The first five posts have dealt with how to properly think about and deal with personal sin God’s way. Getting to that point requires regular and humble examination to see the extent of one’s sin again an infinitely holy God.
But what happens when a believer truly repents and experiences the restoring work of God in their life? What is the next step in order to stay up? I want to begin to answer that question and finish out our series with a couple posts on “Staying Up,” which will endeavor to offer additional counsel to those fresh off spiritual victory over their sin.
Unfortunately, some Christians are assured by others or get caught up in the belief that doing more will produce lasting faithfulness to the Lord. They are called to perform tasks and attend Christian events, with the hope that just more doing will keep them in a right relationship to God. This list could include corporate worship, hearing sermons, evangelism, regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, fellowship with believers and submission to spiritual authority. Yet these very important aspects of the Christian life are not what will keep one pursuing Christ in a lasting, fruitful way.
Ultimately God’s grace is the source for our sanctification, and I am glad that God always offers greater grace than or sin (James 4:6)! But in order to fully realize God’s grace, we must do our part. There are four foundational disciplines that we will consider from Scripture over the next two posts that are necessary for the list mentioned in the paragraph above. We will consider Scripture meditation first.
Meditation on God’s Word
Psalm 1:2 reminds us that Bible reading and meditation are keys to a genuinely fruitful life with God:
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
The best way to counsel yourself and others is to inquire about a person’s relationship to the Bible. A person who consistently “stays up” and is victorious over sin is absorbed with the Scriptures. How does this happen?
God tells us in Psalm 1 that a man should be absorbed daily with the Scriptures. Scripture is foundational to all other activities. A believer who prospers is rooted and planted in the soil of Scripture, and out of that flows universal prosperity in his life.
That is exactly what Paul describes when he says that a believer is going to be “perfected, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (I Tim. 3:16).” That perfect man is one who interacts with the inspired Scriptures, which are “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, child training in righteousness.” Everything goes back to one’s interaction with the Bible.
We can say this without exceptions. If we are not reading and heeding the Scriptures, we are not prospering spiritually. It is a categorical impossibility. If we read the Scriptures erratically or occasionally, then our growth spiritually will be inconsistent.
Just as it is impossible for a plant to prosper without light or rain, so no spiritual life in the heart of a believer will grow and be right except by consistent absorption with the Scripture. So one of the first questions to ask someone who has come for counsel is their relationship to the Bible. Almost always, inevitably, there will be little or no relationship with the Bible.
Delight is the attitude that will preoccupy people with anything.
Delight is what will get guys up before the sun comes up to sit in a tree, waiting to shoot a duck. Those guys are not ultimately hunting because they are hungry. It is the sheer delight in gunning down a duck out of the air.
It is delight that will cause people to go spend hundreds of dollars to cheer on their favorite sports team. It is delight that causes grandparents to pay thousands of dollars to fly to see a grandbaby. It is love and delight that causes us to do anything. There is a power in love like nothing else.
There are other motivations that will get people in the Bible. You can take a class at school that gets you in the Bible. Perhaps its peer pressure, crisis, guilt or even a habit may take you there, but those are inferior motivations. They will not keep you in the Bible long or consistently. The only thing that will fixate you on your Bible is if you LOVE it. We are so constituted by God that it takes affection.
Look at the order in verse 2–first we see his delight, and then he becomes absorbed. Jonathan Edwards stated often that religion is not true religion until it has engaged the affections of that man and woman.
What are you finding such delight in that it is controlling of your time? We all love something. What are you arranging your schedule to do more of?
My prayer is that God’s people would be built up as they look to the glory of Christ’s grace at Calvary and learn to rest in his righteousness for ongoing confidence in this challenging Christian walk. May we all learn to practice grace-motiavated obedience in the power of the Spirit (Titus 2:11-14).