Thursday, January 14, 2016

Guard My Ways

In our youth program, AWANA, we memorize scripture. The very best help I've ever found for memorizing scripture is DVDs from Seeds Family Worship, which are full of songs that are word-by-word scripture. One of our AWANA favorites is Psalm 119:9-11: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart, I seek You. Let me not wander from Your commandments. I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You."

I've been convicted by this verse! It's so easy for us Christians to look at our lives and say, "I'm doing a pretty good job at this following-the-rules thing!" No, I'm not a murderer. I don't steal things. But the Bible tells us that "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 8:23) I am a sinner, which separates me from God just as surely as if I were a murderer or thief.

So I need to guard my way according to God's Word. I need to read the Bible and apply it to myself, not point fingers at others. I need to study my life and learn to love God with all my heart, with all my strength, and with all my mind. I need to ask His help in doing these things because I am incapable of succeeding on my own.

This message came home to me this week in an unusual way: My habit of late is to watch a show on Netflix while I complete other tasks, like washing dishes or working on glass. Occasionally, I get "hooked" on a show and watch several episodes in a couple of days. I'm not watching "bad" shows, by any measure, but I realized that I was watching instead of reading insights into the Bible and God. I realized that I was watching instead of listening to Christian radio. I realized I was using my time to follow the story of the TV show instead of using my time to follow Christ.

Now, I don't believe that TV is evil, in and of itself. I don't believe that the shows I watch are evil. But I do see how watching these shows is eating up time I could use to learn more about God. And I do see how my mind is churning to understand what's going on in the shows instead of churning on what is going on in the Bible, in my life, or our world.

So, my plan at this point is to spend more time listening to Christian songs, reading Christian books, and studying my Bible. I'm not planning to give up Netflix, but I am limiting myself to one show per day. No more binges. I'm going to be intentional about pursuing Christ. With my whole heart I seek You.


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