Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
Two things with which almost everyone struggles are anxiety and temptation. The more we love God and His Word, the better protected we are in both those areas. Reasons for anxiety are limitless for someone who has no faith, but for someone who is locked onto God because of the truth in His Word, the impact of those things fades to insignificance. It’s not that such a person doesn’t have twinges of anxiety, but rather that when they come, those issues are submitted to God and released to Him on the basis of His strength and faithfulness rather than our own. As long as we are depending on ourselves, we have every reason to be anxious. It is through the Word of God that we understand just how dependable He is, and how loving. The same thing applies to dealing with temptation. Verse 11 of this Psalm, which speaks of “hiding” or “storing up” God’s Word in our hearts, is justly famous in terms of resisting temptation, but we aren’t going to do that if we don’t love God and His Word. Love is perhaps the best motive for anything, but we are capable of loving all sorts of unworthy things. God’s Word is certainly worthy of our love.
As I have written before, I am addicted to the Bible, and it is a joyful addiction indeed. That said, my devotion to it isn’t absolute, so my protection from anxiety and temptation aren’t automatic. I still need to choose to trust, and choose to obey God rather than my flesh or the devil. That’s because, as Don Francisco sang so memorably, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will.” Feelings will accompany love, but the moment we make them the foundation, things fall apart. I teach others about love in the marital context, but I must not think that because I teach it I’ve got it perfected. Just as I choose to love my wife (and am richly rewarded for it) I’ve got to choose to love God and His Word. The rewards there are literally infinite and eternal! As a pastor/teacher it is my joy and privilege to share the Word of God with others. I am never to take that lightly, but commit myself to Him, staying out of the way so that His Word may flow unhindered, cleansing and healing and strengthening and otherwise restoring people to their rightful position as children of God, which is the purpose for which they were created.
Father, I’m not preaching this morning, which feels strange indeed. I ask Your anointing on the brother who will be speaking, that Your Spirit may fill and flow through him, destroying the lies of the enemy and setting people free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!