How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:9-11)
The word of God is such a wonderful blessing in our lives! By its precepts sins are cleansed. Through its commandments, the young man’s whole heart is turned toward seeking and finding God. By implanting it deep within your heart it shields you from sin. Do not take for granted God’s word. It belongs to God, and He has given it to you for your holiness. Trust it, build your faith upon it, and by keeping it you will walk with God.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5)
Both the light of day and the dark of night testify of the power and presence of God. They come in their appointed rounds each day; not by chance, but by divine design. By God’s word light appeared, and by His word light and darkness received their names (“day” and “night”). Humans have no power to hold back the light of day nor restrain the dark of night; both are under God’s control. As the light dawns on a new day, pause to recall the good thing God did when He gave this world light. And, as the sun sinks in the west, be assured that God has established the day and the night until the end of time. Praise God’s great and powerful name for the goodness He does for the children of men!
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him…” (Hebrews 2:1-3)
What parent has not said to a child, “Pay attention to what I’m saying!”? God is saying the same thing to us, His children. To “give the more earnest heed” not only means to pay attention, but to do so more abundantly. Be especially careful to listen to God’s word (“the things we have heard”). It is easy to negligent what we know God’s word says. There is real spiritual danger in not giving careful attention to the gospel of Christ. “Lest we drift away” warns of our spiritual demise if we “neglect so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3). God does indeed punish sin. He did under the first covenant, and He will under the new covenant of Christ. Strengthen yourself today by giving abundant attention to the word of the Lord Jesus. Follow Him and remain steadfast in faith.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21-22)
Being a Christian is preeminently practical. You must live what you profess, otherwise, you are deceiving yourself. You certainly do not deceive Christ by professing Him while practicing sin. Note that being “doers of the word” does not minimize God’s grace, in fact, grace is obtained by “obedience to the faith” (Rom. 1:5). To receive God’s word into your heart you must remove sin through repentance. Just as flowers cannot grow in weed-infested soil, God’s word cannot grow in your heart while sin is growing there. Upon “laying aside” all forms of sin you must also receive God’s word with meekness, the humble calmness that does not object to truth, but willingly yields to it. Yes, being a Christian is practical. Be a doer of the word. Implant God’s word in your heart, obey it and be saved.
Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
Respect. It used to be drilled into the minds and conduct of most children. Now, an evil, perverted form of respect prevails in some parts of America. You are only “respected” if you are a member of a gang, carry (and use) a gun, have the right tattoo, do drugs or speak a certain (vulgar) slang. Even where these perversions do not exist, it is more and more rare to witness common respect these days. Opening a door for a woman and allowing her to enter first used to show respect; now it is viewed by many as “sexist”. Addressing someone with “Sir” and “Ma’am” used to signal regard for the older, more experienced person. (Now, some even view it as disrespectful!) Christians must always give “honor to whom honor” is due (Rom. 13:7). Treat the aged with dignity and the younger with purity. And, be patient with the hoary head. By God’s grace, one day you will be among that number, too.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
The same God who told husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, also told wives to be subject to their husbands in everything. God established order in the church: Christ is “head of the church”, and the church “is subject to Christ”. God has established order in marriage: the husband is “head of the wife”, and the wife is subject to him “in everything”. The wife who is unwilling to follow the leadership of her husband is not following the leadership of Christ. Cries of “chauvinism” and “bigotry” notwithstanding, when husbands lead and wives respectfully yield to their leadership, both are following the example of Christ and the church. God established roles in marriage, not as marks of superiority and inferiority, but as markers of love and devotion. Successful marriages accept and respect these God-given responsibilities.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
The love of Christ for His church sent Him willingly to the cross. His objective was her cleansing and holiness through the new birth. The result of his love was to present to Himself an unblemished bride, redeemed from sin. Christ’s unselfish, sacrificial love is the pattern of love each husband is to have for his wife. Love is active, just as Christ actively loved the church. Love your wife by putting her needs ahead of your wants and wishes. Jesus did that. While desiring to escape the pain and death of the cross (“if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me”, Matt. 26:39), nonetheless, He “gave Himself for her”. Thank God for Christ’s unselfish love! Husband, you will improve your marriage by loving your wife the same way. Follow Christ’s example and love your wife unselfish, sacrificial devotion every day.