Summary: This is the first part in a series of messages on practical Christian living from Psalm 119.
MAKING EACH DAY COUNT
Wisdom for Life from God’s Word
Part 1: LIFE
Introduction: Today I want to begin a series of messages called "Making Each Day Count: Wisdom for Life from God’s Word." Our focus is on the important part that the Bible plays in being a follower of Jesus Christ.
When we were cleaning out the teller’s room a few weeks back I saw some old Sunday School attendance forms in the office. They were the kind of forms that I remember from when I was a kid. Each person had there own card for the year, and not only were they marked "present" or "absent" there were several other criteria that were checked each week.
When I was growing up as we came into Sunday School we were handed an offering envelope that had the same criteria on it as was on the attendance card. We marked on our envelopes which of those things we had actually done during the week. I don’t remember thinking that it was intrusive or legalistic on the part of the church to ask me that. What I remember is that as I looked through the list of things on the envelope: Giving...Worship Attendance...Bible Read Daily...Lesson Studied...Contacts Made...I realized there was a lot more to being a Christian than just coming to church.
My fear is that in our attempt to not offend or pressure anyone, and in-line with the advent of political correctness, there is next to NO accountability among church people today. That should change. We need to be more serious about our faith, and that won’t happen without accountability. The problem is, many don’t want to be accountable; don’t want to be asked, "Did you read your Bible everyday?" "Did you study your lesson?" "Did you call anyone and encourage them this week?"
Well, I can’t address all those at once, but if we want to "Make Each Day Count" we need a renewed commitment to read and study the Bible. It must be our guide for life. Let’s begin by reading together the first three verses of Psalm 119:
1 How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the law of the LORD!
2 Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart.
3 They do nothing wrong; they follow His ways.
When you look at those first three verses of Psalm 119 there is a something that jumps right out at me--being happy! I think all of us want to be happy, but so many of us are not. Why? Well there are lots of reasons, but instead of focusing on all the things that make us "unhappy" I want us to look at how God’s Word can lead us to a life of true happiness in Christ.
Did you notice that those who are "happy" are those whose "way is blameless" and that they are those who "do nothing wrong," and "follow God’s ways." It would seem to say that if you want to experience true happiness you must begin to do the things God wants instead of what you want.
1. We are called to "live" the way He wants us to live.
2. We are called to "keep" the things He wants us to keep. (And by the way that means we are also supposed to get rid of the things that He doesn’t want us to keep!)
3. We are called to "seek" after the things He wants us to seek.
4. We are called to "follow" Him wherever He leads.
I believe that God’s Word can help us accomplish these challenges, and I see some important principles about the value of God’s Word in Psalm 119. Over the next few weeks I want to share some of them with you. We will call them "wisdom principles" because I believe they are key components to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I like to define wisdom as:
The practical application of Godly knowledge.
It is to put into practice that which God reveals to us. I want us to see some straight forward principles on why God’s Word is His primary source of information for living a life that honors Him.
Wisdom Principle # 1
There is LIFE in the Word
Go down to verse 25 in Psalm 119. Here we see the Psalmist asking the Lord to allow His Word to bring "life" to his life.
25 My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word.
26 I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.
There are two great contrasts in these verses. You have the hopelessness that is characterized by a life that is "down in the dust," and then you have a picture of great hope when the Psalmist said that he told God about his life and God listened.