As we come to the fourth reason this is the Book You Can Trust, we remember that we trust this Book because Jesus did.
In fact, Jesus believed, trusted, and commended God's Word so highly that he says God's Word is what we need for every part and every day or our lives.
Jesus gives each of us a single priority to check on, each day, for all of 2009. This priority is recorded inMatthew 4:4.
As we turn there, think about the simple habits that make up daily life: we wake up, get out of bed in the morning, and do a series of small choices that have become our daily regimen. Most people get ready for the day, and eat or drink something before launching out to do their responsibilities.
But Jesus adds one more to the list or regimen of our daily start-up:
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
A New Daily Priority
Have you really heard what Jesus said? He reminds us, don’t just do the physical regimens of getting “bread” or physical preparation for life. He says there is an entire spiritual regimen that must not be neglected. We need to renew our souls as well as our bodies; we need to plug in and recharge our spiritual batteries for living another day.
Have you ever had your cell phone or laptop run out of battery? Or, how about your digital camera, just when you wanted to use it? Doesn’t that feel terrible? We know we should have plugged it in but we forgot. That is also how our spiritual batteries are. Many missed opportunities to serve the Lord come from not recharging our lives in the Word.
The best life possible to be lived on earth starts and continues through Christ's commanded daily connection with God’s Word. Unless our lives are recharged, our minds are renewed, and our souls are fed—we will at some point during each day cease to work correctly, like a dead cell phone or powerless laptop.
The One who wants to call us, and use us is God. It is our Lord that is faced with an “out of power” or “unusable” signal from us. We need to seriously consider whether we are obeying Christ's command inMatthew 4:4, lest we miss all the benefits of His Word in our lives each day.
The Benefits of a Word Filled Life
What are the benefits of getting recharged daily by God's Word? The benefits are so immense, and immeasurable it takes a lifetime to even describe them, but in Psalm 16:11 we get an overview of the life long benefits of living each day by “every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” which are contained in your Bible. Please stand as we read this incredible verse.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (NKJV).
[ Pray ]
Did you notice David rejoicing in one of the greatest promises in the Bible? God promised to be David’s personal Guide, all the way through life. No wonder David was the ‘man after God’s own heart’, he was following the Lord all his days, knowing His Presence and experiencing the indescribable joys that came when he submitted to God’s authority.
Did you know that this is also an offer the Lord makes to us? He also wants to be our personal guide for life. That is what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 4:4, that we need to start a daily regimen on His Word. We need to start finding time every day to listen to His Voice in His Word.
The life-long benefit offered to every believer in Psalm 16:11 should not be lightly passed by.
Jesus as Guide: “YOU will show me the path of life”.
Jesus as Guard: “In YOUR Presence is fullness of joy”.
Jesus as Giver: “at YOUR Right Hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Ponder these three truths.
Jesus as Guide: “YOU will show me the path of life.” Here we are offered the best life possible, life as God intended and designed it to be. This means to become the beneficiary of more than we can dream of.
Jesus offers us more. To have Him as the One who guides us through life, providing all we need, and getting us safely home is the greatest treasure of all. What Jesus offers to us makes the greatest offers that this world can make to pale by comparison. Jesus as Guide is worth more:
Than the “$5,000 per week for life Publishers Clearing House grand prize” recently offered.
Than the $180 million dollar Powerball Jackpot recently won by some group of ticket holders.
Than all of the wealth (still remaining after the disastrous financial meltdown of 2008), and possessions of the richest families on Earth, who ever they may be.
Jesus as Guard: “In YOUR Presence is fullness of joy.” God knows how to fill, satisfy, and exhilarate His children. More than any parent or grandparent, God can give the ultimate gift. He knows us, loves us, and offers endless pleasures to us on just one condition. Sometimes we overlook that small phrase at the start of this promise.
The key to the joy of the Lord is staying in His Presence. When we lack joy He has not changed—we have. As long as we stay near the Source of all we need, our lives overflow. There is a river of blessings that flow from His Presence; and as long as we stay in the river we also overflow with joy!
