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God’s Word: A Doorway for Light

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.Psalm 119:130 ESV

We all want to better ourselves. We don’t want to better ourselves in the same way. For most of the world, the primary way to improve life is through money. The pursuit of happiness runs the same path as the pursuit of money. A happy life finds itself only in a rich life. And so for a lot of us, our default mindset falls with modern culture rather than biblical mandate when looking for ways to improve ourselves: We naturally assume money will better our lives.

I believe we start at the wrong place. We have the wrong idea of life. Even for the Christian the tendency is to focus on making oneself the center of pleasure, but God did not create us to please ourselves. Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “Follow your dreams. Do what’s in your heart. Live out the path that brings you the most pleasure.” The problem with these statements is that life is not meant for our dreams—life is meant to bring Christ glory. God has an eternal plan that will be carried out according to His self-seeking desire (Eph. 1:11). When one does what is in the heart, we do things like murder, rape, incest, lying, stealing, cheating, deception, etc. (Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:19). The path we must walk should give God the most pleasure, even if it brings us the most pain. Look at the life of Jesus (Heb. 12:2; Phil. 2:6).

God calls us to a higher life in Christ. God imparts to us what will bring Him honor and glory and what will bring us profit and pleasure. We have this blessing by opening His Word. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130 ESV). His words are the doorway through which light shines to impart discernment to an otherwise naïve people. We cannot live better without God’s unfolding light.

How does this bring God honor and glory? If God is holy and has mirrored that holiness in His law to where humans are now obligated to reflect that holiness in their lives, the way to honor and glorify Him is to “look” like Him. The way to look like Him is to look like Jesus, and we find that all Scripture points to Christ, the all-perfect human being. We receive the most profit and pleasure by mirroring God because we deeply long for this reality. We desperately want to be what we aren’t: holy. We desperately want to live like we don’t: morally upright.

The teaching in Psalm 119:130 can be stated this way: God’s Word imparts to us understanding for moral instruction. Why do we need moral instruction? The seemingly pointless book of Leviticus emphasizes the main point of God’s primary concern for His people: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2 ESV). And if we’re not holy as He, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deut. 27:26). We are lost in a world of condemnation without God’s Word giving instruction on how to live and how to please Him.

Light in Scripture represents life (Ps. 27:1; 36:9; John 1:4), guidance (Ps. 112:4), goodness (Ps. 118:27), understanding (Ps. 119:130), moral excellence (Job 24:13; Is. 5:20), joy (Ps. 97:11). The Hebrew parallelism indicates that the light presented here is given for moral instruction. The first line speaks about the opening (lit. doorway) of God’s Word causing light to shine; but then we must ask what is this light for? The parallel clause makes that plain: it imparts (lit. causes) understanding for the simple. But what does that mean?

The simple in Scripture are represented as the naïve. The word in Hebrew for “simple” is related to the word, as the ESV translates it, “unfolding.” “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” There is a play on words. The simple are those who are open to all kinds of enticement; they are easily deceived. Therefore they must be well taught. The Hebrew word for unfolding is literally “doorway” or “opening.” I believe the NET (New English Translation) has a better rendition of the word: “Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines….” (Ps. 119:130 NET). The following clause gives meaning to the preceding which answers the question, “What is this light?”

When His word shines light, it provides understanding to those who need it. To have understanding means you have the ability to discern right from wrong, that you are able to judge rightly. Throughout our lives—no exceptions—every Christian will have the need for God’s Word to instruct them on how to live morally upright. Sin makes this necessity.

The Holy Spirit does not automatically give you all knowledge on what is morally correct so that you don’t have to labor in the Word in order to gain the perception to discern (Heb. 5:14). If we automatically knew all moral instruction on how to live, we would be robots. We wouldn’t need His Word. We wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit.

Great is the Christian truth: We are becoming one with Christ. Conforming to Christ is guided by the Word which opens its light to what is morally correct and pleasing to God, so that we may receive a heart of wisdom and discernment. We desperately need God’s doorway of light.

Every day the world tries to rob our innocence. We are flooded with temptation the moment we press the big blue “e” to browse the web. No one is free from the lies of Satan and the world—only some are able to discern what’s from him and what’s from Christ. The fallen world, whom Satan is prince, says you can live a moral life without Christ.

Just consider TV shows. You know, the shows that aren’t necessarily violent or full of cursing or sexually explicit, the ones with a TV-PG rating. For instance, take King of Queens, Seinfeld, Friends, House, Grey’s Anatomy, Jersey Shore, Glee, etc. We typically don’t see anything wrong with them. But they all have one thing in common that is often overlooked: They teach us how to live a “good” life without Christ in our lives. (I am not saying I don’t watch these shows. I don’t have a problem watching them, although I don’t much. My point is for us to think about the deceptive—to most of us hidden—lies the world gives us daily.)

