One of our great responsibilities as individuals is to protect those we love. One of my great duties as a husband is to protect my wife and children. This duty and responsibility shows up as we lock the doors at night, listen to weather advisories, remind them to buckle up, watch for suspicious characters when we drop them off places, warn them to be careful - all because we love them and want to protect them. Constant vigilance is needed to keep our freedom and safety secure physically.
A safe, secure, and liberated life is described in God's Word as "word filled." As Paul said, a Spirit-filled believer has the Word richly dwelling or filling them. But how is that possible? To find out we need to turn our hearts to Psalms 119. There Ezra explains the secret of maintaining a Word-Filled Life - the only sure protection in the dark spiritual forests of life into which we - and our loved ones, must walk each day.
Our focus is that Old Testament giant of the faith - Ezra. His testimony is the 119th Psalm. He gives us in these 176 verses the content of his personal HABITS or RESPONSES to the Lord, and his personal resolves or HOPES in the Lord.
Ezra's testimony is in two areas: his habits (the " I haves") and hopes (the "I wills"), or to put it differently - his spiritual responses and his Scriptural resolves!
A Word-Filled Life is a Life with Habits of Scriptural Responses
First, Ezra shares in Psalm 119 a list of his Habits or SPIRITUAL RESPONSES he had cultivated toward the Lord.
A Word-Filled Life is a Life with Habits of Scriptural Resolves
Ezra also shares in Psalm 119 a list of his Habits or RESPONSES he had cultivated toward the Lord. Secondly, he records his hopes or RESOLVES.
So how do we adopt Ezra's strategy? Here are some elements to practice getting alone with God.
START WITH HIM: Try to spend at least 12 minutes each day in reading God's Word and seeking to find one truth to hold on to all day long.
SPEAK WITH HIM: From that time alone with God, think through your entire day. Ask HIM what would be the best use of your life for this day.
STOP WITH HIM: Try to also get in the habit of a weekly time of evaluation. Just a half hour reflecting on where you are, and where you are headed in life and ministry.
STAY WITH HIM: Finally, try one time of strategic planning each month, to truly reflect on life for a couple of hours. Take a spiritual retreat. Sit with a pad of paper, your calendar, and an open Bible. List your priorities for the next month. Pray over them, change them, decide upon them, and then do them!
Dr. John S. Barnett of Discover the Book Ministries has served as pastor for 31 years in 3 congregations and has systematically studied and taught God's Word daily for over 30 years.