your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that i may live. [psalm 119:144]
God’s testimonies (God’s law) lead his people to be in right standing with the Father, and the Father is life. within the bounds of God’s law, there is true freedom!
a term used among the french is, joie de vivre- the joy of life. true freedom that God so lovingly bestows upon his people, through his testimonies, allows his followers to experience what life is like when they live with a sense of joie de vivre. we, his people, are able to live a life of joy because we know that earth is not our forever home, and we are called to live out the more excellent way of living! praise God!
philemon 1:7- your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
living with joy is not always an easy task. in philemon 1:7, paul urges philemon to forgive and accept his slave, onesimus. sometimes the greatest joy comes from the ability forgive others, accept them where they are at, and show the love of Christ to them.
what is one small act of kindness that you can offer to someone to show them the love of God and the joy he has for his people?
with my whole heart i cry; answer me, o Lord! i will keep your statutes.
have you ever prayed something like this, “God if you save me from (insert undesirable situation here), i will follow you forever!!”. then about two seconds after God delivers you from your impending troubles, you go back to your old ways. where did the disconnect occur? half hearted prayer, no answer from God, or an inability to keep his statutes? these may be part of the reason as to why we turn back to old patterns, but it boils down to the motivation for prayer. rather than for people to escape the outcomes of their actions, God desires for his people to draw close to him. this is the reason we pray and cry out to God- so that we may draw in close to him and be in his presence! the more God shows his presence, the call to keep his statutes will also increase.
ezekiel 36:26- and i will give you a new heart, and a new spirit i will put within you. and i will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
although a heart of flesh is prone to wander from God, it is better than a heart of stone. flesh is malleable, but stone is set in its ways.
may God open your heart so that you can receive a heart of flesh and not be bound by the weight that a heart of stone carries!
~ angela younger