If you have ever been "taken in" by something, you know how "off-guard" it caught you. You did not prepare, got caught in the moment, and then fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Sin has a way of "taking us in" - catching us off-guard. There is but one thing to protect us from being "taken in" when sin's promises and our own lust entice us to do something or act a certain way. It is the correction of discipline which keeps us from being "taken in". Notice, I said the "correction" of discipline - for no discipline is without correction. Even if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, rising early, taking walks, getting enough rest, etc. - there will be times when you need to "correct" your actions to still "match" the discipline you are trying to achieve. More than anything, we need the "action" of the Word over our soul - correcting and guiding toward discipline.
Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress. (Proverbs 7:1-5 MSG)
There are certain actions God expects of us as we respond to the Word. In essence, without the actions, we are just consumers of the Word - we don't allow it to discipline our lives. There will be times when we need a little correction, putting us back on track to exhibit the disciplines in life God desires for his children. In essence, God asks six actions of us with regard to his Word:
- Follow it. We need to be pursuing the truths contained within its chapters, making every effort to attain the truths. It is one thing to attain something, it is quite another to allow it to affect your life. Following involves not only apprehending a truth, but allowing it to become a way of life for us. We are to become "imitators" of the truths contained within.
- Treasure it. The idea is of collecting and storing up for the times of future need. We never really know when the time of need will arise, but when our storehouses are full, we have sufficient to draw from. That which is stored up is held as precious - it is a reserve we count on when the need exists. We all find ourselves in the position of counting on something being there when the need arises - but we cannot go through life thinking we will always be able to "sponge" on someone else has stored up! We need to do a little of this "storing up" ourselves.
- Obey it. Compliance and execution go hand in hand. When we determine to act a certain way, execution of our actions becomes practiced and reliable. If we never really learn the lessons, we find it difficult to practice the disciplines.
- Guard it. Something which is guarded is both protected and defended. Truth protects us, but we must always be 'on guard' as it relates to the truth we allow to take up a place of residence in our hearts. Truth can be mixed with untruth - it is how we embrace untruth. God asks for us to maintain a watchfulness over what it is we embrace and hold to be true - test it, find out its integrity, and then discard all which does not hold up under the scrutiny of the Word.
- Remember it. The Word is the best place to look to see the reminders of the intensity of God's love toward each of us. It is also the place where we get to understand how he acts on our behalf and what his power is capable of doing for those who place their trust in it. The more we rehearse the Word, the more we are reminded of these things. Rehearse the right stuff and the right stuff will be in your storehouse when you need it most.
- Write it. The location of this "writing" is to be deep within our hearts. It is as though God were asking us to allow his Word to imprint our hearts - guarding them against the many things which attempt to invade our hearts with their untruths. Imprinting is when something or someone leaves a mark on your heart. There is nothing more awesome than when God leaves his mark in our lives!
The Word in our lives affords us protection, correction, and discipline. The place of compromise is often outside of the boundaries God sets over our lives. This place is most easily recognized when we have taken the actions God asks of us as it applies to how we handle and embrace his Word. If we engage in senseless activity, the outcome is more than likely going to be less than stellar. When we begin to engage in the active intake of his Word and the impression it leaves, life choices begin to be less "senseless" and more "mindful". God's desire is for us to have wisdom - something akin to common sense, but based upon getting to know him better each day. When we allow his truth to get inside us, imprinting our impressionable hearts, we will be able to discern truth where we are the most "naive" in our understanding and beliefs. Just sayin!