You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
— Psalm 16:11
Maturity is an interesting thing. It seems the less mature you are, the less you recognize it. However, the more mature you are, the more mature you want to become. I know that sounds like a riddle, but it is true. When you are young, you don’t know what you don’t know and, frankly, you don’t care. But once you have a little more life under your belt, you realize how little you actually know.
This past Sunday at c|Life, we taught on an encouraging truth: God wants to and is willing to be our counsel. He desires to walk with us and teach us so that we can walk in His will. He wants us to avoid the difficult lessons we learn through the school of personal experience. He wants to make our paths straight, yet we so often go our own way rather than seek truth in his counsel. As a result, we grow bitter and frustrated. We lose our joy.
As I said in my sermon on Sunday, joy is birthed out of godly counsel, healthy boundaries, and obeying the wisdom of God. Heartache and misery are birthed out of going our own way and doing our own thing. So, how can we avoid those pitfalls? There are several ways, but none are more effective and beneficial than studying and learning from the Bible.
I am convinced that the reason we don’t know more about the Bible is because we do not study. We make all kinds of excuses, but at the end of the day, it isn’t a memory issue or an issue of complexity. At the end of the day, we don’t study the Bible because, at worst, we don’t really think it makes a difference or, at best, we just don’t think it matters. We memorize all kinds of information and data that matters to us, so the reason we don’t study and memorize scripture must be because it really just doesn’t matter to us.
This is tragic! The Bible is a gift from God that enables us to learn about Him. The Bible is chock full of timeless wisdom. It is overflowing with instruction on how to lead and live a godly life. It has much to say about parenting, marriage, leadership, honesty, and purity, just to name a few. Yet, all too often, we read these truths and then go our own way. We live in direct violation of the commands and will of God and then wonder why we have no joy in our lives. It is because we haven’t trusted the one who knows us best and loves us the most.
As you go throughout this day and even this week, I hope you will be faithful to open the Bible and begin reading it. Download the YouVersion Bible app and find a reading plan. Call a friend and see if they would be willing to hold you accountable to reading the Word of God. Sit down every day, open your Bible and before you read, pray. Ask God to give you understanding that is beyond your training. Just get in the Word. Why? Because when you get into the Word of God, the Word of God gets into you. It begins to give you hope where there was once hopelessness. It will give you peace in the midst of chaos. It will be a light to your feet on an otherwise dark path. It will replace the circumstance-based emotion of happiness with the constant, unwavering joy that can only come from a dependence on the one true God. Get in the Word and watch how the Spirit of God begins to cultivate joy in your life.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16–17