Tongues AfireWhen have you recently endured the wound of another person’s words?
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What’s Your Passion?
I have rejoiced in Your laws as much as in riches. I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. I will delight in Your decrees and not forget Your Word (vv.14-16).
When asked what my seminary students are passionate about, I immediately ticked off a few issues of social justice—the plight of the poor, the rights of minorities, and ending slavery and sex trafficking. And then it struck me. While this is an impressive list, something seems to be missing. The Bible teaches us to seek justice for the oppressed, but its longest chapter is a meandering poem about itself.
Could I imagine my students—could I imagine myself— being as passionate about the Word of God as the Israelite who wrote Psalms 119:1? Do we “delight in Your decrees” (v.16) and rejoice “in Your laws as much as in riches” (v.14)? Are we “always overwhelmed with a desire for Your regulations”? (v.20).
God’s laws may not tug on our hearts like the sad and weary eyes of the oppressed, but we must never forget that the primary reason we care is because God cares, and His Word instructs us to fight for them. “Seek justice. Help the oppressed,” urges Isaiah. “Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (1:17). James concurs: “Pure and genuine religion . . . means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” (1:27).
Here’s one way to tell whether our right concern for social justice is replacing our passion for God’s Word. When we read something in Scripture that seems to oppose the rights of others, do we brush off the passage, or do we submit to it as God’s best for them? For example, do we believe God when He declares that homosexual practice is sin (Romans 1:26; 1 Corinthians 1:9), or do we look for a rationale to accept this behavior?
The best way to love people is to love God’s Word. Make Scripture your primary passion, then do what it says. You’ll help a lot of people.
Read Matthew 13:1 to learn the priority of both knowing God’s Word and doing what it says.
If your friends were asked to identify your passions, what would they say? What can you do to begin loving God’s Word more?
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