Lesson 1 -- third quarter 2002
June 2, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
What is your focus?
I had a good day yesterday. I didn't hit anybody. I don't recall thinking evil of anyone; I know for sure I didn't curse or speak evil of anybody. Let me see. Oh yes. I didn't steal, kill, or treat anyone in a mean-spirited way. Be assured that I could go on an on with all the bad I did not do yesterday. I suppose I could be quite satisfied with myself. Wouldn't you feel likewise?!
Now look at my question again. Should avoiding evil be the focus of our lives? Yes, to a certain extent, it should be. However, in considering the lesson text, I suspect that the first verse results from the second verse. In other words, when we keep our focus on God and His precepts, we naturally will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Neither will we stand in the way of sinners. Nor will we sit in the seat of the scornful.
Furthermore, this God-ward focus will nourish our lives to the point of being attractive ("his leaf also shall not wither") and productive ("that bringeth forth his fruit in his season . . . whatsoever he doeth shall prosper").
So back to my day yesterday. I said I had a good day because of all the bad things I didn't do. But I fell short, way short, of verse two. I read a Bible passage in the morning alone and another one in the evening with my family. But the delighting and meditating parts somehow got shelved. Small wonder my inward man gets to feeling malnourished and withered! (So much for that self-satisfaction at the evil I left undone.)
To close this section, consider this fresh challenge that just came to me in the last few minutes. Some say it is impractical and unrealistic to meditate on God's Word through the day. As logical and reasonable as that may seem, and as much as I may like that perspective, something is askew with it. I say that because I just realized that I can spend significant chunks of thought time rehearsing, reviewing, and rehashing some gripe or grief I have against some other individual. In other words, that offense and its accompanying feelings become my focus, my meditation. Somebody tell me, then, why it is "impractical and unrealistic" to focus and meditate on God's Word through the day!
Why should God's Word be my focus?
After considering the positive effects given in Psalm 1:3, surely this must be a strange question. And yet many Christians resent being challenged to immerse themselves more in God's Word each day. They make statements such as "Don't try to put me on a guilt trip" or "Don't be so legalistic" or "Get real!" And you know what? They just might have a valid complaint. God doesn't want anyone to live the Christian life by force. He wants us to live His life because we love Him and because we want to please Him. You see, He wants us, not just our attention and our obedience. He wants us to focus on His Word and meditate on it because we love Him and want to know Him better. He wants to be the focal point of our lives because He wants to better our lives.
Think of all the times your mind, will, and emotions have functioned in ways that were frustrating and maddening to you. Think of the times you have wished for greater wisdom and perception. Think of the times you have felt bitter, discouraged, and bleak. Think of the times you have felt guilty, defeated, and unclean. My friend, God wants to better our lives in all these areas! Reread Psalm 19:7-9 for His own assurance about this.
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