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Summary: Delighting one’s self in God is the first priority of the Chrisitan

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"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday."

INTRODUCTION TO THE SUMMER SERIES

This summer we will examine some biblical disciplines and traits put forth in Scripture to help a person succeed in life. Of course, I am defining success as it is described in Joshua 1.7-8: Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 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. Getting one’s bearings in life is not an easy thing to do. There are many voices competing for your attention. If one wishes to please God he or she must do so in defiance of the popular “wisdom” of the age. I find Paul’s instruction to the church at Corinth is fitting advice for any generation: “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 6.17- 7.1; cp. 2 Timothy 2.4-7). While everyone has a limited amount of time and resources with which he or she is able to tackle life’s goals, every Christian has unlimited access to the power of God. Of course, more is accomplished by those who plan their work and are then determined to work at their plan than by those who just take things as they come.

Over the course of the next couple of months I will examine some Christian disciplines that build godly character: such as the importance of deciding what kind of person you want to be by making life resolutions that are biblically sound (Daniel 1.8; Exodus 33.11b). I will examine what the Bible has to say about critical thinking (Acts 17.11) and how to develop a Christian worldview through familiarity with the Word of God (Psalm 1; 119.9-11; 2 Timothy 2.15; 3.16). I will consider the importance of living a balanced life by recognizing the legitimate needs of your heart, mind and body (1 Timothy 1.7b-8; cp. Proverbs 4.23): early investments in these things reap benefits that last a lifetime. I will emphasize the importance of pacing yourself for the lifelong race (Acts 26.14b; Ecclesiastes 11.9-12.8). I will probe how to assess one’s resources and the advantages of developing a generous spirit (Matthew 25.45). I hope to examine the positive consequences of keeping company with men and women of faith, courage and honor (such as Jonathan and David; Abigail, Hannah and Esther). I look to emphasize the importance of recognizing wise counsel when you hear it. How does a Christian keep faith with the Word of God when there are few others who will stand with him? (See 2 Timothy 2.22; cp. Daniel 3.16-18; 1 Corinthians 15.33; 2 Corinthians 6.17-18.) I will help you discover how to differentiate between things of consequence and those that are frivolous (2 Timothy 4.10). Foremost of all, we will examine what it means to delight oneself in the Lord. The chief end of mankind is to know the Lord and to delight in him (Psalm 37.4-6).

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

There is a myth abroad that the best things in life come to a person by way of natural selection (birth). For example, it is often said that leaders are born and not made. This is not true. Leaders are made. Similarly, character, which is the most important part of a person’s life, is formed most effectively by those who resolve to do what is right. It does not come easily nor is it something you have forever once you possess it. Rather, it has to be worked at to be maintained. If you have good looks, physical prowess, some native abilities, all the better, but what matters most in life is the formation of your character. It is essential to know right from wrong and have the courage to do what is good even when one is tempted to do what is wrong. Being smart is helpful, but being good is profitable in everything. And it is always better to be good than to be clever. The earlier one sets his bearings in life the less likely he is to stray off course. As a teenager Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank (Daniel 1.8). It is important to focus one’s affections on matters of eternal value: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12.1-2; cp. Micah 7.7).

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