This past Sunday night our church began working through a wonderful book titled "Returning to Holiness." Written by Greg Frizzell of the General Baptist Convention of Oklahoma, it stands out because of how shockingly simple it is in format yet crushing in how it penetrates the soul. The book divides into seven chapters, each dealing with a particular category of sin that Scripture speaks to in the Christian life. Each chapter is filled with topical Scripture verses that are relevant to the sin issue at hand, immediately followed by an admonition concerning the danger of that sin's continual residence in the believer's heart. He then provides questions that are intended to help examine the depth of our hearts as we prayerfully consider if confession and repentance are necessary. I must confess, I have numerous pages in my journal already filled from sins revealed to me!
This past week our first subject was "sins of thought." I preached from Psalm 119:15-16: "I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy Word." The question I posed was this: how can we remove old, worldly, sinful thoughts that hinder our walk with Christ and replace them with thoughts honoring to Him. I presented a simple outline of four words, followed by a summary statement:
1. Read: The Art of Dwelling upon God's Word
2. Reflect: The Art of Doing God's Word
3. Rejoice: The Art of Delighting in God's Word
4. Remember: The Art of Devoting God's Word to Memory
All four must be a consistent presence in our daily lives to do battle against the sins of thought Satan will thrust our way. As Frizzell said in the book, "you cannot love God and not love His Word." And may I add, point three is the crucial element. If you simply have reading, reflecting, and remembering the word of God in your life, you will be a blissful legalist. Pharisees can do all of those quite well. Only a Jesus loving, Spirit filled, sanctification hungry Christian can find joy in opening the Bible for the purpose of raking out the sinful thoughts of lust, pride, greed, etc, and replace them with God's Truth. May God grant us all that grace!