Friday, April 29, 2011

Learning to reflect

 How can a young person stay pure?
      By obeying your word.
(Psalm 119:9)

When we are seeking answers, God is the one who keeps watch over what we are searching for - he guides us to the answers.  Our passage today may be familiar to some, yet new to others.  The neat thing about God's word is that no matter how many times you read it, you can find new encouragement for today.  If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we really don't know how to keep our lives on track 100% of the time - we have a tendency to "drift" into stuff that is convenient, easiest, etc.  These things that are most convenient are seldom the best for us - what comes too easily is often something that will have the least benefit for our lives.

That is exactly why some struggle with the study of God's word - it is not always easy to find the meaning in the message!  It seems "veiled" or kind of difficult to  fully grasp.  Yet, David writes that a person desiring to have a pure heart will hide that word deep in the heart - deep enough to have it impact our emotions, thoughts, and actions.  We may not fully understand what it is that we read, but when we are doing it from a heart that desires to be made pure, God will take what we read and help us use it as we need it.

The simple truth is that a man or woman of purity will delight in the principles God teaches.  When we delight in the intake of God's word, it brings us close to the heart of God.  When we go one step further, by delighting in the embracing of that word, learning to follow it, we excite God's heart.  The word of God is not a magical book of "spells" that one can quote and see things happen in a "poof".  It is a record of God's extreme love, his unending grace, and his uncompromising values.  From the pages of the word, we find evidence of grace, causing us to trust in the unmerited favor of a holy God in welcoming us into his presence.

Purity is the result of embracing the direction (instruction) of the Lord found within the word of God.  Principles can be taught by anyone - but they are of no value if they are not embraced.  David's advice to us is that we embrace God's principles by "rehearsing" them frequently.  He tells us to hide them in our heart - bringing them up over and over again until they become foundational in our lives.  What may not make sense to us at one point in our lives may be just what we need at a later time.  When it is hidden in the recesses of our hearts, it is there when the time arises.

Study is the application of information - the intense searching until we become satisfied with what is learned.  Reflection is the ability to bring to memory (over and over again) what it is that we have put within through the process of study.  We may not fully understand, but our intensity in searching helps us come to the place of learning.  In times of reflection, the "learning" is cemented.  It is in the reflection that what is "put in" during times of study becomes rich and meaningful - simply because of the frequency of exposure to the truth we are considering.

So, don't grow weary in learning to reflect upon what is not immediately apparent in God's word - it may take a little reflection to bring out the richness of the truths contained.  In the reflecting times, we are delighting God's heart.