Friday, October 19, 2012
Today’s Topic: Determined To Do It
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:1-8 (ESV)
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. 8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
Determination: we all know what that is, and we even have it in many areas of our lives. We are determined to make the most of life. We are determined to take a well-deserved vacation. We are determined to get ahead. We are determined to get the job done.
If only that kind of determination was being experienced in our spiritual lives. For some of you it is, but for far too many of us it just doesn’t seem to be there. We read our Bibles, pray, worship and praise when things are good, but let there be a little trouble and we run in retreat and slumber in self-pity. Our true heart is revealed in such times as we seek to take control and fulfill our own objectives for our own good. We are determined to protect ourselves when we could be determined to let God protect us.
Many of us tend to read the Bible with such self-serving motives. About the only thing we have really determined in our hearts is that the Word of God is just another of the viable options on the table. We read it for information only so later we can make what we consider to be a wise choice when it is compared with the other options available. The only real determination we have is that we are determined to run life our way.
That must change if we hope to have any blessing from God and stability to life. The prerequisite to living a full and abundant life of peace and freedom is to enter into the reading of God’s Word with a determination that whatever it says will be obeyed explicitly and exclusively. God’s Word is not one of many entrées on the buffet of life, but rather is the only item on life’s menu.
I am beginning today a study of the one-hundred-nineteenth Psalm, taking one section each day. I am doing this in my own personal life because I need to find strength for the days ahead from the only Source of lasting strength. I chose this portion of sacred Scripture because of its affirmation of the beauty and authority of God’s Word.
As I started studying the first eight verses I was immediately overwhelmed with the truth of determination. Before any promises other than blessing are given by God for our benefit, the Psalmist makes clear that he is already determined to do whatever it is that God says. He emphasizes that he is determined to be steadfast and walk only in the ways of the Lord. He is determined to be obedient. Only then does he discover the reward for such determination – freedom from shame and the constant presence of God in his life.
Please understand this clearly – the Lord God Almighty is offended by our attempts to claim His presence in our lives when while we pick and choose which parts of His Word to obey. He will turn us over to the natural consequences of our choices. It will appear to us that He has forsaken us, but that is not the case, for He cannot and will not forsake His children. He is simply honoring our choices, while waiting with open arms to receive back into fellowship the one who repents and again determines to be obedient.
Determination: it is to be the foundation of the study of God’s Word. I am determined that whatever God says I will do. Could it mean rejection by the people of the world? Probably. Could it mean public disgrace in the eyes of those who serve self in the world? Possibly. Could it mean humiliation? Hopefully, because it is in humiliation that the power of Christ’s Presence is discovered. You see, the guarantee of God is that the one who is determined to obey at all cost is the one who will never be put to shame. That’s because there is no shame in the truth. Shame is always the product of hypocrisy. The inconsistent heart is the fertile soil in which the seed of shame grows. But where there is truth and the consistent, steadfast, and determined obedience to it, there can be no shame.
I am determined, from this day forward, to be blameless; to walk in the way of the Lord; to keep His testimonies and seek Him with my whole heart; to do no wrong; to be steadfast in keeping God’s statutes; and to praise Him with an upright heart as He corrects me when I need it. I am determined!