Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey His laws
and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in His paths.
You have charged us
to keep Your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect Your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with Your commands.
As I learn Your righteous regulations,
I will thank You by living as I should!
Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful, joyful way to live? Keeping the Lord’s commandments, walking only in His paths, our actions living out thankfulness and praise to Him. How wonderful to be able to say we have no shame or regrets when we compare our lives to His teaching. Are we living that life?
Or was there, instead, a little voice in your head that objected when you read those verses? Maybe a whisper, “Yes, but … it’s so hard. That sounds like a perfect life, but no one’s perfect.” Apparently David had those same thoughts, because his next promise and prayer is this:
I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me!
A prayer for all of us!
I’ve been reading the red print in my Bible and thinking about the things Jesus asks me to do. It’s all pretty difficult stuff for us humans to live out. Here are some of the things Christ asks of those who have set their hearts and minds on following Him:
Don’t worry about tomorrow; trust Him completely to supply what I need.
Pray for people I don’t like and who don’t like me.
Turn the other cheek. (Does that mean when someone hurts me, I’m to keep myself open to being hurt again? Maybe even give them another opportunity??!)
Forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and …
Bite my tongue and squash judgmental thoughts.
Have faith that mountains can be moved (mountains, mind you!)
Love God more than anybody or anything else.
Love others as much as I love myself.
Go into all the world and be a witness.
Keep all of His commandments. Yes, that’s what He said—“If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.”
So, how are you doing with all those commands? Every single one of those things are too hard for me.
But I want to live that way.Oh, how I want to! David says people who live according to God’s Word live joyful lives and right living is our expression of thanks to God. Jesus promises, too, that living this way is a blessed life, it shows our love for Him, and gives us full and overflowing joy.
I pray David’s prayer: Oh, that I could do this consistently, Lord! Please don’t give up on me!
Because, of course, all of those things Jesus asks me to do are impossible. Impossible for me. Impossible, unless some power greater than myself enables me to keep His commands. And that’s the really, really, good news —
And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.)The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. (Rom. 8:2,9,11 My emphasis added)
Isn’t that amazing? The Spirit of God, with a power that can raise the dead to life, now lives in me, lives in you. Just imagine what that kind of power can do in our lives. But wait! (as the commercials say) There’s more!
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. (Rom. 8:12)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. (Gal. 5:16)
We have no obligation, no excuse, no reason, no compulsion, no necessity to live by our human nature. Wow. Just let that sink in for a moment. Do we believe it? Will we live by that promise of God?
Jesus asks us to live a life by the Spirit, not by our human nature. Galatians 5:17 says the battle between the two is always going on, but the Spirit is powerful and will give us the opposite of what our human nature desires.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and have crucified them there…let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Gal. 5:24-25)
Jesus nailed my human nature to the cross and He frees me of its limitations!
Spirit, may your power give me the life Jesus wants me to live. I will obey, Lord Jesus. Please don’t give up on me!