Laws to Live By
Dear Savior, open my eyes to reveal any stumbling sin, any darkened motive, any coveting desires. Forgive and restore me.
Consider: "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You" (11). An endorsement of the memory verse of the week!
We are called to follow the Lord, walking in his ways, rejoicing in doing his will, playing our part in making a better world. This psalm is a long hymn praising the law of the Lord, and at the same time it's a prayer that we will seek to learn and inwardly digest all of the Lord's precepts and commands so that we are obedient disciples in every part of our lives. The psalmist is honest about even our best endeavors--"Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying" (5). I will obey; don't give up on me!
How do we learn the way to live ethically? How do new Christians learn to make judgments about right and wrong, good and bad? Which commands? What laws? Where do I find them?
The first answer is that we need to know our Bibles well enough to extract guidance on the whole range of issues that come up in daily life: medical ethics, use of money, environmental issues, sex and marriage, and much more. I became a Christian in the mid 1950's, and my first taste of laws to live by--in a Bible study group--included no make-up, no dancing or movies, no novel reading on Sunday!
The Bible is so rich and glorious in the way it teaches us--lists of virtues, laws and proverbs, parables and prophetic challenge. It is not a manual of maintenance, a mere list of do's and don'ts. The Lord expects us to think things through, to work out what texts mean, to ask whether new contexts change how we apply them. We are told, for example, not to reap to the edges of our fields but to leave the gleanings for the poor and the alien (Lev. 19:9-10). Sounds good, but how do we apply it to our resources today?
What practical steps can you take to pattern your life after God's Word? When have you longed for God's will? Love God and love your neighbor.
Teach me, Lord, just what those commands mean in all the different contexts of my life, as I read Your Word.
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