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Do you desire to please God with your life? Do you also struggle with sinful thoughts and habits? There’s a conflict going on there, right? On the one hand there’s a desire to please God. Yet on the other there’s a strong desire to please self.
In Gal. 5:17 Paul reminds us that the flesh is in conflict with the spirit – and the spirit is in conflict with the flesh. They are opposed to each other making it difficult to do what is right.
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is Episode #111 entitled “Time for School!”
In Psalm 25:4, after asking God to “show me your ways” the Psalmist then says, “teach me your paths.” What does it mean to be “teachable?” Are you “teachable?”
By asking God to “teach” him, David was acknowledging his inexperience, his lack of understanding, his inability to navigate through life in a way that consistently and continuously honored and glorified God. He was expressing his need for – and dependency upon God to provide instruction on how to continuously lift up his soul and fully trust his Creator for everything on a daily basis.
In Job 34:32 we see Job crying out to God, asking Him to “teach me what I do not see.” I strongly submit that should be our daily prayer to God. Oh Father, I am struggling with knowing how to navigate this path of purity. Please “teach me what I do not see!”
To that request God answers, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8) Isn’t that fantastic? God will not let you flounder. He stands ready to help you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Consider this: to be taught, there must first be an openness and a willingness to learn. There must be a humble admission that “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do it. I need help!” Followed by a solid determination to apply what you are being taught; to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only (James 1:22-25).
Up till now you have focused predominantly on your way vs. God’s way. You have chosen to walk your own path instead of following Him down His. You have tried to defeat sexual temptation in your own way instead conquering it through God’s way. This is why you continuously fail and fall. This is why you need God to teach you His path.
You have already been provided with instruction on how to walk His path. God says, “I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of righteousness.” (Proverbs 4:11) And how has He done this? “All Scripture is breathed out by God and (all of Scripture is) profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (so) that the man (or woman) of God may be (fully capable and totally) equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 additions mine)
When you turn to King Me for answers, when you depend on your own ability to fight the beast, you “have turned to (God your) back and not (your) face. And though (God has) taught (you) persistently, (you) have not listened to receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 32:33 additions mine) In Psalm 50:17 God says we have flippantly cast His words behind us. Don’t miss this point. Don’t let it slip past you. Focus your attention upon this and let it speak into your chest. King Me is not God. King Me cannot be God, ever. That means King Me doesn’t know what’s best for you, God does. Turning your back on God is easy, but the consequences will always be hard.
When you turn your back to God, “your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) Think carefully about what I just read to you. Listen closely as I quote it one more time. “your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) When you choose to turn your back on God, and He is speaking to you to instruct you where to go, to help you know how to live a life of purity, from where is the voice speaking? Because you have chosen to follow the sinful desires of King Me, because you have chosen to turn your back on God, it’s “behind you.” Where should the voice be coming from?
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
God says, “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron.” (Isaiah 45:2)
Note: as God goes before you, you are to be behind Him, following Him, focused upon Him! Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
“Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4 NIV’84)
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)
If you are daily choosing to follow Christ, allowing Him to truly show you His ways and teach you His paths, His voice will not be “behind you” but in front. So, if you are hearing his voice “behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” that means you have gone off the path “to the right or to the left” on your own, choosing instead to turn your back on God in pursuit of whatever King Me wants. The exciting thing here is that God won’t let you meander off the path for very long. Instead, He will say to you “this is the way! Walk in it!”
What is the primary tool, the main method God uses to teach you His perfect paths?
“Blessed is the man ...whom you teach out of your law.” (Psalm 94:12)
This is why it is so vital that you are in God’s Word every day of your life. It’s as essential as breathing! I like to call Scripture my spiritual oxygen tank. I cannot live without it. Nor can I consistently walk the path of purity without it.
God’s “word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
It is “the unfolding of (God’s) words (that) gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130 additions mine)
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; ... the rules of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much find gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11)
Why? Because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Do you have a teachable spirit? Are you ready to cry out “teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name”? (Psalm 86:11) David asked God to “open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18 NIV’84) What about you? As you choose to lift up your soul to God, and as you choose to fully trust Him, are you asking Him to open your eyes, to show you His ways and teach you His paths? Then are you investing the time daily to dig into your Bible to discover the paths He is revealing to you?
OK. Now, before we move on, I want us to focus our attention on one more aspect of God teaching us His way. Imagine for a moment that you are an Eighth-Grade Math teacher. You have just covered a section on using rational numbers (including integers, decimals, and fractions – fun stuff). You believe you have taught them well. Now it’s time to see if your students have learned well. In order to determine that, you must do what with them? You must test them. The results of the test will reveal not only what they have learned, but how well they can apply what they have learned.
I can remember how anxious I would feel at times when I knew a test was coming. No matter the class or subject matter, an upcoming test almost always stressed me out. Now that I’m older (and wiser?) I have begun to realize that my pre-exam jitters revealed something important about me. More often than I care to admit, I would walk into the classroom with sweaty palms and pounding heart simply because I was walking in utterly and completely unprepared. A condition whose cause was purely self-inflicted.
Now think about this: inherent within the request for God to teach you is an understanding that He will also test you. “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind.” (Jeremiah 17:10) “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.” (Proverbs 17:3) “For you examine us every morning and test us every moment.” (Job 7:17-18 NLT)
On the surface that can sound a bit intimidating, scary even. Being tested by God is often misunderstood. As a result, it can feel like a negative thing. Something to be dreaded and feared. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The LORD tests the righteous.” (Psalm 11:5) God “tests the minds and hearts.” (Psalm 7:9) “You know me, LORD; you see me and examine my heart’s attitude toward you.” (Jeremiah 12:3 NASB) “I know, my God, that you put the heart to the test and delight in uprightness.” (1 Chronicles 29:17 NASB)
The purpose of God’s testing is not to show Him how well He’s been teaching you, nor to reveal to Him how much you have learned. He already knows. The objective of God’s testing is to help you discover the practical application of the truth you have learned. The purpose of the testing that comes from God is to show you what you have learned and disclose your understanding and application of His truth and His way.
What an encouragement it is to “know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3). God wants you to succeed in the Christian life. That is why He tests you–to show you the real state of your faith and the condition of your heart.
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7 NLT)
“Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness ... humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT)
If your faith is weak, if God is not sitting on the throne of your heart, it’s typically not obvious to you when life is going smoothly. However, bring on the hard times, step into a testing moment and your heart, your faith will be revealed for what it really is. We don’t truly realize and recognize our weaknesses until we have a test placed in front of us. This is why David cries out, “Search me, God, and know my heart; put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2 NIV’84) “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10 NIV’84)
OK, we’re going to hit the pause button here until next week’s episode as we look forward to continuing this study.
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.