My Heart is Set

Saturday, January 10, 2015, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:73-136 (selected NIV).

Your Salvation

Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands. ~ v. 73

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word. ~ v. 81

If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction. ~ v. 92

It is God’s plan and purpose for our lives that we should believe in Him, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and that believing we should forsake our former ways of living for sin and self, be born anew of the Spirit of God, and be given new lives of the Spirit to be lived in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us. This is his salvation, his grace and the only true freedom we will ever know. It is by God’s grace, through faith, that we are saved (See: Eph. 2:8-10; also Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24).

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we submit to his Lordship over our lives, we surrender our all to him, we repent of our sins, and we allow the Holy Spirit to work his will and grace in our lives to change us and to conform us to the image of Christ. We don’t become puppets on a string. We don’t lose our free will. Daily we must submit to the cross and surrender our lives to Christ, forsaking our sins and drawing near to God. In other words, we must cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives. This is true faith.

Some people think that “faith” or “believing” in Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives is some mystical thing that takes place via God’s grace to them, but that nothing is required of them at all other than to “believe.” Scripture does not support that notion. Scripture teaches us that when Jesus died for our sins it was not merely to free us from eternal punishment in hell and to give us the hope of eternal life with God in glory. He died for us so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives in this present age while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14).

You Have Taught Me

I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path. ~ vv. 101-104

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is a whole lot like marriage. In fact, scripture often compares our relationship with Jesus Christ to the relationship between a bride and her groom. We would all do well to keep this imagery set in our minds and in our hearts. What bride and groom “tie the knot” and then go their separate ways? I suspect the majority do not.

When we marry someone, it is usually because we want to be with that person for the rest of our lives, at least that is customary here in America where we generally choose our own marital partners, i.e. they are not normally chosen for us. We marry because we want to be in relationship with that person – to grow together, share common experiences, fellowship with each other, telling one another our joys and our heartaches; work together, laugh together, play together and worship God together. In order to do this, we have to spend lots of time together, being intimate with each other, talking, working, planning, serving alongside each other in ministry, and volunteering together, etc.

The same principle applies here to our relationships with Jesus Christ. We can’t give God 5 minutes a day reading a devotion and then do what we want the rest of the time. Our lives should be the Lord’s 24/7, and he should be the master of our lives. We should be available to him and in communion with him all the time, in order for him to speak with us, for us to talk with him, and for us to listen to and obey what he shows us. Prayer is not just something we schedule time for. Since the Spirit of God lives within us, and we are always in his presence, we should talk with him and let him talk with us throughout the day. We should regularly make it a practice of inquiring of him before we make critical decisions, and even some small decisions, too. And, we should have his words in our hearts and in our minds so that we can meditate on them throughout the day and into the night.

Direct My Footsteps

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path. ~ v. 105

My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end. ~ v. 112

Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed. ~ vv. 133-136

The Word of the Lord should be our delight! We should not view time in the word as drudgery or as something we are “supposed to do,” and so we do it to fulfill an obligation. We should long for hearing the Word of the Lord speak to our hearts, giving us wisdom, understanding, healing, comfort, encouragement, direction, correction and instructions in right living. And, our hearts should be “set” on keeping his word to the very end. Amen! “Set” means: firm, steadfast, unmoved, fixed, normal, and determined.

We should want the Lord to direct our footsteps according to his word, so we must be in the word, and we must know what it says, and we must obey what we know. Then, no sin will rule over us.

Yet, if we see our lives as our very own, and freedom in Christ as freedom to do what we want, and thus we don’t regard, respect and honor God in the choices we make in our lives each day, and thus we choose what is wrong, then how can he direct our steps? In other words, if I go to work each day and then come home and sit in front of a TV all evening or if I play on the Internet or do whatever people do, and I don’t ask God what he wants for my life and my time, then how can he direct my steps? How can we keep from having sin rule over us? We have to have our hearts “set” on keeping his word to the very end.

As well, we should grieve over sin in our own lives and in the lives of others. It should break our hearts to see the Word of God forsaken, disregarded and not followed. We should set our faces like flint with regard to temptation to sin, with regard to idolatry, or in respect to following after the ways of this sinful world. There are many humans who will try to convince us to come back to walking in the ways of this world so that we would appear more “normal,” and not be so “religious,” yet we are to be determined to follow Jesus Christ and his word in all ways, and to not give in to temptation, pressure, intimidation or persuasion to follow humans or “other gods” over following God.

To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.