God has made life to be a hot pursuit of His holiness. He has elected us so that we would be holy in His sight (Eph. 1:4). We need help in pursuing God’s holiness. God as light represents God as morally excellent, and His moral excellence sets Him apart as completely unique, which makes Him terribly holy. We are not left in the dark. God invites us into His light. His Word offers to us light that gives instruction on how to walk the same path of holiness Jesus Christ trekked. God’s Word imparts to us understanding for moral instruction. Not only do we need this, but we also long for it. “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments” (Ps. 119:131 ESV).

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Binding & Writing

Elizabeth Elliot is looked upon as a woman worthy to imitate in the Christian faith. That is a pretty high honor. In fact, that kind of honor is prized in Scripture (Heb. 13:7). The Christian life is not only the grandest way to live but also the most difficult. To this day Christians have constant warfare with enemies that the world, as it seems, has no quarrel with.

A regenerated heart carries the burden of an otherwise hidden enemy—sin. This culprit feeds on the weakness of believers, gaining momentum to throw them into a world of perplexities, often times knocking them off a very difficult and narrow path. And yet Elizabeth Elliot is championed as a faithful disciple who has triumphed, not without scars, as a loyal lover of Christ and godly woman.

Being His child, God undoubtedly views her in high regard in Christ. Being a worthy disciple, we highly esteem her godly character in Christ. Why? What makes her desirably eminent in Christian history? Let us look at two qualities Elizabeth has characterized in her walk with the Lord. The Bible states that having both traits will bring favorable results. (Let me caution you from thinking that this is a magical formula, as if possessing these qualities will give you guaranteed success. Such thinking is evil. Rather, take to heart that when God promises something, He fulfills it because He is unlike us, for He is faithful.)

Elizabeth Elliot has written many books, ranging from Christian obedience to biographies to practical godliness. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was a missionary-martyr to a savage tribe in South America. (Elizabeth’s second husband died of cancer, and her third she is presently married to.) When the Auca’s brutally killed five American missionaries by spearing them, Elizabeth and the other wives carried out their jungle-life responsibilities. Days later, devastation reverberated in the homes and lives of vulnerable and bewildered women. Wives became husbandless and children fatherless.

It’s impossible to imagine the sadness and frustration Mrs. Elliot and the other wives felt. But later times will prove the faith and character of Elizabeth. She went back and faithfully ministered and loved the tribe that murdered her husband, winning many of them to Christ. If she did not have Proverbs 3:3-4 in mind when she contemplated whether to return to the jungle to live among savages, perhaps she had read it at some time or another.

Do let lovingkindness and faithfulness get away from you. Bind them around your neck. Write them upon the tablet of your heart. And so obtain favor and good esteem in the eyes of God and man.

Knowing that Elizabeth had not let lovingkindness and faithfulness leave her is evident by her work in the Lord. She extended lovingkindness (or mercy) to people who had murdered her husband. She faithfully ministered the message that would forgive many of them and count them free of all charges, including murder. The favorable result is that the ending promise in this verse was fulfilled: she has been highly esteemed.

God calls us to extend mercy and to be faithful in what He has laid before us. Jesus Christ is the source of all our strength for doing so. Jesus laid down His life so we could be reconciled to God with new character in order to live for God’s glory. The cross makes it possible for us to exercise mercy to those who are in a miserable plight, just as we once were.

The obedience of Christ should compel us forward in rigorous faithfulness, to obey even when it hurts. God’s unshakable truth promises needed grace and esteem in the process of obeying Christ on a difficult path. Binding lovingkindness and faithfulness around our neck, while also writing them upon our heart, not only outwardly manifests a life that is concerned with loving Christ but also inwardly represents a person who is eternally transformed by their Savior.

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Characteristics of Discernment

Beloved, in this season, the people of God are going to experience unprecedented favor! We are examining the Word of God to discover what He favors, and bringing ourselves into alignment with the Word of God. When we bring our selves and our lives into agreement with God’s Word, we are positioned to receive His favor – triple favor! Are you ready? I hope so, because God is at work, and He has chosen you for such a time as this!

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth,
and was subject unto them:
but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,
and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:51-52

Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favor as He grew. As you and I grow in Christ, we mature spiritually. One of the characteristics of Jesus’ maturity we should strive to model is wisdom. Wisdom attracts the favor of GOD.

Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, through which discernment can develop in a growing believer. Discernment is not only a spiritual gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit when it’s needed; discernment is a crucial element of godly wisdom that mature believers walk in.

