Psalm 119:129-131 ESV
“Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.”
The Bible (Genesis to Revelation) is the living breathing word of God to us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It isn’t just a book of history, poetry, prophecy, and biblical instruction, but it is the life-giving words of God to us, the people of God.
The Bible is Jesus’s love letter to his bride, the saints of Almighty God. Through the reading of Scripture, the Holy Spirit speaks God’s words to our hearts today. But by “love” I don’t mean romantic love or only saying “sweet nothings” in our ears to make us feel good about ourselves where we are.
For, (agape) love isn’t based in feelings and emotions. It prefers what God prefers. For the Christian, it means to prefer to live through Christ in holiness, righteousness, godliness, and integrity. It means we prefer truth to lies, and obedience to disobedience, and self-sacrifice to self-gratification.
And, God’s love for us is like the love a good father has for his children. He wants to guard us and to protect us from harm and from the enemy of our souls. He wants to safeguard us from evil, and from giving way to the flesh. And, so he disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness.
And, so he speaks the truth in love to us through the Scriptures. And, he tells us to “get off this way,” and to “follow me in obedience.” And, he instructs us in what ways are bad for us that need to be forsaken, and he teaches and counsels us in the right way that we should go, that is for our good.
So, these aren’t all “feel good” messages. Some of what we read in the Bible are hard truths. Some of them are warnings and rebukes. Some of what we read is graphic, and some of it is hard to understand and to accept. And, some of it will challenge what we were taught early on, and we will have to change what we believed in error in order to believe what is correct.
But, as we read the word of God prayerfully, our Lord will speak to us personally, bringing words of instruction, counsel, healing, and comfort to our hearts. It is like having him right there with us in person, sitting beside us, talking to us, and us being able to respond verbally to what he is saying. And, we will grow to love the word of the Lord as we love God himself.
Psalm 119:132-134 ESV
“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, so we can walk with Christ in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
But we still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin, and we will still be tempted to sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2; 1 Co. 10:13).
But, in Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, he put sin to death. He delivered us from our slavery to sin that we might now be slaves of him and of his righteousness. So, we have the empowerment of the Spirit of God living within us to keep us from sin if we will yield control of our lives over to the Lord, and if we will listen to him and do what he says.
No follower of Jesus Christ should still be living in sin, walking in it, and “struggling” with sinful addiction. The Scriptures teach, in fact, that we are all slaves to the one we obey. If we obey sin, it leads to death. If we obey obedience, it leads to righteousness. We can’t serve two masters.
So, we must resist the devil, flee temptation, and draw near to God. We must put on the armor of God which God supplied that we might fight off Satan’s evil schemes and his evil attacks against us. And, we must take the way of escape that our Lord provided for us out from under the temptation to sin. And, please know this: If we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the cravings of the flesh (Gal. 5:16; cf. Eph. 6:10-20).
And, this really is the bottom line here. We must take that way of escape Jesus provided for us and we must walk by the Spirit, and we will not gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. But if we play with fire, we are going to get burned, sure as anything. You can’t play with temptation to sin.
Psalm 119:135-136 ESV
“Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.”
Do you weep over your own sins? Know this. If our sorrow is genuine, it should lead to repentance. If it is not genuine, it will lead to more sin.
Now I am not saying that a truly repentant believer in Jesus will never sin again. That is certainly the goal, but it is still possible to sin. But a true follower of Christ should no longer be living in sin. Sin should not be what he practices. It should not be his “go to,” his habit. It should be the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.
But here is another thing here. If we are truly repentant, and if we are now walking in the ways of the Lord, and if he is truly our Lord, and if we are in intimate fellowship with him daily, what grieves him should grieve us. We should feel what he feels. So, when we see people caught in sin, it should bring us to tears. And, we should weep over them, and we should plead with God for their salvation from sin and from hell.
If it doesn’t bother us at all that our loved ones are bound in sin and headed for hell, that should disturb us. We should wonder why we feel no compassion for them and no concern for their lost souls. It should concern us that we are so nonchalant about their bondage to sin.
I believe too many Christians have become desensitized to sin and have been programmed to say to people only what is pleasing to them and to not make waves. And, they have been instructed to “stay in your own lane,” etc. And, they have accepted the lies that say we are not to confront people with sin, but we are to just make them feel good about themselves.
But we need to get back to the place, as the people of God, to where we truly weep over the sins of this world, and especially over the fact that so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are still living in bondage to sin and are not truly seeking the way out that Jesus provided.
And, then maybe we will be compelled of the Spirit of God to tell people about the gospel of their salvation so that they can turn away from sin and turn to the Lord to follow him in obedience to his ways.
Light the Fire
Songwriter: Curtis Matthew Kirkwood
I stand to praise You
But I fall on my knees
My spirit is willing
But my flesh is so weak
Light the fire
In my soul
Fan the flame
Make me whole
Lord, You know
Just where I’ve been
So light the fire
In my heart again
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