A brief examination of Psalm 119 reveals benefits gained by those who absorb the Word. Let's put three of them, wisdom, insight, and understanding,to the test by looking at a case study.
Let's imagine you recently got a job that has proven to be less than you expected. You prayed for employment, then, lo and behold, this job opened up. You were grateful. After a few weeks, however, you have found that the working conditions leave much to be desired. Furthermore, the fellow employees are all non-Christian and petty. Your first and natural response would be disappointment, perhaps even disillusionment. This would lead to daily irritations and possible arguments with others. Your life could soon become consumed by negative, pessimistic assaults on others—maybe even God. Exit motivation. Enter low enthusiasm.
How much better to apply some basic, biblical principles! Let's say you were deeply into God's Word, absorbing wisdom, cultivating insight, gaining understanding. You discover from Romans 8:28 that God uses all things for your good, even unpleasant experiences. You also discover from Romans 5:3-5 that God uses difficult times to help us grow mature in faith.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
This truth gives you a different perspective. You are the Lord's personal "project." His plan is to develop you into a mature, stable person. He has your good at heart. Nothing is coincidental in the Christian life; all things (even your miserable job!) are tools in God's hands, and He is lovingly shaping your character. You learn to accept that your job, with all its limitations and irritations, is a perfect place for God to mature you and make you more like His Son. Rather than resist or look for the first escape, you resolve to greet each day as another opportunity to grow in grace toward others and submission to Him. Wisdom helps you look at your situation from His viewpoint.
Then, those who work around you don't bother you as much because God's Word has taught you how to see through their surface problems. You now see that their verbal assaults are indicative of a deeper problem of inner unrest. You also learn that you need not take their abuse personally, for it really isn't directed at you personally. Soon, your insight has saved you from an ugly, irritating, retaliatory spirit. Instead of arguing with them, you find ways to help your coworkers.
You have now begun to respond to your once-irritating occupation with a positive attitude. Time spent in the Letter of James, for example, has taught you to be very careful about what you say and how you behave before those who don't know Christ personally. Furthermore, in your doing a diligent job regardless of the circumstances, you have gleaned understanding. And to your own great surprise, you have actually begun to enjoy and accept the challenge of your situation because you know it is exactly where the Lord wants you. It is an ideal place for making Christ known.
Don't misunderstand. I can't guarantee that through regular interaction with Scripture you can transform your environment. Some circumstances are beyond help. Believe me, as a pastor, I never rule out the possibility of miraculous, divine intervention, but I have become wise enough to recognize my own limitations. So, I don't want to create the impression that you can change the world by gaining spiritual understanding. I guarantee, however, that you will be transformed. And through your spiritual growth, the Lord may improve your environment a great deal. Regardless, you will be changed. Your attitude will change. Enthusiasm will fill the void created by helplessness and hopelessness.
God's Word is for you, my friend, not just the theologian or the pastor; it's for you! There is no situation that you cannot face if you are really serious about spending time on a regular basis in the Book of books! And a great place to start is Psalm 119, especially if the grind of low enthusiasm has begun to take its toll.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.