Discernment is keen perception or judgment (according to the World English Dictionary). It is to understand the plans, intent, thought or motive. Discernment goes beyond the obvious to hear the spirit behind things that are said or done.

Discernment flows out of the fear of the Lord. People who do not walk in the fear of the Lord become calloused in their ability to discern. Self-dependent people are likely to lose the fear of the Lord, causing the sharpness of discernment to be lost.

There are 3 characteristics of discernment that you must pray and strive to obtain. These godly characteristics are blessed by Him. He will put His favor upon you!

A person of discernment is not easily swayed by what they hear, but by what they see with their inner eyes. Many times, we will pick up on subtle things, but we rationalize it away or the persuasiveness of others wipes out what we were starting to perceive in the spirit.

We must not allow others or our own logic to sway what God is trying to reveal to us in the Spirit. As Ephesians 1:17-18 states:

 

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”

 

Because a discerning believer is relying on the eyes of the Spirit, they separate emotions from reality. They have the self-control it takes to restrain themselves from getting caught up in a “knee-jerk” reaction to a situation.

A second characteristic of a discerning, wise and favored believer is they take nothing at face value. They understand that things are not usually as they first appear. By using God-given observation, and hearing what the Spirit is saying, a discerning believer can get a better “read” on a situation than what anyone will ever come right out and say.

 

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”
Proverbs 5:1-2

 

The third, and maybe most important characteristic of a discerning believer, is prudence. Prudence means “exercising sound judgment.” Prudence is when a wise decision is reached through discernment or critical evaluation. It is the ability to make the right decisions at tough times. Prudence makes the difference between disaster or victory!

Prudence, in the worldly realm, carries an almost negative connotation. Having prudence does not mean you are a “stick in the mud” – it means you are not a fool! Satan does not want us to lay hold of prudence – he wants us to be fools and die in the pit of bad decisions.

 

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.”
Proverbs 14:8

 

Is your flesh hurting yet? Ouch!! Mine is, just writing this to you. In order to be able to handle what HE has for us, we’ve got to get this down in our Spirit!

Here are some qualities right out of the Word of God of the prudent (wo)man:

 

A PRUDENT (WO)MAN IS SLOW TO SPEAK.
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”
“A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.”
Proverbs 12:16 & 23

A PRUDENT (WO)MAN HAS NO PROBLEM WITH A REBUKE.
“A prudent man heeds correction.” Proverbs 15:5

 

Beloved, we must have prudence if we are going to be trusted with the overflow of blessings God has for us! Can you handle the blessing of Almighty God? Let’s get this quality in our spirit so we can be entrusted with the things of God!

In this season, the people of God are going to experience unprecedented favor! Opportunities we would have never found, promotions we could have never earned, blessings we could have never worked for in years are coming our way! Are you ready? Let’s bring ourselves into alignment with the Word of God and become people of wisdom, prudence and discernment. We can rely on the Spirit’s help. With God, all things are possible! I want you positioned to receive His favor – triple favor! Are you ready? God is at work, and He has chosen you for such a time as this!

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Favor: Pillars of Wisdom

The people of God are going to experience unprecedentedfavor, opportunities, advancements and promotions in both the natural and spiritual realm. This month, in preparation for what God is going to do, we are examining the Word of God and bringing ourselves into alignment with what the Word of God says brings God’s favor. When we bring our selves and our lives into agreement with God’s Word, we are positioned to receive His and blessing! Remember – “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of him that diligently seeks Him.” We are studying the fourth pillar of wisdom – diligence! If we are “diligent” in seeking God, He will reward us if we truly believe that He exists and that He is our Rewarder! He is our rewarder!

 

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth,
and was subject unto them:
but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,
and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:51-52

 

A quick recap for you on what we have shared so far: Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favor as He grew, according to the text above. As you and I grow in Christ, we mature spiritually as well. One of the characteristics of Jesus’ maturity we should strive to model is wisdom. Wisdom attracts the favor of GOD.

Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, through which discernment can develop in a growing believer. Discernment is not only a spiritual gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit when it’s needed; discernment is a crucial element of godly wisdom that mature believers walk in. The third pillar of wisdom is prudence. The fourth pillar, which we will unpack right now, is diligence.

Diligence is showing perseverance at whatever is undertaken. It is characterized by steady, earnest and energetic work. Diligence in the Biblical sense is a persevering application of the Word of God. Not only does diligence mean “faithful, steady, consistent work at something you refuse to quit doing,” it requires another d-word: discipline.

