In Your Head or In Your Heart?

Psalms 119:1-8 ESV

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!”

Do you know that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, are still to walk in the law of the Lord? We don’t have to obey all the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, and purification laws that the Jews of old had to follow, but we are still required to obey the commandments of the Lord which are given to us in the New Testament, and there are plenty of them.

Jesus summarized the law of the Lord into two: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).

And to love God is to obey him, in practice, and it is to not habitually and deliberately sin against him (1 Jn 2:3-6). And to love our neighbors is to not deliberately sin against them, and it is to do them no harm but only good, as God defines “good.” And “love” is to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, morally pure, upright, godly, honest, and faithful.

And if we are seeking God with our whole hearts, we are not chasing after the gods of this world. We are not caught up in what is worldly and in what is of the devil. It doesn’t mean we are perfect people, but that we are walking according to the ways of God and we are no longer walking in the ways of our sinful flesh. Sin is no longer our master. Jesus is our master.

So, if we are walking in the ways of the Lord and not in the ways of the world, we are examining all our thoughts, attitudes, actions, behaviors, and words against the teachings of Scripture to make sure that we are following the ways of the Lord and not the ways of this sinful world. And the Spirit of God should be leading us away from what is sinful to follow holiness.

Sin should no longer be what we practice but righteousness should be what we practice, but not a false righteousness of the flesh nor self-righteousness which comes from the flesh, but the righteousness that comes from God and is taught us in the Scriptures, and which we are to walk in as servants of the Lord and as disciples of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; Rom 8:1-17).

And righteousness is whatever is deemed right in the eyes of the Lord, not in the eyes of man. We cannot generate this righteousness in our own flesh, for it comes from God. But we can walk in it in the power of God as we were designed to do from the very beginning of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And if we don’t, we don’t have God (1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

We cannot take this lightly, either. The walk of faith we are to follow is not something we can do part time or only as it suits us. We can’t live like the world 95% of the time and then try to walk in holiness and righteousness the other 5% of the time. We are either enslaved to sin or we are slaves of righteousness. It is one or the other. It can’t be both (Rom 6:1-23).

We can’t fill our minds with the garbage of the world the vast majority of the time and then have daily quiet times with God by rote and then expect our lives to change to conform to the likeness of Christ. And if this is how you live your life, don’t be surprised if you are still “struggling” with (regularly giving in to) sin and that you are not yet victorious over your sin issues.

We must walk (in conduct, in practice) in the ways of the Lord all the time, not just part of the time, and not just when it suits us. Our eyes and our hearts and our minds are to be fixed on the Lord and on his word and on obeying his word, doing what he says to do, and going wherever he sends us. And if we are doing this, we aren’t going to be liked by many people.

Psalms 119:9-16 ESV

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.”

So, if you are truly desiring of God to keep your way pure, your life has to be surrendered to Jesus Christ full-time, not just part time, and not just as it suits you. You can’t play with sin, either. You can’t live on a teeter-totter bouncing back and forth between living righteously and living wickedly. It doesn’t work that way.

This is not saying that you will never sin, but that sin no longer has control over your life. You are not its slave so that you obey it whenever you are tempted or whenever you are having a bad day, and so you decide to “medicate” yourself to make yourself feel better. True repentance is not this “sin, confess, sin, confess” cycle with no real change, either.

You have to die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness daily in his power and strength, moment by moment, and day by day saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives to the glory of God by God’s grace and in his power. You cannot make room for the devil in your life and walk with God, too.

So, you can’t be feeding your mind with the filth of this world and expect yourself to be able to say “No!” to temptation to sin. You can’t be watching romantic or sexually themed movies or TV shows and expect to not be impacted by them. You can’t be listening to secular music that is all about romance and sex and expect to keep your mind pure, either.

And storing the word of God in our hearts is not just reading it, and it is not just committing it to memory. I have known many people who can memorize Scripture but they don’t live it. Storing the word of God in our hearts comes through a practice of studying the word (in context) and applying it to our daily walks of faith via obedience to what it teaches.

Also, some people are great at declaring the word of God with their lips, but they are not great at applying it to their lives, in practice. And some people love the Scriptures for their historical and literature value. Many people love the sound of the King James Bible, for example. So, they may love quoting it or expounding its truths, but then fail greatly by not putting it into practice.

So, first we must be living the Scriptures, then we should be declaring them according to what we are living, not in theory only. Knowledge, if it is head knowledge only, puffs up. But it is us who do the will of God who God considers righteous (Matt 7:21). So, walk in obedience to the word of the Lord, and then share it with others so that they can walk in it, too.

Days Of Elijah

Artist: Robin Mark
Songwriter: Francis Robert Mark

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days
Of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days
Of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice
In the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Behold He comes
Riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet call
So lift your voice
It’s the year of Jubilee
And out of Zion’s hill
Salvation comes

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