Will You Take the Challenge in 2008?
As I thought about the first article of 2008, I could not think of a more appropriate way to begin this year than making a challenge to all of God’s men. Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Let’s look at these two verses and discover some truths that we need to live out every day.
Let’s look at the phrase “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving souls.” I know some of you are saying to yourselves “I am not saved under the law; I am redeemed under the new covenant, the blood of Jesus Christ.” If that is your testimony then I say hallelujah and Amen! This passage of scripture happens to be referring to the collective law which is the Word of God. This Word defines the one and only way to bridge the gap created by sin to return to the Heavenly Father. Some translations use the word “instruction” in place of “law” which gives us an understanding of God’s purpose and intent for giving us His Word. Romans 6:1-4 tells us “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Only God can take a man who is spiritually dead and give him a new life through Christ Jesus! God’s “instruction” revives souls.
The next phrase is “the statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making the wise simple.” Let’s define statutes as a “permanent rule.” God’s permanent rules give men the knowledge and understanding of how God desires them to think and conduct themselves. Only our right relationship with Him can give us the right thinking that goes hand-in-hand with the right believing. God can transform our simple minds into thinking His thoughts and His desires for our lives. We can absolutely trust in what God has given us through His Word, through the Holy Spirit and through our relationship with Him. God’s man cultivates this relationship on a daily basis.
“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” is the next phrase. The dictionary defines precepts as “a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action.” I see so many men claiming to be God’s man living out their lives with no joy at all. I firmly believe the reason these men do not experience joy in their life is they do not understand this phrase. You see, it is when we live our lives by God’s precepts and not the standards of the world that we can find true joy. Far too many of us men are trying to satisfy the world’s definition of happiness and in the process lose sight of the joy that God’s man can experience by simply applying the “general rules of action” in their lives. Temporal things can bring temporary happiness but God’s intent is for us to have a lifetime of joy.
The final phrase is “The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” 1 John 2: 3-5 gives us an understanding of how we should regard the “commands of the Lord” when it says “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him.” If we yield ourselves to God’s authority then it only makes sense that His commands would illuminate the path He desires for us. So many men struggle with this concept of yielding to God’s will because they somehow perceive that it makes them less of a real man. Jesus tells us “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) If you have ever tried to find your way through the dark you know how easy it is to bump into things and lose your sense of direction. A right relationship with God provides us a great source of light in a very dark world. In fact, that right relationship with our Heavenly Father makes us a source of light for others around us to find their way out of the darkness of sin.
So the 2008 challenge I am making to you is simply this, will you commit to becoming a dedicated, diligent student of God’s laws, statutes, precepts and commands? This can only be done through your daily devotion to study God’s Word, being open to the direction of the Holy Spirit, communing with God through prayer, and surrounding yourself with Godly men that will not only challenge you but lift you up when you need it. There is no better time to grow in your relationship and fellowship with your Heavenly Father than today. Dare to be the man God wants you to be starting right now!