When I read Psalm 119:9-11, I thought of how challenging it can be to clear the way toward purity but not only that, toward a meaningful and abundant life, as well. In our world today there are branches, fallen trees, thorns, thistles, and vines, obstructing our paths as we journey. It’s imperative to know how best to deal with these things because if we are not careful, our lives will be ruined. God’s Word provides great instruction for living a pure life and gives us the motivation behind it.
Before we move on, let me ask this question? What governs your life right now? How do you feel about living a pure or godly life? Is it a priority for you? Or do you feel it’s “old fashioned”? Think about your response and consider the possibilities and results.
It’s really important to come to a resolution about the role God’s Word will play in your life. If God’s Word is most important to you, then the Bible will not only be a source of information and instruction but it will become the final authority from which you make decisions.
Take a couple of minutes and think through this question:
Based on how you answered that question, you will better be able to see the path you are on. God’s Word is a clear path, whereas people’s opinions and even your own feelings are murky and muddy at times.
This is why a passage like Psalm 119:9-11 is important for followers of Christ. There are far too many opinions out there and far too confusing feelings in life to make some decisions. Therefore, we need to rely upon something that is unchanging like God’s Word as we navigate this life. However, many people don’t want “rules” in their lives. They want to make their own choices based on what’s popular or how they feel today. May I be emphatic about something?Without some rules and resolve in your life, your life will be ruined. This world is not “user-friendly”. If one is not careful to ask the question how can I keep my way pure, rest assured, it will not happen. In fact following after God doesn’t just happen. We must intentionally seek after Him.
The author of the verse asks a very important question but then responds with the answer. He says he must seek after God with a whole heart. He must apply his heart to know God and God’s ways. This is a turn-off for many who feel God simply wants to crush any joy or pleasure in life.
God is not this way, though. He wants us to have the greatest joy and pleasure in life. He wants us to experience the thrill of a life well-lived. In fact, God sent His Son to earth to purchase our freedom from sin’s ultimate penalty, Death, so that we might have the abundant life (John 10:10). But this doesn’t mean that our “happiness” is God’s greatest concern.
We have fallen prey to the ideology that God exists for “my happiness”. But this is a false notion. We treat God as though He is a waiter, anxiously awaiting to meet my every need. This is far from who God is. It is important for us to begin to see God for Who He is and when we realize that, we will begin to seek after Him and what He desires for us. When you understand who God is you come to a point where you will seek God’s holiness and not your own happiness.
God has given us His Word because He doesn’t want us to suffer from poor choices, bad decisions and a life that is sin-ridden. Memorizing God’s Word can help keep us in God’s Ways. But we have to read it, know it, learn it and study it. We must take time to immerse ourselves in God’s Word for His transforming Spirit to activate it in our lives. Its not enough to just “know” it or read it. There are many who quote passages, yell it from street corners and theorize about it but it never brings change. Those people “know” a verse or two but they do not know the Author! Hiding God’s Word in your heart helps you to know the Author Who lives in our hearts. Don’t herald God’s Word from your head without first hiding it in your heart. God is most concerned with our hearts and motivations than our “rightness”. In fact if we were more concerned with His Righteousness, our “rightness” would fade away, seeing that it pales in comparison. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, it helps us navigate the wooded ares of our lives. It helps us to know God’s mind, heart and intentions as we make decisions about life. God’s Spirit can illuminate us better when His Word is living within. Even though the Bible doesn’t address every element of life, God does give us principles and guidelines that help us in every situation. Therefore, God’s Word is right for the time, the place and the situation, regardless of what it is.
As I wrap up these thoughts, let me conclude by saying that if sin is a concern, the Bible should be of interest. To be honest, often sin is not a concern and we take it lightly. I’m not trying to make a big deal about sin to say that you are wrong or doing wrong, nor is God. In fact, God hates sin not because it is “bad” but because of it’s ability to destroy. The reason God hates sin so much is because it prevents us from having the life that He designed for us. He hates sin so much because it keeps us from experiencing His love and care, exchanging it for something that is far, far less. The writer of this verse confesses that hiding God’s word in his heart is not a cure-all for sin. It’s only a possible “preventative measure” as he says “might not sin” against God. But if sin is a concern, then God’s Word should be of interest, as it is one of the few things that help get you through the woods and Home to where you belong.
Take some time this week and memorize Psalm 119:9-11. Reflect on what the passage means and how it can impact your life choices and decisions you make. Ultimately look at God’s Word as a way to know Him better instead of a “rule” book to follow.