in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.2 Thessalonians 2:12 ESV
How often do I find myself living as though I do not believe the truth? How often do I neglect the truth of God’s word and find myself seeking the pleasure of unrighteousness? Unfortunately, I think this answer is exceedingly more frequent than I care to admit. My heart oftentimes yearns for the pleasure that is offered by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Even with the truth so readily available to me in God’s word, the weakness of my heart brings foolishness to bear in my life.
What is the remedy for this? There are a lot of good answers to this, but I think the key element of staying grounded in the truth is incorporating God’s truth, his word, into every crevice of my heart, mind, and soul.
• Daily reading Gods word: By this I mean the daily intentional reading through the Bible book by book and chapter by chapter. There is no substitute for this basic truth. I need God’s word to penetrate into my soul and this all begins by reading his word. For me, this is reading through the Old Testament every two years and the New Testament every year. This gives me a solid grounding of the Bible as a whole and allows me to see big picture truths of God’s word interacting with each other in both testaments.
• Daily reflecting on God’s word: This involves taking a verse or passage from my reading spending some time reflecting on the truth God is presenting and how it speaks into my life. How does this truth reveal sin and weakness in my heart? How does this truth bring joy and worship into my soul? Taking time to really think and ponder God’s word and it’s impact in my life. Journaling my thoughts and prayers as I let God’s word interact with what is happening in real time for me.
• Regular studying of God’s word: This is a deeper dive into a specific book or topic of the Bible. Recently, I have been reading and thinking through 3 or 4 commentaries on the same book of the Bible. I like to have one that is technical, one that is expository, and one that is application focused. I have found that this gives me a well balanced understanding of the study and allows me to dig deeper into the word, while also taking that knowledge from my head to my heart.
• Meditating on God’s word: This is a more casual approach to thinking about God’s word throughout the day. Typically, I take the passage from my reflection and turn it over and over in my mind. I think abut my journal and how this verse or passage speaks to my heart. I have found this most helpful as it helps me keep God’s word and his truth in the forefront of my thoughts. Therefore impacting my actions throughout the day.
I have found over time that when these four elements are missing from my day and week, that I tend to spiral out of control and embrace the pleasure of unrighteousness. When I am not actively engaging my mind, informing my heart, and feeding my soul, then my actions tend toward unrighteousness. I wouldn’t say that if I miss a day or two that I immediately fall into the pattern of seeking pleasure in the flesh, but I would say that my desire to have these elements in my daily routine is a good indicator of my spiritual health. For when I am craving the pleasures of unrighteousness, it is then that I tend to shy away from the truth of God’s word?
Why? Because I know I am acting against the truth. I know that this pleasure is fleeting and disobedient. I neglect God’s word because it speaks truth into the lies I want to believe. So the vicious cycle of sin seeking to destroy my soul takes hold. It is only God’s grace that brings me back. It is the gentle loving Spirit working in my heart that reminds me of the truth of this passage… believing the lies and having pleasure in unrighteousness will only lead to condemnation and separation from God himself.
So I must battle and fight and struggle to keep myself firmly planted in God’s word. Not just out of duty or for a reward, but out of love. It is in the Bible that I learn not only the truth of my weakness, but the truth of the beauty and glory of Christ. It is in the Bible that I engage with the Creator of the universe… My holy Father who loves me perfectly.
Journal Entry // September 30, 2021