Tuesday, January 04, 2011

January 4 … Guarding Against Sin

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1 – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

My Journal for Today: Today, John MacArthur using this repeated verse (i.e., Eph. 4: 1) for his devotional focus in Strength for Today, we begin to look at that phrase “to live a life worthy” and “the calling” to see where a Christian must walk in the world. As we’ve already seen in these first few days of 2011 in my devotionals, the worthiness of the Christian walk is seen in how a Christian learns God’s WAY and WILL, living in obedience to His WORD; and then it’s expressed in the avoidance of selfishness and sin. And to reinforce this biblical truth, we see God’s brief but pointed prescription against sin for the new or growing Christian, found in a passage which I hope you have deeply embedded in your heart: Psalm 119: 9 - 11

>>> SCRIPTURE: Ps., 119: 9 How can a young man [i.e., immature believer] keep His way pure? By living according to your word. … 11 I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.

In this brief poetic passage from one of the Psalmists, God has given His followers THE way for a believer to avoid sin; and this way is God’s way; because it’s found in HIS word. Therefore, knowing God’s path of truth from His word allows any believer, who has become well grounded in scripture, to be forewarned and forearmed to avoid the traps Satan will use to misdirect our already deceitful hearts (see Jer. 17:9). God’s word, therefore, becomes His light on our path of righteousness (see Ps. 119: 105).

And when the battles of life come to us, because we’re always surrounded in this life with the ploys and power of Satan, we can, by being well versed in scripture, do exactly what Jesus did when He was confronted by Satan’s temptation in the wilderness (read at the outset of Matthew 4 or Luke 4). And God’s word truly becomes our sword in battle, as Paul instructed in Eph. 6: 17. And if you do a deep study of the Eph. 6, full-armor, passage, God’s word, or the use of His word, makes up most of the elements of armor that we have to defend ourselves against our spiritual enemies in our daily battles (so, take time to study Ephesians 6: 10-18 - linked here in NIV).

Therefore, knowing and following God’s word is our only guarantee, as Christians, of spiritual success; and that’s why God so strongly admonished Joshua to be in, stay in, and live in God’s word (see Joshua 1: 8 below).

>>> SCRIPTURE: Joshua 1: 8 “Do not let this Book of the Law [i.e., God’s word] depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

It pains me when I hear a Christian say, when confronted with his sin, “I just couldn’t help myself.” My friend, as we’ve seen, we can help ourselves to walk in a manner more worthy of the One we follow, …Christ. He ordered us to follow Him (see Luke 9:23); and the best way we can do this, avoiding sin in our lives, is to follow the exhortation God gave to Joshua (above) to BE IN, STAY IN, AND LIVE IN GOD’S WORD.

If you’re a Christian reading this, have you got God’s word so strongly in your heart that it’s your sword in battle? And if not, what are you going to do about that? It’s your choice; but knowing God’s prescription to avoid sin and walk a more Christ-worthy path (again from Ps. 119: 9-11), I choose to carry God’s ready, sharpened, and practiced sword to do battle against my enemies. I hope you do too; and I’ll let God’s Spirit convict and direct you to become more well prepared for the battles ahead in 2011.

My Prayer Today: Lord, convict me each day to carry Your sharpened sword into battle; and to have strong armor, fortified by the truth of Your word. Amen


Rudy A. Cope said...

What a powerful, powerful, powerful message, Bill. The sword. Always the sword. God help me this year to do as Job said - to esteem "the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Lord, how I want to have your Word set to my heart...

Bill said...

Joyful that you feel that way and very encouraging to get your feedback, dear brother. I hope any who read what God gave me this morning are challenged to go deeper into God's word and use it as their sword for battle during 2011. ... Bill