Day 3

Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes

from the Psalm 119 reading plan


Psalm 119:33-56, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, James 1:16-25

BY Jessica Lamb

One of my strongest memories from my sophomore year of high school is of a black, 5-inch thick three-ring binder I carried everywhere. I was part of the not-so-exclusive academic quiz bowl team at my school, and every few weeks, I would compete against other schools to see which team could “buzz in” first to earn points answering trivia questions. My binder was filled with the printed records of previous tournament questions and answers. Though questions were rarely repeated, I poured over that binder every opportunity I could find, hoping that my incessant studying might reveal recurring subject matter or a pattern in how questions are worded for tournaments to give me an edge over the competition. To this day, I’d still choose a trivia night at a local restaurant over almost any other activity.

I used to think taking this same approach to Scripture was proof that I loved God’s Word. Studying the Bible—its words, history, cultural contexts, and languages—has been life-giving to my faith in my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as well as in my career. But I have to be reminded that life as a follower of Jesus is so much more than just memorizing facts about God or storing up interesting trivia about the Bible. Our reading and study of Scripture should shape us and reorient our hearts as it shows us who He is and who we are in Him.

I come back to the book of James over and over when I find my heart wanting to make a god of knowing about God, rather than truly knowing Him. The book is full of direct one-liners that cut right to the truth: truly delighting in God’s Word means living out what the Word teaches us. In the opening passage of his letter, James sums this up by telling believers that we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Hearing without acting is more than useless—it’s self-deception, because as believers, we are new people born of the gospel (v.22,18). James writes that God has implanted His Word in us (v.21). We miss the point if we are not willing to let its truth take root, growing and bearing fruit in us as we are changed and made more like Christ.

Essentially, we are living out what the psalmist pleads with God to do: transform him so that he can keep God’s commands. By His Spirit and His Word, we’ve been made into new people. Unlike the person who looks in the mirror and responds, “I forget,” when asked what they look like (vv.23–24), we are called to remember who we are as we walk away from reading the Bible. If we go about our lives without acting on what it teaches, we live as fractured people, at odds with who we now are in Christ. Praise God, because He’s done the hardest work in giving us new hearts already!

Being in the Word of God every day equips us to live out the Word of God every day. It guards against forgetting what is true of our God and of ourselves. Let our prayer echo that of the psalmist as we come to the Bible each day: ”Teach me, LORD, the meaning of your statutes, and I will always keep them” (Psalm 119:33).

Post Comments (64)

64 thoughts on "Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes"

  1. Amber Charles says:

    This is my prayer to one day be so I grossed in the word that it’s first nature to me in my actions and in my day to day things. James 1:22 really hit me because I said I would be a doer verses just someone who just listens. This gives me so much hope. I took often forget how relevant the word is to our times.

  2. Maria Guevara says:

    Thank you Jesus that you have given us a new heart. Lord help me not just listen and read your word but practically implement it in my life. Let your word transform my way of living and thinking and speaking. God help me to be a doer of your word. Teach me what it looks like to be doer of your word Jesus.

  3. Erica Askren says:

    It’s beautiful that we are children of God.

  4. melonee says:

    I find my heart wanting to make a god of knowing about God, rather than truly knowing Him.
    Yuck ….this statement hurts. It’s so easy to sit at home and read the Word or go to church or bible studies and take in God’s word but then do nothing with it.
    Lord help me to read your word and be a doer!!

  5. Leslie Orellana says:

    Be quick to learn, slow to speak and slow to anger….this small passage really stood out to me because it is the one thing I ask God on a daily basis. To please instill these values in me. I’m not slow to anger, I have a bad temper, but I’m learning to not allow myself to become angry. I’m instead learning to listen and thinking about my words.

  6. Vicky Joe says:

    I am learning that relying on my emotions as the measurement of my progress on my journey in building an intimate and personal relationship with God is deceiving. The Holy Spirit reminds me that I’m doing better than I’m feeling.

    1. Carlee Crocker says:

      I’ve been feeling inadequate lately in my relationship with God because I haven’t felt like my emotions are where they should be. This was so encouraging to read — thank you for sharing!

    2. Drusilla Campbell says:

      So very true Vicky!!

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