I was reading a friend’s blog this morning, and this sentence in particular hit home deeply with me.
“Why, oh why do I find the temporary things in the world more desirable than the Living Water of Life?!”
I have hated myself for the fact that I have to ask the question…and I have asked it many, many times.
Why do I focus on the silly, finite dust and ashes that are my preferred sins? Because, simply, I am a fallen man. I cannot turn my heart or mind or affections to God. And THAT is why if for one moment I fail to cling to His wisdom in the Word and to the hem of His robes in prayer, I am lost. I had to learn this the long, drawn out, devastatingly hard way…but because of that I am absolutely convinced that I must run to Him at every opportunity. And I mean that in a way I never considered feasible. I always read verses like “pray without ceasing” and “I meditate on your law day and night” and thought…”Yea, but not REALLY. Just as often as possible…like in the morning and if you think about it during the day and at night and stuff.” Incorrect.
I’m currently reading Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian life by Don Whitney. It is an incredibly wise and helpful book. The chapter on scripture memorization has been particularly useful to me:
“The Word of God is the ‘sword of the Spirit,’ but the Holy Spirit cannot give you a weapon that you have not stored in the armory of your mind. Imagine yourself…struggling with a difficult temptation and needing victory. The Holy Spirit rushes to your mental arsenal, flings open the door, but all He finds is a John 3:16, a Genesis 1:1, and a Great Commission. Those are great swords, but they’re not made for every battle.” (44)
1. That has spurred me on to get eternally serious about my scripture memorization. (Feel free to keep me accountable.)
2. It has reminded me that in the midst of temptation, scripture is a divinely powerful tool. (Christ used scripture to rebuke Satan while being tempted in the wilderness)
I have begun to, at the instant I find that I’m being tempted with something, think of all the scripture I can regarding whatever it is, without giving myself time to dwell on the finite breath of mutilated joy I might get from it. It seems like such a simple thing, and I have felt so sheepish that I haven’t started doing this sooner. God’s Word is powerful, and a blessed tool for our continuous sanctification.
Also, I was recently struck by the truth (and the vehemence with which it was conveyed to me at the SBTS orientation) that, as I have declared myself a servant of God, I have consequently declared myself an enemy of Satan. He hates me for it. If you are a child of God walking in faith, He also HATES you, (insert your name here). You, personally, are hated by an enemy more powerful than anything you will ever encounter on earth, more deviously evil than anything you can ever withstand, and though I’m not sure if he can read your thoughts (though if he can suggest them, perhaps he can?) he can certainly hear your conversation and see your actions. You have declared yourself his enemy, and he WILL exercise all means of his demonic power to destroy you, to crush your witness, to drag you down and lay you across the fires of hell. That is why temptation is so strong when you fail to cling to God constantly (and I literally mean constantly).
But thankfully, blessedly, we have Christ, and we have the Word. And not only does it tell us of the joy found in our God, and describe to us the wonders of His majesty – it is a Yahweh-God weapon that has the power to defeat Satan and win our spiritual battles EVERY time.
So, sharpen your swords my friend. Polish them. Practice with them. You’ll be fine.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)