving grace available to all who will call upon the Lord (Romans 10:13) but the growth and knowledge that comes from reading, studying, contemplating, memorizing and applying the Word of God in our lives, all covered with fervent prayers that the Almighty would reveal more of Himself to us each day.
I have lost track of the amount of times I have heard preachers beg those in their congregations to begin to read their Bibles, but I cannot recall even once a pastor standing behind the pulpit on Sunday morning, pointing to an individual, asking them to stand and tell those in attendance what they were reading in their Bible that week, and what the Lord revealed to them from His written word. That would seem impolite, rude, too forward and even judgmental.
Most are not ready to give an account of their faith (1 Peter 3:15) in front of those they call their brothers and sisters in Christ, so we should not expect them to be witnesses to the world, much less effectual ones. They do not study, and so when called upon, they are embarrassed and instead of attempting to make disciples of those in the assembly, pastors are happy that at least some of the pews have people in them. If you put them on the spot, so to speak, they may not return, or they may find a different pastor, one who is more proficient in tickling their ears. (2 Tim. 4:3)
Most churches are no more than “make me feel better about myself” places, a happy message with just the most minor hint of conviction, songs with words of worship and praise that are not laid in the heart, money put in the plate, usually the leftovers, or exactly ten percent, and not one percent more, prayers with no heart of worship, thanksgiving or supplication in tears behind them. But they feel better because at least they were there on Sunday morning.
And not only do they feel better about themselves, but there is that hint of pride within them that they are better, at least better than those who do not attend their “worship” services. It is called vainglory, and it lifts the hearer up above those “out there,” it makes them closer to God. They are loved by the Lord because they do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, (Heb. 10:25) because they attend the midweek Bible study, even if all they do is sit there attentively and not say one word.
If it was up to them, they would be welcomed in heaven, but it isn’t up to them, is it.
Those who have a personal relationship with the Lord are hard to miss, they have difficulty not speaking about Him, they are always quoting some Scripture verse, they see hope where others see fear, they love their neighbors and reach out to them for the glory of God, and you know what? Some of them don’t even go to church.