Journal Entry // May 29, 2022
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8 ESV
This verse has always seemed so attainable to me throughout my walk with Christ. It seems like this should be the easiest and most simple step in all that we are asked to do. Yet, I find that this verse is a tremendous challenge in my life. It is one that I can easily twist just slightly and misunderstand the purpose and power of this statement from God to Joshua. There are three aspects of this call that I need to fully understand and comprehend for faithfulness and fidelity.
“Not depart from your mouth” – All my words at all times should be reflective of the Word of God that is settled deep within me. This means my words and my language are of extreme importance. The words that I choose are an indicator of the status of my heart. Coarse and foul language reveal the taint of sin growing and penetrating into my heart. How I treat others with my words reveals the depths of God’s love in my heart as well. My words are of extreme importance and they reveal the state of my heart and call attention to my need of repentance.
“Meditate on it day and night” – I think I have always thought of this as my spiritual disciplines: Reading, praying, fasting, journaling, and stewardship. These are all good things and I need to be doing these very things. I need to be intentional about using these spiritual disciplines to engage with the Word of God in a deep intimate relationship. I have in the past simply seen these disciplines as a task list. Something that needed to be done because it was important and needed in my life. Over time, I lost the personal connection with Jesus that these disciplines are meant to encourage. I used these disciplines as a means to follow the Law, which they are not. They are of extreme importance, but they are not following the Law.
“Careful to do according to all that is written in it” – This is the key. The first two points are encouraging me to engage my heart with the Word of Christ. These first two points are teaching me to saturate my heart and mind with the commandments of Christ and to engage with him on a personal level. I am to build and develop and deepen my relationship with Jesus. I am learning about him through engaging my heart with all that he has revealed in his word. And what should I do with all this knowledge? It should change me. It should show me how to live and act in this world. I am to be careful to be attentive to what is written in the Bible and then I am to be obedient.
This is where I missed the point previously. I was not careful to follow ALL that is in God’s Word. I would pick and choose those things I wanted to obey and ignore those points that I didn’t agree with or just didn’t want to follow. God’s calling to follow him is to the whole of the Law. We don’t pick and choose what is best for our life. It is all best for our life. I hear the same admonition to me that God made to Joshua before and after this verse… be strong and courageous. Why? Because following this verse is going to be difficult. Difficult in that I am going to have to work hard to keep my heart and mind in line with the commandments of God. It will take the strength of Jesus living within me to accomplish this. It will only be accomplished through the life changing work of the Holy Spirit as he dwells within me. It will take humility and dependence upon Jesus as I examine my weakness and embrace my Savior daily and at all times.