Lead Where You Are–with Holiness that Only Comes from God’s Word
When you hear the word holiness, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? How can we cultivate and preserve holiness in our lives? Paul tells us in Romans that “if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace” (Romans 8:6). The psalmist here draws on several terms of cognition, including thinking, studying, learning, and remembering. Practicing these disciplines will result in the Word of God producing holiness, fullness, and wholeness in our lives. We will do the right things (respect, obey, worship) and we will reap the rewards (happiness, pleasure).
The cultivation and preservation of holiness in the life of the leader is directly connected here to disciplines of the mind and heart. Right thinking begets righteous living. This is not to say that we can earn our salvation; we follow Paul’s instruction to “work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved” (Philippians 2:12). So, how can we enrich our practices of meditation on Scripture?
Thinking about the Word of God— This Psalm begins with “Thinking about your commands ...” (v. 6). We need to read the Word of God and think about what its words mean and imply. As we do so, our lives and our world will change.
Respecting the Word of God– This is also essential in order for the Word of God to have its rightful place in our lives and churches. “I will do right and praise you by learning to respect your perfect laws” (v. 7).
Obeying the Word of God— We are called to “obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it” (James 1:22). “I will obey all of [God’s perfect laws]” (Psalm 119:8a). We must model godly lives for those we lead; people tend to pay more attention to our actions than to our words.
Treasuring the Word of God—When we as Christ-followers consider what the Word of God does for us, we will not just read it—we will treasure it. “I treasure your word above all else” (v. 11a).
Sharing the Word of God—Getting Scripture into the lives, communities, and nations around us requires action; it is news that must be told and a message that must be shared. As we share God’s Word, people will become free (John 8:36) . “With my own mouth I tell others...” (v. 13a).
Delighting in the Word of God—Do not just read the verses of Scripture, but take pleasure in them. Savor them. Even in times of adversity, God’s Word reminds us that his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–24).
Studying the Word of God—Studying involves reading, thinking, respecting, and considering the Bible with intentionality and focus. “I will study your teachings and follow your footsteps ...” (v. 15)
The Word of God is not only right and true. It is not merely something to be obeyed. It is also truly beautiful, something to be admired and adored. In fact, regular reading and reflection on Scripture is the most effective catalyst for people to grow in Christlikeness.
Thought of the Day
Scripture engagement nurtures godliness and holiness in a leader’s life.
Which am I doing more often: keeping (or hiding) parts of myself from God and his Word, or hiding God’s Word within my heart? As I meditate on passages of Scripture, am I considering my faithful obedience to them in every part of my life, or am I looking mostly for their potential to become a part of my sermons? When was the last time I pored over a passage of Scripture and really thought about it?
Heavenly Father, you have called me to not only live a life of faith, but also one of holiness that reflects your character. I am so often aware of how short I fall from your standard. As I read your Word, cause it to purify my life, heart, and mind from the ways of this fallen world, and help me to embrace the powerful truths of your glorious kingdom.
Take some time today to journal on the subject of holiness. The psalmist writes that we “can live a clean life by obeying your word” (v. 9). In light of the passage from Psalm 119, describe some of the characteristics and behaviors of holiness. Are they vital today? What role does holiness play in you, your faith, and your activities?