 

6 REQUIREMENTS OF DISCIPLINE IN OUR LIFE

  1. Be diligent to teach God’s Word to your children.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.”
Deut.. 6:6-7

  1. Be diligent to keep God’s commandments.

“Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.”
Deut. 6:17

  1. Be diligent to guard your affections.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

  1. Be diligent to make your calling and election sure.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
2 Peter 1:10

  1. Be diligent in seeking the Lord.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6

  1. Be diligent to remove bitterness from your life.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
Hebrews 12:15

 

The people of God are going to experience unprecedented favor, opportunities, advancements and promotions in both the natural and spiritual realm. By faith, and in preparation and expectation for what God is going to do, we are examining the Word of God, and doing what it says. The Word works!

When we bring our selves and our lives into agreement with God’s Word, we are positioned to receive His and blessing! Remember – “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of him that diligently seeks Him.” We are studying the fourth pillar of wisdom – diligence! If we are “diligent” in seeking God, He will reward us if we truly believe that He exists and that He is our Rewarder! He is our rewarder! Next, I will share with you the rewards of being diligent. You don’t want to miss it!

 

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Favor: Straight Paths

Trust in the LORD with all your heart . . .”

The human heart has been masterfully oriented by God to function a particular way. The heart’s irreproducible makeup only finds serenity and satisfaction in Jesus. The heart is not a simple matter—it is as deep as well. Just as a well is only good if it has water, the heart is only good if it has Jesus. Jesus has saved the soul from not only the penalty and guilt of sin, but also the misery of life that would have resulted from its consequences.

If there’s one thing in life Christians desire to do, it is to entrust all their heart to Jesus. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Privately, we often hear the whisper of this command impel us with a tinge of regret, for we know how fickle we are. The truth of having a deceptive heart (Jer. 17:9) is that it’s neither wise to trust nor easy to entrust it. We may wrongly assume God has superiority when in fact an idol has taken control. Flipping to the other side, the sanctifying reality is that a regenerated heart has the Spirit of Christ to constantly impress on it the need to trust God. The beautiful paradox: A sinful heart always keeps us relying on a merciful God.

“. . . and do not lean on your own understanding.”

How are we to trust God with all our heart without our understanding? Understanding comes from the heart. Faith is comprised of three parts: knowledge (understanding), assent, and trust. The answer is found in what God originally intended before the Fall and the redemption provided by Christ.

Our hearts were made to worship, glorify, serve, love, and exalt Jesus. God created us to glorify Him. Because we rebelled and violated God by breaking His universal law, the heart is now prone to lust after idols. Instead of life being a journey that pursues God, it has become a means to test the heart’s allegiance. Sadly, we’re all traitors.

However, when a Christian is made anew by the Holy Spirit, they then have the ability to rely on God with all their heart. The believer is now following a path that is directed by God Himself. Although the sinner has a new heart to understand God’s Word, sin also resides, encouraging the justified sinner to deviate from God’s path of righteousness to a path of selfish pleasure. Therefore it’s important for us not to rely on what we assume is proper and good but on what God has prescribed is proper and good. This prescription is found in the Bible.

“. . . and do not lean on your own understanding.” Not leaning on our own understanding means that we should take God at His Word and trust in who He is. The perfection of God demands that an imperfect people rely on Him in all of life, believing God’s way is the best possible route in a life of uncertainty.

“In all your ways acknowledge him . . .”

To “quell” something is to overwhelm it in order to shut it down. God’s faithfulness to His people should quell our self-trust so that in everything we do we seek to know His guiding wisdom and directing love. Since God knows all things, we can safely entrust our hearts in order that He direct our paths according to His infinite knowledge. The comforting aspect in God’s guiding wisdom is to know that everything He does is accomplished in love. “In all your ways acknowledge him . . .”

Acknowledging God in all our ways means that we are a people who constantly has God in front of us. Throughout life, whether important or insignificant to us, we are aware that Jesus is the most important person to consider in all our decision making. Jesus encompasses every path we take to the extent that our life is only dear to us insofar as we bring glory and honor to Him.

“. . . and he will make straight your paths.”

The implication in this verse is that our paths will be crooked. But the promise of favor is that God will make our paths straight. This promise of God’s grace is especially important when we realize two things. First, although our paths are crooked because of our own sin and the enemy’s relentless pursuit to ruin us, we have a victorious Christ who took our punishment and who has defeated our foes. Jesus embodies a loving God who constantly cares for His people. Second, because we believe in this Jesus, we are assured that all of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). God promising to make our paths straight in a crooked world is a massive incentive to entrust all our heart to the Lord. Of all the things in this life that are false, deceptive, and evil, a heart fully trusting in Jesus will prove God true, sure, and good.

 

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