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Bible Passage Psalm 119

Holy Living 8 : Convicted, Converted, Committed

  • Tony Raker
Date preached January 2, 2022

Psalm 119 is an instruction how, in the midst of cultural upheaval, to stand firm as does God and His Word in the Heavens.

Psalm 119: 59-60: “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”

  • Grammatical Usage: “considered” or in the Hebrew, “chashab” meaning, “thought; judged”; “turned” or “shuwb” meaning, “return; restore; refresh”; “steps” literally means, “feet: according to the pace of”; “delay” or “question leading to hesitation”.
  • Literal Interpretation: I have thought about and judged my ways (attitudes leading to actions) and returned to your statutes, restored and refreshed, keeping pace in obedience to Your commands without question or hesitation.
  • Contextual/Comparison: God keeps His Word: God continually uses His Word.
  1. Christian Conversion begins with Serious Consideration.

The words to underline here are, “I have considered my ways”:

  • To convert is to change; specifically, change our hearts per Proverbs 23:7a: “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”)
  • We were designed to love Him, love righteousness, and walk in harmony with God and others (Micah 6:8), returning to our intended creative state
  • But part of God’s design of the human heart is free will. That free will carries with it the opportunity to abuse it, as did Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:11)
  • God desires that we choose to love and serve Him. When we stubbornly refuse to follow God, our hearts, which were designed to communicate with God, are hardened. God compares rebellious hearts to stone (Zechariah 7:12). A heart of stone finds it impossible to repent, to love God, or to please Him by walking in His way (Romans 8:8).
  1. Serious Consideration leads to Definite Action.

The words to underline now are, “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.

  • When a man thinks hard and seriously about God and salvation, his own soul and his soul’s need, he soon makes a decision that leads to action.
  • We find in Luke 15:20 that the Prodigal Son came to the point where “he got up and went to his father.” He turned his back on the old life; walked to a new life.
  1. Definite Action leads to Loving Obedience.

The words to underline now are, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.””

  • Definite action does not stop short at this point – it must lead to a life of obedience. Conversion is just the beginning of a life of joyful obedience to the Lord, of finding out His perfect will, and doing it (Romans 12:2).
  • Scriptural conversion can be described in three words: (1) Stop. (2) Turn. (3) Obey. Stop in your tracks and repent of your sin (Isaiah 55:6-7); turn to the Lord and put your trust in Him as your personal Savior (Romans 10:9-13); give yourself wholly to Him and obey Him every day (John 2:5 compared 2 Samuel 15:15)
  • 5 signs of maturity in Christ
  1. Mature Christians receive the truths of the gospel as it was passed down to them. A faithful follower of Christ doesn’t add to or take away from the Word of God (Galatians 1:8).  Paul desired to pass on the Message of Christ in all its purity, because that is where the power is. Paul tells us to establish those foundational teachings about Christ, and continue from there to grow to maturity (Hebrews 6:3)
  2. Mature Christians stop pointing out everyone else’s sins, and start confessing their own. Jesus personally addressed this in Matthew 7:1-5.  A mature Christian comes to this place where they finally see their own glaring sins and continually focus on repenting in their own lives.  Mature Christians are much more gracious judges of others because those words of Jesus have struck their heart, and they will never be the same.
  3. Mature Christians watch their words, and know when NOT to speak. James, known as being one of the deeply mature, early Christians says: “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2).  Spiritual maturity comes through being more careful about the words we say.  Ephesians 4:29 and 4:2-3 take us further as we should express hope, humbleness and help with our conversation.
  4. Mature Christians grow less dependent on themselves, and increasingly dependent on Christ. Mature Christians do not make much of themselves and their good works and progress; they make much of Jesus (John 15:1-5).  Even while mature Christians are growing in faith and holiness, they do not grow more dependent on themselves, because they know their growth comes through abiding in Christ – dependency on Christ alone – and obedience to His command to love God and love others.
  5. Mature Christians make every effort to build on their faith. The Bible says we can grow and take steps closer to Christ: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (James 4:8) As we take steps closer to God, we experience His goodness, grace and glory in our lives in new ways.

These are qualities that a mature Christian strives for: faith, goodness, knowledge of God from His Word, self-control, perseverance through hardships, godliness (imitating Christ), mutual affection for other believers and for the Church, doing our best to love other people (both Christians and non-Christians) well according to 1 Corinthians 13.  Mature Christians don’t sit idle in their faith, and assume God will do all the work inside them, when God has clearly called them to “make every effort” to draw near to Him.

  • Conclusion: Embarking on a new year: will you make every effort?