Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simple Truths

I have never been a big reader. This is generally not a good thing because there is so much wisdom to be gained through God's Word and through godly men and women that have gone before us. One of the struggles that I always face when reading something new is, "Should I continue reading even if I've read more than I can apply right now?" I am fearful of listening to truth and it not penetrating my heart. The truth that doesn't penetrate my heart will tend to make my heart harder. Any truth rejected is yet another barrier to tear down. I have come to the conclusion that it is good to continue reading because those truths will come to mind at the right times when I really need to be applying them. At the same time, I do not want to ignore the danger of hearing truth and not responding in full obedience to it. I was reading tonight in Psalm 33 and thinking about how the simple truths within it have such a huge impact on how I live.

Here are just a few phrases from Psalm 33:
The Word of the Lord is upright.

All His work is done in faithfulness.

Let all the earth fear the Lord.

The counsel of the Lord stands forever.

He sees all the sons of men.

He fashions the hearts of them all.

He understands all their works.

The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him.

He is our help and our shield.
It kind of scares me to read a passage like this. Yes, I rejoice very much in the character of God as described here, but it scares me that I could potentially read these things and ignore the impact that they must have on my heart. Let's just look at the first few for example.

The Word of the Lord is upright: If I truly believe that God's Word is right in every way, I must submit my every thought, attitude and action to His instruction within it. How does this change the way I read the Word?

All His work is done in faithfulness: If He is completely faithful and He is in the process of conforming me into the image of His Son, I must be fully faithful. This also means that I have no excuse. He has never failed at acoomplishing His work and He has never been slow in doing it. He is the perfect Father, the perfect Shepherd, the perfect High Priest, the perfect Sacrifice, the perfect Judge. He does all these things with complete faithfulness and He calls me to be filled with the Spirit and faithfulnes is one of the fruits of the Spirit's work inside me. How ought this to impact how I treat my coworkers? How should this impact the way I treat my family? How does this impact the words I say to friends? How does this change my level of commitment to the Lord and His ways? How does this effect my view of sin? How does this change the way I love the Lord?

Let all the earth fear the Lord: This command is to me and to everyone else, but I would do well to take responibility for fearing Him as I ought before attempting to get the whole world to do so lest I fall in the category of one that has cleaned the outside of the cup and still has an inside full of filth. Am I truly living in the fear of the Lord and is this causing my heart to worship Him more, or am I living in the fear of man and doing things to please men rather than God? Do I understand His power enough to flee from any kind of sin at all costs? Do I honor Him in front of my boss, my coworkers, my friends, my family? Am I continually obedient and submissiveto His ways because of my understanding and reverence of Him and the glory He deserves?

I think you can get the picture why it is a bit scary for me to just read a chapter like Psalm 33. The natural tendency is just to move on and check off the chapter as being read, but unless God changes my heart with these things, is it profitable?

God, help me to take Your Word seriously. Use it to cut to the depths of my heart and turn me to fear You as I ought. Turn my heart from any fear of man so that I would serve You without hesitancy. Purify my heart. Teach me to be an effectual doer of the Word and not just a hearer. Guard me from hardness of heart in hearing truth and not applying it. Unite my heart to fear Your name.

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