Lesson 11 -- third quarter 1996
August 11, 1996
Whether young person or old person or in-between person (like me!), we all have sinned. We all fail. We all crash far short of perfection. We all have stained the slate of our lives. We all have smudged our consciences. We all have befouled our minds and spirits. We yearn for cleansing. According to Psalm 119:9, obedience to God's Word brings cleansing and purification. Consider the following verse fragments in this context: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul" (Psalm 19:7). "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3). "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). So is this all I need to do: obey God's Word? That is all. But it includes more than you might think. Ponder Psalm 119:101 -- "I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."
Sin attacks us on every side. Even when we purpose to obey the Word. Even when we purpose to avoid every evil way. Temptations entice us all around. Shall we close our eyes, plug our ears and blank our minds? Shall we sit in a dark closet all day, listening to taped messages and Scripture readings? Shall we go live by ourselves in some remote corner of the planet? Verse 11 has a better approach -- "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Do you have verses handy when covetousness attacks? Do you have some Biblical antidotes for lust, envy, pride, anger, bitterness, partiality and impatience? Therein lies the key to spiritual survival and success.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45).Freedom -- the world wants it. Submission and obedience -- the world doesn't want to exercise them. The world tries to find freedom through the expression of its rights. And instead finds bondage. My friend, avoid that trap. May we never forget that the truly free are those who happily submit and obey. And herein we come to yet another blessing of God's Word in our lives -- "And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts" (Psalm 119:45).
"The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:31).
"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee" (Proverbs 2:10,11).
Since God's Word is of such blessing and benefit to us, why do we find it so difficult to live with and live by? Why is Bible reading, study, meditation and memorization such a chore for us? Why do we so readily neglect and forget it? Why does it not hold a more prominent and important place in our experience? What a frustration! Well, I think these all have a very simple answer: spiritual warfare. Our flesh wars against our spirit. The devil wars against us. The world distracts us. It's a war...and we aren't always on a war footing! So let's do what everybody is supposed to do in a war -- fight! And in this daily fight, remember to lean heavily on the Lord: "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments" (Psalm 119:10).