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Friday, October 28, 2016, 8:32 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Total Praise.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 86:11-17 (ESV).

Teach Me Your Way (v. 11)

Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.

How do we learn the way of the Lord? For those of us who have been blessed enough to own our own Bibles, or to have access to the internet where we can read God’s Word, we can learn the ways of God through the reading of His Word, which is the Holy Bible (Genesis to Revelation). Through his Word, especially in the New Testament, we learn the ways of God (of Christ), so that we can walk in the truth. This means that we need to spend a lot of time reading the Word, and listening to the Holy Spirit speak its truths to our hearts, and then apply its truths to our daily lives.

So, what are God’s ways in which we must walk? First of all, we must learn that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely to rescue us from hell and to promise us heaven when we die. For our sake God made him (Jesus) “to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Co. 5:21). Coming to Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). A saved life is a life transformed by the Holy Spirit from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God (See: Ac. 26:16-18).

If we say we have fellowship with God, and yet we walk in darkness (live a sinful lifestyle), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). If we walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, we will die (in our sins without Christ). But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (See: Ro. 8:1-14). If we want to come to faith in Jesus Christ, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Christ. If we hold on to our old way of life, of living for sin and self, we will lose our lives for eternity. But, if, for the sake of Christ, we lose our lives, i.e. if we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, we will gain eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25).

So, our new lives in Christ Jesus must begin on the right premise. We must repent of (turn from) our sinful lifestyles, and turn to God to walk in his ways and in his truth. All this is the working of God’s grace in our lives in spiritual transformation, as we cooperate fully with that work of grace. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and we die with Christ to sin, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Then, we can begin our spiritual journey of walking in the ways of the Lord, empowered, led and strengthened by the Spirit of God now living within us. We no longer choose to conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but now our desire is to walk in the Spirit, according to God’s will and purposes for our lives.

Yet, we still live in flesh bodies, and our flesh still pulls at us, and Satan tempts us, and the world tries to influence us away from God, so we must remain in Christ and in his Word, and we must daily put on our spiritual armor with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us (Eph. 6:10-20). We must no longer live according to the ways of this sinful world, but we must be transformed in the renewing of our minds (See: Ro. 12:1-2). This means we can’t spend hours a day glued to the TV set or to the internet, taking in the world’s philosophies, values, mindset, and morals, and spend little time with God in his Word, in prayer, and in obedience, and then expect to fight off temptation and to have united (undivided) hearts with God, walking in the fear (awe, honor, respect) of the Lord.

So, if we want to have united (undivided) hearts with God, and we truly want him to teach us his ways, because we honestly and sincerely want to walk in his truth, then we can’t have one foot in the world of sin and one foot in the Word of God. We have to choose whom we are going to serve. We have to make Christ Jesus our only Lord (owner-master), and we have to cut things out of our lives which are hindering our walks of faith and our obedience to Christ - things which are leading us into sin (See: Heb. 12:1; Matt. 5:27-30).

For example, we are not going to conquer lust and walk in purity of heart if we are daily or even weekly viewing pornography, or TV shows or movies which have sexual or sensual (seductive) content. This also includes video games and music which are worldly, which glorify sin, and which are seductive. That is counterproductive. That shows we have divided hearts. So, we need to rid our lives of those things which hinder our walks in the Spirit, so that we can learn the ways of the Lord and can walk in his truth.

I Give Thanks (vv. 12-13)

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Jesus Christ came to set us free from sin, not to give us a “pass” so we can continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. Through his death on a cross, and through his resurrection, he conquered sin on our behalf so that through faith in him we could be set free from the control that sin once had over our lives. Amen! Praise the Lord! So, we should give him thanks for this, not just with our mouths, but with our whole hearts! If we are truly grateful for deliverance from slavery to sin, and we are honestly thanking him and praising him for our salvation, then it should be evident in our lifestyles and not just in our lip service.

Give Your Strength (vv. 14-17)

O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

The Christian life is not easy, though. Satan is our enemy, and he has servants who also are our enemies, because they are enemies of the cross of Christ. So, they are always plotting against us in how they might trip us up or get us to fall into sin, or in how they might be able to discredit us (and the gospel) so that people won’t listen to what we have to say.

Some of them are preachers, who claim to be ministers of the gospel, but who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They manipulate and twist the Word of Truth to their own advantage in order to win people for themselves, not for Christ. Others of them are politicians who claim to believe in Jesus Christ, but whose words and lifestyles speak just the opposite. Together they are working to destroy the gospel and those who proclaim its truths. They want all people to unite with them as one under a one-world government and one-world religion. They want us to break down all which divides us as the people of the world. Sovereign nations and Christianity divides us, so they must destroy both. They want us to tolerate (accept, allow for) sinful lifestyles and for all religions as viable ways to God and to heaven.

So, we need to stand strong in our faith and not give way to sin or to compromise, and we need to keep speaking and living the truth of God’s Word, even in the face of great opposition, for many need to be saved, and the church needs to be revived. We need the strength of the Lord to see us through these troubled times, which are only going to get much worse in the days to come. And, we need to not give way to fear, but we should place our absolute trust in our Lord Jesus, lean on him, and rest in him. He will give us his peace and calm reassurance, even though all hell may be breaking loose all around us, which it is (just read the news).

The Lord Jesus is our helper. He will give us all we need to withstand Satan’s evil plots against us, and to be victorious over our enemy. And, to him we will give all the praise for what he has done, is doing, and yet will do in our lives in giving us victory over Satan, and in filling us with his peace and joy even in the midst of suffering.

Total Praise / Richard Smallwood

…Your peace You give me in time of the storm
You are the source of my strength
You are the strength of my life
I lift my hands in total praise to You…