Jesus as Giver: “at YOUR Right Hand are pleasures forevermore.” This speaks of staying right there at the place of His authority and power. It implies that we stay under His authority, obedient to His will, submissive to His plans, responsive to His leading. Anything less than this “walking in the Spirit” causes us to forfeit His “endless pleasures”; and to instead face the consequences of disobedience.
Jesus here offered David (and us) the reality of starting daily payouts from Him to us of not just nice things but “endless pleasures”. Our lives as believers are not to be drab and lifeless, we don’t go through life as if we can barely make it because it is so hard—we are to be online with automatic payments, directly into our account of endless pleasures.
Do you know what the opposite of the endless delights of God are? Disobedience always pays us back with emptiness, boredom, uselessness, frustration, guilt, shame, loneliness, confusion, and loss of purpose.
Life as God Intended it to Be
Today God offers Jesus as Guide to life as He intended it; and Jesus as Guard to keep us on the road of that life that is overflowing with blessing; and Jesus as the Giver of endless pleasures.
How do we do this? Meditate upon truth from the Psalms is the first place to start. Did you know that? This week I was working on one of my favorite verses, you probably know them, they are in Colossians 3. Now listen to the very first place we are to find truth to live by, insights to lead us into godly living. Here is the verse and I’ll emphasize what struck me this week:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (NKJV).
What is the first place Paul told these New Testament believers that they would find the truth to keep themselves and those they discipled straight in their walk? Letting God's Word captured in the Psalms overflow their hearts, minds, and lives. That is why I spent one entire year of my life immersed in the life of David.
God's Word records more chapters of David’s life than any other. There is more written by God about David, than any other person who ever lived. There are only 89 chapters in the Four Gospels devoted to Christ's life, yet there are 141+ chapters devoted to the thoughts, struggles, joys, and disasters of David’s life.
Truths to Unlock a Daily Walk with God
For a real challenge to letting God be our Guide through His Word, join me in a few truths from the Psalms, starting in Psalm 101. I call these the Truth that Unlock our Daily Walk with God.
First truth: I can Make a Sacred Pledge (Psalm 101)
Second Truth: I can Start a Holy Habit (Psalm 132)
Third Truth: I can Look for Jesus No Matter what the Cost (Isaiah 33:14-17)
Fourth Truth: I can Close the Door to the Devil (Ephesians 4:17-5:14)
This morning we will look at just the first two truths.
First Truth: I Can Make a Sacred Pledge Like David Did in Psalm 101
David wrote down this Psalm either in his early life, or looking back and reflecting upon those early days. Whichever it is, here we have captured one of David’s Spiritual Secrets. David had made a sacred pledge to keep his life following the Guide. Note the elements of that sacred pledge:
David chose a life of integrity: Psalm 101:2 I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
David made a pact of purity: Psalm 101:3a I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
David would not intentionally look at what offended God. Have you ever made that a lifetime choice in your life. Decide that you will not intentionally grieve or quench the Holy Spirit of God. God hates witchcraft, immorality, bloody violence, and evil. Do not get in the habit of being entertained by what offends and grieves the Lord.
Movies and games with those elements quench the work of God through your life. Is the momentary entertainment of a movie or game worth the distance it puts between you and the Lord?
David limited his exposure to evil: Psalm 101:3b-4 I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.
David wouldn’t let evil cling to his life. We all get exposed to various things but once he found that where he was or what he did offended God—whammo, he was out of there. David did not want to get comfortable with sin. He scraped off the barnacles of sin that build up in our lives just from sailing through the filthy seas of this world. We can’t isolate ourselves from the world, but we can insure that the ways of the world do not get lodged in us.
Regularly hold up all activities, entertainments, associations, and influences and ask: “Is this pulling me away from God or towards Him?” And if it is away, scrape that off, and don’t let it cling to your life!
