- Fully Integrated
- Psalm 119
- Lyndol Loyd September 14, 2020
Digging In: Fully Integrated
Good morning Church! This morning we are wrapping up our church-wide experience, Digging In: Going Deeper Into God’s Word. We’ve been taking a look at what it would look like if our congregation was to get really serious about the study of the Bible. Several of our Sunday School classes have been taking on this topic and many of you are participating in Engage Groups.
What I want for us to do today is talk about how do I keep on keeping on? How do I maintain a heart for God’s Word? How do I keep on continuing in the skills and the habits that we’ve been developing for the past weeks?
Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you continue in my word then you’re really my followers…then you’re my disciples.” He didn’t say if you do it for a few weeks and stop. He said if you continue in my word then you are my disciple. So this week I want us to look at how do you maintain a heart for God’s Word, how do you integrate God’s Word into every area of your life?
That word integrate…you know what integration is? The opposite of segregation. Segregation means to separate into groups. When you segment your life you live a segregated life. When you take the pieces of the pie and say, this is my personal life and this is my church life, and this is my business life, and this is my home life, and here’s my sex life, and here’s my social life, and you segment your life, then you live a segregated life.
You don’t have an integrated life; which means you lack integrity. Integrity comes from that same word. To have integrity means to live your life integrated, as a whole. You don’t act one way with a group of people and another way with a different group. You don’t act different at home or work than you do at church. To act the same in all areas as a whole life is an integrated life. I want you to live that kind of life. I want you to become a man or woman of the Word.
How does that happen? It isn’t going to happen at all unless you have the desire. It requires intention. It’s never going to happen. It starts with desire.
I want us to look at Psalm 119:20, the Contemporary English Version says this: “What I want most of all [in other words the number one priority in my life, what I want most of all] and at all times [that means it’s integrated. It’s not just at church time, but at all times] is to honor your laws.” David is saying here I want to be a man of the Word. Whether I’m at work or I’m at home or I’m at a game or I’m playing with my kids, I want to be a man of the Word. I want my life to be led and guided and directed by the Word of God.
What I want to do today is show you how to do that, how you integrate God’s Word into all of your life.
- I BUILD ON IT.
In other words I make the Bible the foundation for my life. Whatever is the foundation will determine how big the structure can be on top of it. So I’m going to build my life on the Bible.
This is what Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:24, “Everyone who hears these words of mine, and puts them into practice, is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” He’s saying you can build your life on sand or you can build your life on a rock.
If you build your life on the rock of truth, truth never changes. Opinion changes but truth doesn’t change. If it’s true, it was true a thousand years ago; it’ll be true a thousand years from today. Opinion does change. But if you build on the rock of God’s Word then you’re going to build on the stability of something that never changes. When the rogue winds of life come, when the storms of life, when the trials and the troubles and temptations and all those tough times inevitably come into your life, you’re not blown away. You’re not blown over. You don’t crumble like most people do because you are solid. You’re built on a rock foundation.
On the other hand if you build on the shifting sands of just opinion or whatever happens to be popular or whatever, then you’re going to be on shifting sands. The foundation will crumble.
I need to say first off, “God, I’m going to build my life on this book. I don’t always understand it. Shoot! I don’t even always like it. I don’t like what God says sometimes. But, God, even if I don’t like what you say, I’m going to build my life on what you say because I know you’re not going to lie to me. It’s the truth.”
You want to build your life on the Word of God. I don’t always agree with it. I don’t always like it. It’s not always convenient. It’s not always politically correct. But if God said it, it’s got to be true. So, God, I’m going to build my life on the Bible. It is my final authority. Not Oprah, not Dr. Phil. Not what is popular. Not based on my emotions. This is my final authority for life.
- I FEED ON IT.
You have to feed on the Bible to get the strength you need. The Bible tells us that the word of God is spiritual food; in fact it uses several pictures. The Bible describes itself as the water, the milk, the bread, and the meat of the spiritual life. So that’s everything that you’re going to need for sustenance. But you have to be feeding yourself; you have to be eating something.
Because just like you need physical food for physical strength, you’ve got to have spiritual food for spiritual strength. So you have to be feeding yourself constantly all the time.
If you’re a commander in the army, would you send a person into battle who hadn’t had a meal in a month? Of course not. We need to feed ourselves so we have strength to accomplish the tasks ahead of us.
The Bible says that we’re all building. The Bible also says we’re all in spiritual warfare. You’re not going to have much success on building your life or in winning the spiritual battles you face if you’re starving yourself to death. So we need to be feeding ourselves on the Word of God.
One of the things I’ve found is, unlike regular food, when I feed on the Word, the more I eat the hungrier I get. The more I taste to see how good the Lord is, the more of the sweetness of the honey of the Word, the milk of the Word, the hungrier I get for it. So, I need to be feeding myself on the Word.
Colossian 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Let it dwell in you. Let it move into you. Let it inhabit you; take up residence in a rich, profound, and life-giving way. That’s what that verse is saying.
Earlier in this series we talked about how we:
- Receive God’s Word with our ears.
- Read it with my eyes.
- Research it with my hands and my mouth.
- Reflect on it with my mind
- Remember it with my heart.
- I LIVE IT.
The Word of God is not only food for your soul; the Word of God is your standard of living. It is the Word of God that sets the standard by which you judge everything else of value in your life. It’s the standard by which you make decisions for the things you are facing in life.
The Bible says in Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the one who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but who meditates on the word of God.”
What does that mean? It means if you want your life to be blessed you don’t build your life on the counsel of the world, on the way the world thinks. But you meditate; you live your life based on the way that God thinks.
