Psalms 27:11-14 ESV
“Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”
Teach Me Your Way
What is the way of the Lord? It is not the way that many or most are teaching today, at least here in America. It is the way that Jesus Christ taught when he walked this earth, which is the path of submission, obedience, surrender, and the forsaking of sin, i.e. repentance.
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’” Luke 9:23-26 ESV
The gospel that most are teaching today is centered around self and what they believe Jesus did for us. It is very “me-centered” and not God-centered. It is very flesh-oriented for it does not put sin to death, but it makes provisions for it. And it does not honor Christ as Lord, but self gets to remain on the throne of one’s life.
But the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught was God-centered, and where self is denied, and where sin is put to death. It is not about us getting what we want, our way, but it is about us dying to what we want so that we can walk (live, conduct our lives) in Christ’s way.
It is not freedom from the guilt of sin so that we can go on living in sin, but it is freedom from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now become slaves of Christ’s righteousness, living holy lives pleasing to God in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
It is not about self-fulfillment, but it is about self-denial. It is not about freedom from God’s moral laws, but it is about obedience to his commandments. And, it is not about getting to keep our old lives, but it is about losing our old lives so that the life of Christ can now live in us (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8).
On a Level Path
A level path is the way of uprightness, the narrow way that few travel. It is the only way to God, to salvation from sin, and to eternal life with God. There is no other way. For if we continue living in the flesh, doing what our flesh dictates, and we deny the Lordship of Christ over our lives, we will die in our sin, not live with Christ for eternity (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
This does not mean we will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be master of our lives. It should no longer control what we do. It should no longer determine our steps. We should not walk in it any longer. But now we should walk according to the Spirit of God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
So, if we think that our salvation means we are now free to continue living in sin, and that we don’t have to obey God, repent of sins, or submit to him as Lord, then we need to know that believing that and living that is going to end in death, not in life eternal with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6).
Because of My Enemies
We need to be taught the ways of the Lord, and we need to be led on a level path, because we have an enemy, Satan, who is going to try with all his might to trip us up any which way that he can. And we are going to be tempted to sin against God, so we need to be led on level ground.
And Satan has many humans under his control, and so we are going to have other humans who are going to try to lead us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and who are going to attempt to tempt us to not be so holy, but to be more like them, i.e. what they call “normal.”
We are going to have all kinds of temptations thrown our way, including attempts will be made to tempt us to compromise our faith, to dilute the gospel message, to not confront sin, and to keep silent so as not to offend other people with the truth of the gospel. We will be fought against, falsely accused, belittled, and rejected because of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ.
Give Me Not Up
Jesus told us that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted. And he had leaders and rulers in the temple of God who were attacking him left and right, trying to get him to trip up so they would have cause to accuse him.
So, don’t be surprised if some of your fiercest opponents are those from within the church, and even from among the leadership of the church. For, as they persecuted Jesus, so will they persecute us. For not everyone has faith, although they claim to have faith.
So, we need to pray to the Lord, trust in his sovereignty over our lives, and follow his instructions in his word regarding how we are to respond to such persecution and persecutors, too. We are to love, forgive, not get even, do good to them, and speak words beneficial to them.
And we need to believe God to work it all out for the good of us who love him (obey him) and who have been called of him according to his purpose. And his purpose is that we forsake our sins, obey his commands, and surrender our lives to him as Lord (master) of our lives (Lu 9:23-26).
So, when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and we have people coming against us, attacking us, and trying to bring us down, we need to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and wait on him to work it all out according to his will. And then we need to keep on following Jesus.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!