David sought proper heroes: Psalm 101:5-8 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure. 6 My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, That they may dwell with me; He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me. 7 He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. 8 Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, That I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.
Second Truth: I Can Start a Holy Habit Like David Did in Psalm 132
A second Psalm has been captured for us by the Lord, and is either from David’s early days or about them.Psalm 132 talks about David as a shepherd boy, and from this Psalm we see the heart after God forged by a tiny habit that shaped David’s entire life. Do you know how big an impact small habits can have on our lives? Be sure to cultivate some holy habits. Here are some of David’s:
David made a habit of God ahead of comfort: Psalm 132:3-4 “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids,
David made a habit of time for God: Psalm 132:5 Until I find a place for the LORD, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
David made a habit of longing for God’s Presence through worship: Psalm 132:6-8 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; We found it in the fields of the woods. 7 Let us go into His tabernacle; Let us worship at His footstool. 8 Arise, O LORD, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength.
David made a habit of participating personally in worship: Psalm 132:9-10, 16 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your saints shout for joy. 10 For Your servant David’s sake, Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed. 16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation, And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
And those habits made David grow closer and closer to the Lord. His heart tuned in more and more often to God, and his walk was more and more in step with God’s desires. Those holy habits shaped David’s life, just like our habits are shaping ours. What holy habits are you cultivating today for God?
Plans for Walking With God in 2009
If you want this year to be one you look back upon as a year when you followed your Guide, stayed in His Presence, and enjoyed the endless delights of His pleasures, David shows us the way. Why not stop right here and review in your mind what God's Word says to YOU about the year before you? And then, why not make some sacred pledges to start some holy habits?
From Matthew 4:4: Why not make a personal choice in your life, and decide that into your daily regimen you are going to add a time to LISTEN to the Voice of God each day. You decide when is best, where is best, and how is best. But lest you go dead like your cell phone or laptop—make a plan to plug in and get in touch with God daily.
From Psalm 16:11: Why not make a decision in your heart, and decide with David that you are going to start following His path through life. The mapped out plan He has for your life is in His Word. Each day you listen to God’s Voice you’ll find a new facet of that plan. Check each day how you are doing at staying in His presence. When your joy fades you are moving away from Him as your Strong Tower. Move back towards Him right away, as soon as you sense that the joy of the Lord in your life has faded, and He will overflow your heart again with joy by His Spirit. Finally, why not make a sacred pledge that you will begin to desire His pleasures more than anything else. To enjoy the pleasures of God we must stay obediently under His authority (right hand).
To do this why not review the truths of Psalm 101 and reaffirm a sacred pledge in your mind: pledge to God your desire for integrity (that you are the same person of godliness no matter where you are or who you’re with); and pledge to God your desire for purity that you will not know deeply and intimately the evil of this world, rather you will scrape it off your life; and pledge to God your desire for holiness by making limits to your exposure to evil. Little choices like not watching TV before the Word; not going to the movies if you haven’t served the Lord in some ministry for Him, or you won’t waste hours on games if you aren’t memorizing the Word. All those little choices can add up to finding endless pleasures to enjoy from the Hand of the Lord.
And finally, from Psalm 132 why not look over David’s holy habits of life and start cultivating some of them by God’s grace in your own life? How about the habit of God ahead of comfort, or the habit of longing for God’s Presence through worship, or the habit of participating personally in worship? Each of these is transforming when they become a part of our daily plans.
A New Year lies before each of us. Jesus has told us His desire.
Each day we can make a choice to not only keep up our physical regimen of eating, sleeping, and working—but also our spiritual regimen of listening to the Voice of God in His Word (Matthew 4:4), following the Lord Jesus Christ as our Guide (Psalm 16:11), consecrating our lives by making sacred pledges to God (Psalm 101), and finally growing closer day-by-day to Him through cultivating holy habits (Psalm 132).
Where you will be in the future starts today?
Why not bow right now and make some plans for your spiritual life in the year before us by His grace!