The counsel of the ungodly, that’s the stuff we hear all the time – on television, in movies, in print media. It’s the talk that goes on around the world around us. It’s the values of the world. And the Bible says if you want your life to be blessed you don’t live your life by that kind of counsel; but live your life by the Word of God.
It’s the Word of God that will give you hope when you’re in crisis. It’s the Word of God that will give you comfort when you are in despair. It’s the Word of God that will give you strength when you are weak. It’s the Word of God that will give you wisdom when you’re confused. It’s the Word of God that will give you guidance when you’re looking for direction. And it’s the Word of God that will give you strength to resist and fight against temptation.
You might have noticed that I brought a glass of water up with me and then placed a tea bag in it as I started speaking. Do you see what’s happened in just the last couple of minutes I’ve been talking? This water has absorbed the color and the flavor and the aroma and the character of the tea.
But something else has happened to this water. It’s taken on a whole new identity because we no longer call this a glass of water. We now call it a glass of tea.
When you let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly you absorb the nature of Christ, the flavor and the aroma of Christ. But something else happens to you. You take on a whole new identity and you begin to become the man or the woman of God that he has always wanted you to become. You begin to become the man or woman of God that you have always wanted to be when you let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Not only do you know what the Word of God says, you begin to become more and more like the author. You live it.
- I GROW THROUGH IT.
The Bible is often referred to as a seed. It’s planted in your heart. When the truth is planted in your heart, if it finds good soil, it grows and it produces fruit. God wants you to be fruitful in your life. In order to have that, you’ve got to have an open heart. You’ve got to have a receptive heart. You’ve got to have good soil in your life.
Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
There are lots of wonderful things in the Bible, but you can’t see them unless God opens your eyes. That means being receptive. I’ve got to be open to the Word of God. So if I’m going to become a man or woman of the Word I’ve got to be open to it. That means even when I don’t like it, I’m open to it and I’m going to listen to it.
Jesus told a whole story about this in Luke 8. It’s called the parable of the soils. He says, a farmer goes out and sows seed and it falls on four different kinds of soil and it gets four different kinds of results. This represents four different attitudes that you can have toward the Bible. I used to think that the four soils represent four different kinds of people. They don’t. They represent our attitudes and on the same day I can have all four attitudes.
- Hardened Soil – CLOSED Mind
- Shallow Soil – SUPERFICIAL Mind
- Soil with Weeds – PREOCCUPIED Mind
- Fertile Soil – WILLING Mind
- I ACT ON IT.
James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
If I go to church and I listen to it, but it goes in one ear and out the other, I’m living a life of self-deception. I think because I’ve written notes down I’ve got it. No. I don’t have it. I only believe the part of the Bible I actually do.
We’ve spent a lot of time these past few weeks talking about personal application, about how to be a doer of the Word.
Finally there’s one last thing I need to do with the Word of God if I’m going to become that person that has an integrated life of integrity.
I build on it, I feed on it, I live by it, I grow through it, I act on it, and I then live it out by trusting in it.
- I TRUST IN IT.
Why can I trust the Bible? God is never going to guide you in the wrong direction. Other people will. Even well-meaning people. I’ve had dear friends give me advice, and it was the wrong advice. You’ve had friends who love you deeply and gave you advice but it was the wrong advice. Even well-meaning people often will steer you in the wrong way. But God will never do that.
You can always trust him. If he tells you to go that way, you’d better go that way because it’s always going to be the right way. It’s going to be the best way it’s going to cause a whole lot less problems if you do that.
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
I call this the flashlight verse of the Bible. Your word is a lamp for my feet. It’s like flashlight showing me so I don’t stub my toe at night and a light for my path.
Are you ever in the dark? Yeah, all the time. Some of you are going, “I don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m supposed to do about this relationship I’m in right now … I haven’t the slightest idea whether I should accept this job offer … I haven’t the slightest idea where I should invest next … What I should do with the next five years of my life. I’m confused.”
No, you’re in the dark. What do you do when you’re in the dark? You flip on the light. The next time you’re in the dark and you’re confused and you don’t know which way to turn and you don’t know what to do and where to go you just say, “God, you’ve said in Psalm 119:105, ‘Your word is a light to my feet and a lamp for my path.’ God, keep your promise. I’m going to start reading your word. Show me what you want me to do.”
If you go to the Word and you say, “Lord, I’m trusting that your Word will be a lamp to my feet and a light for my path, in other words you’re going to show me the path to walk on, you’re going to lead me in the dark. When I’m confused and I don’t know what to do about this relationship, but you promised and I am going to trust in your Word,” you will see amazing things happen.
Here’s what I want to challenge you to do as we wrap up this series to make a commitment to keep on doing what you’ve been doing – not to stop, but to continue in the Word of God. I want to challenge you to keep on being in a small group and I want to challenge you to keep on reading the Bible every day, having a daily quiet time, a daily devotion.
If you want to change groups and get a new one, that’s fine. If you want to start a whole new group, that’s fine. But keep the habit of a group study and keep the habit of personal study so that you can become a man of the Word or a woman of the Word.
I encourage you to say, “I commit to living a life transformed by God’s Word, by reading God’s Word daily, by putting God’s Word into action.”
Father, I want to thank you for the Word of God. I thank you that it calms our fears. It enlightens our mind. It strengthens our will. It grows our maturity. I thank you, Lord, that it calms our worries and it leads us in the dark. All the things that your Word does we want to commit to being a part of an ongoing process of continuing in your word.
If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, say Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all but I open my life to you. I want to start that journey. I want to get to know you and I want to know your purpose for my life. In your name I pray. Amen.