Thursday, February 23, 2017

Falling in Love With God’s Word

“The greatest need in the church today is for God’s people to fall in love with His word.”
“The greatest need in the church today is for God’s people to fall in love with His Word.”

Most folks are familiar with the King James Version of the Bible that was published in 1611. It was truly a “world-changing” book as it brought God’s Word into the common language.
Around the same time, in 1602 in Spain, Cipriano de Valera revised the 1569 translation into Spanish by Casiodoro de Reina and it is as much of a mainstay to the Spanish-speaking world as the KJV is the English-speaking world. The Reina-Valera translation was known as “La Biblia del Oso” or “The Bible of the Bear” because the title page showed a picture of a bear trying to reach a container of honeycombs hanging from a tree. This picture perfectly captured the desire of believers for the Word of God.

Throughout history, many have struggled and even died for their passion for God’s Word. Governments have banned it. Political machinery has burned it. Popular opinion has said it’s old-fashioned and outmoded. Political correctness has said it’s mean spirited and intolerant. But it’s still the only thing that brings peace in the midst of the storm, that quiets the savage heart, that expresses the loving feelings of a loving God for His highest creation. We need to fall in love with God’s Word!

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, and it has a lot to say about God’s word. It contains many verses, but I’m going to focus on just five examples from that Psalm of how a love for God’s word can help us.

IT GIVES US A CLEAR MIND.

Ps. 119:97 says, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” What we love, we love to think about. So often, we seem to struggle with clouded thinking. We have a hard time making decisions and can be overwhelmed by options. Some might even feel like they’re sinking, struggling with depression, or wandering about lacking direction. All this is directly traceable to the battleground for our souls: the mind!

In Rom 8:6 Paul shows that the mind can go either way, the flesh or the Spirit! In 2 Cor. 4:4 he shows that Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving. That’s why it’s so important that we grasp the truth of Rom 12:2 where it says we need to be renewed in our mind, then we’ll understand what the will of God is.

The promise of the peace of God guarding our mind is wonderful. Phil 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” But we need to continue renewing our minds. That’s why Ps 119:97 is so important. To keep that clear mind, we have to LOVE God’s word.

IT KEEPS US FROM BEING DOUBLE-MINDED.

Psalm 119:113 says, “I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Thy law.” Double-mindedness (or divided allegiances) can be a major problem in the life of the believer. It’s a sign of a carnal, weak, immature believer, one who has made allegiances to more than one cause. Jesus articulated this truth in Matt. 6:24. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…” It’s very plain. You cannot serve two masters. But some try!

In 2 Tim. 2:4 Paul speaks of enlisted soldiers and their need to not be entangled with the things of the world so that they can please their superior officers. We need to watch out for entanglements. The more we love the law of God, the more watchful we shall be, to make sure we’re not drawn from what we love.

IT KEEPS US FROM FALSEHOOD.

Psalm 119:163 says, “I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Thy law.” One of the biggest problems in life is lying. It’s one of the Big Ten Sins (aka, “The Ten Commandments”)! It is such a significant issue that God included it in the ten most important areas of our lives that need watching over. Many people struggle with it… and unfortunately, some have become so callous and accustomed to lying that it doesn’t even bother them anymore.

But God HATES lying! The scriptures are full of reminders about this. (Ps 5:6; 101:7; Prov. 6:16-19; 12:22; Rev 21:27) If you recall, the first time God dealt with sin in the New Testament church in a big way was regarding THIS sin (re: Ananias & Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11). Paul warned the church about this area. (Col. 3:9) One way to stay away from this danger zone is to LOVE God’s word!

IT GIVES US GREAT PEACE.

Psalm 119:165a says, “Those who love Thy law have great peace...” One of man’s greatest needs is peace. We can live without many things, but we go crazy if we can’t find some peace and quiet every now and then. (Am I the only one who has “Calgon, take me away!” moments? Or even remembers the commercial?) But those who love God’s word have an inner peace that others often don’t understand.

Phil 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is what Corrie ten Boom had in the concentration camps of WWII. This is what Richard Wurmbrand had when he was tortured for Christ in a Romanian prison. This is what the Christian martyrs down through the ages have had as their cornerstone. This is what we need, when making decision, with faced with difficult circumstances, when sailing uncharted waters. It’s promised us in God’s word!!!

IT KEEPS US FROM STUMBLING.

We already looked at the first part of this verse, but here’s Psalm 119:165 in its entirety: “Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.” One of the biggest fears of new believers is, “What if I stumble?” That reminds me of the song by DCTalk of the same name, “What If I Stumble.” It speaks of a desire for holiness and the concern about letting down the people who are watching us. It’s a legitimate concern.

The good news for us is that even if we stumble, we will not fall. Speaking of the righteous man who loves God’s law, David writes, “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him in His hand.” (Ps 37:24 NIV) And the wisest man in the world (before Jesus) said “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” (Prov 24:16 NIV) This is the power of God’s Word in our lives - it keeps us from falling and picks us up when we stumble! In fact, Jesus’ brother, Jude, actually wrote that God is able to to keep you from stumbling…” (Jude 1:24 NASB) If you love God’s word, you are stumble-free!

FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD’S WORD … AGAIN!

If you’re not already making God’s word a daily part of your life, why not start to change that right now? If you’ve been following my blog or some of what I’ve been sharing on Facebook, you know that I’m a big advocate of YouVersion’s devotional reading plans. They’re an easy way to pick up a very positive habit! You don’t have to commit to reading the Bible 7 hours a day! Start out with a small sampling. Find something that speaks to you. Savor it. Enjoy it. And keep coming back for more!

Sometimes you just have to do it! You have to take the first step. Make a choice, from this day forward, you’re going to LOVE God’s word!
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