Friday, January 9, 2015
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Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting Old Jerusalem. And as I walked through that city, I saw a peculiar site. Some Israeli soldiers who appeared to be on a holiday, because they had their arm around their girl, they were laughing, they were shopping. The curious part was that they each had a gun strapped over their shoulder; the Uzi with a full clip of ammunition. Those Israeli soldiers, well they know that they always need to be prepared for war, even when they're taking the day off. They always carry their weapon.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never Without Your Weapon."
Now our word for today from the Word of God, we're in Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. (I will not read it all, our program is too short for that). But it is appropriately devoted to the power of the Word of God. Verse 9: "How can a young man keep his way pure?" Now, you may or may not be young, but I'll bet you've asked the question, "How can I win over this temptation?" Here's the answer, "By living according to Your Word, Lord."
Then he says, "I seek you with all my heart. Do not let me stray from your command." In other words, "Lord, I really want to do the right thing, but sometimes I get off on a detour." And here's the strategy for winning that battle. "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you." So here's David talking about memorizing the words of God from the Bible and making them part of your personality.
See, that's the weapon you use to fight sin and temptation. You say, "Oh, I read the Bible." No, this is talking about knowing the Bible by heart; memorizing it. For example, I've memorized Ephesians 6:10-18, it's the great passage on spiritual warfare. And many mornings as I get ready or I haven't been feeling that great, or I'm facing some heavy load or maybe some gloomy stuff, I quote that passage. And many times it has turned the spiritual tide of my heart.
D. L. Moody said, "When you think sin, think scripture." And you can't do that if you don't have scripture buried in your personality by memorization. You can't always reach for your Bible, but you can reach in and pull up whatever you've made part of you. This is like portable spiritual power wrapped up in scripture committed to memory.
Now if you haven't been consciously, consistently committing verses to memory, you're just a lot weaker than you need to be. What are some of the promises of God that stand out in those moments when, let's say, worry is winning? Well how about memorizing Psalm 55:22, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall." Now, I've sent that verse to the door many times when worry's been knocking.
Or learn His promises that will help you fight temptation. Like 1 Corinthians 10:13: "There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful! He will not allow you to be tempted more than you are able, but with the temptation also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it." How about James 4:7, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Or that great spiritual warfare passage in Ephesians 6.
How about learning the warnings of scripture to fight sin with when it looks inviting? James 1:15 is a great one, "Desire, when it is conceived, gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death." All of a sudden you're reminded that the sin that looked so good is a killer. Write the verses you want to memorize on a card, and then learn them by a handle, a title on them: temptation, worry, whatever you want to use as your subject matter. Keep that card in places where you always go. Review, review, review. Try it out on as many people as you can.
Those Israeli soldiers have won the respect of the whole world. That day in Jerusalem I saw one reason why. They know something that every follower of Christ has got to remember. We have to always be prepared for war. A battle can break out anytime. And it doesn't stop just because you're relaxing.
So, always carry your weapons; the artillery of God's Word that you've got hidden in your heart.