“I am not concerned about myself, but I shall defend Christ’s word with a joyful heart and renewed courage, without regard to anyone. To this end God has given me a joyful and fearless spirit, which I trust they shall not harm in all eternity.” Martin Luther
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I have made a vow and confirmed it; I will follow your righteous laws.” (Psalm 105:1-2)
It has been about 70 years since my mother insisted that I learn that verse in Vacation Bible School. She couldn’t have given me a better foundation. God’s powerful Word has been my bread, my hope, my guide, my joy and my delight. In the darkest of nights it has been a “light for my path.”
A lot has changed since then. Behaviors that were universally condemned and called sinful, evil and hurtful, are now accepted and even promoted as good and healthy. Even some churches have bought into these lies. Those who practice those behaviors and those who support them, demand that all agree with their conclusions. They have attempted to intimidate and silence those who hold fast to Biblical convictions. We are called intolerant, bigoted and unloving. Laws are now on the books that give legal status to acts once deemed perverse. Soon, there will likely be laws that define words that hold to Biblical standards as “hate speech.”
Most of us have friends and even family who have bought into the “new morality.” They have even suggested that our holding fast to the clear teachings of Scriptures is wrong and cruel. As a result, many of us have seriously reconsidered our stance. We don’t want to be cruel. We don’t want to be heartless. And, we really want to be liked, especially by our friends and family. To hold fast to the commands and principles written in a Book, takes an uncommon devotion and confidence. We are swimming against a flood of opposing and hostile forces.
What they don’t understand and what my mother did, was that the Word of God is the light for our paths. It is the only true source for real and lasting joy. For over seventy years I have found it to be both true and trustworthy. God’s words, written in black and white, have convicted me, convinced me and conformed me. As a child, in my own childlike way, I vowed to follow his righteous laws. (106) When things were dark and painful, Christ did preserve my life according to his Word. (107) I was blessed to have Christ himself teach me his laws and instruct me in the ways I should go. (108, 104) Though at times I went my own way, deep within me there was a strong bond that would not let me venture far from his law. (109) Looking back at my life, I remember moments of great danger, where traps and snares were set by the enemy to destroy God’s plan for me. But, by God’s grace, He did not let me stray far from his precepts. (110)
What some of my friends and even some family members do not understand is this: I was called to be a man of God’s Word before I was born. The Lord gave me a love for truth and a sweet place to find it. When I am gone, I want this one thing to be said about me: “He was a man who lived and loved God’s Word.” I want that to be my heritage forever. Why? Because His statutes are “the joy of my heart.” (111) In the Word I hear my Lord speak. In His words I am told how to live. In His promises I am given hope. On his unshakeable principles I can live a bold and victorious life. In the morning, with an open Bible in my hands, I enjoy His sweet presence. (Psalm 5:3)
Though all the world would depart, though my closest of relationships would sadly end, I cannot compromise or capitulate. So, in the midst of a changing world, surrounded by forces that may condemn my convictions and threaten my safety, I boldly declare: “My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.” (112) By God’s grace I will be faithful to that end.