What is the one thing you value in your life most of all?
We can often tell what we value most by answering the questions: Where do we spend the most time and money? What is the first thing on our mind when we get out of bed?
Is it your husband or children?
Maybe your car or career?
Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 that where our treasure is, there we will find our heart. And where our heart is, there we will find our god…..or God.
If we are completely honest, most times we don’t want to go down this path of investigation because the end of the journey will likely require us to:
a) acknowledge that we have an idol in our heart and
b) we will have to give up the one thing we value more than anything else in our life……even more that God.
In our study through the first 50 chapters in the book of Psalms, we come to a list of things that David tells us are worth more than anything else on earth.
He also says that if we hold fast to these things, there is a great reward in the end.
What reward will we have in the end if we hold on to our families more than we hold on to God?
What reward will we have if we build our career into a multi-billion-dollar company or achieve that top wrung and corner office?
What reward will we have if we finally have to ability to custom-build our dream home?
What reward will we have if we even grow our church to be the largest church in our area — or even the country — and we have a beautiful building with amazing lights and a professional worship team that records CDs and has hit songs that climb the music charts?
But when God judged our hearts he found that our motive wasn’t to build His kingdom, but our own.
In the end, when we stand before God, he wont ask us about those things, and He wont be impressed with any of our accomplishments.
Not even our ministry accomplishments.
6 Fundamental Things Christians Should Treasure
1. The Law of the Lord
Right off the bat, I can see this one being a little controversial because we cling to the words of Paul who said that we are not under the law but under grace.
No, we are not judged by the law. We are not saved by the law, but we also should not disregard the law as an important element in our Christian life.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection fulfilled the parts of the law that God had put in place as a way to cover over the sins of the Israelites so as to be able to look upon them and embrace them as His chosen people.
Because He is a holy God and cannot tolerate sin.
But Jesus fulfilled those parts of the law. We no longer need to sacrifice animals and grain on altars because Jesus is our final sacrifice.
However, the law is still a vital part of our lives because it is perfect. It leads our soul to a place of understanding how lost and destitute we are.
We are incapable of keeping the law.
We are incapable of being good enough, perfect enough, to achieve heaven on our own. No matter how hard we try, we will never get to the place where we can keep the law perfectly – because even if we have a good track record today, yesterday we messed up and tomorrow we will mess up.
And once the law makes it clear to us that we are incapable of ever being good enough, it has led us to a Savior who is ready and willing cleanse us of our sin and offer us justification: He makes us just as if we’ve never sinned.
2. The testimony of the Lord
The testimony of the Lord is two-fold:
– God’s Word – The Bible is filled with stories from cover to cover of amazing things God has done, from creation to healing infertile women, to intervening in war, to feeding thousands of people with just a small lunch.
I think sometimes we become so familiar with “Bible stories” that we sometimes unconsciously think of them on the same level as Snow White and Cinderella.
But God’s Word is dependable. It is trustworthy. And God included these stories in His Word so that we would have a foundation to build our own trust in His ability to come through for us.
– Our personal testimony of what the Lord has done for us – To quote from my post “5 Strategic Ways to Maintain Faith When the Battle Is Long”
If you have ever had a testimony of a divine intervention, you have a strategy to defeat the enemy…When we are battle-weary and tempted to lay down in defeat is the very time when we need to rise up and begin declaring what the Lord has done for us!
When we run out of things God has done for us personally, we turn to the Bible and begin declaring the mighty acts of God. With each declaration of God’s power, we drive the enemy back.
We drive him back! We drive him back! We will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony!
When we understand the power of our testimony, and when we begin to use it in witness to those around us, their eyes are opened and they become wise.
And when we begin wielding it as our powerful weapon against the enemy, we will become wise.
3. The statues of the Lord
What is a “statute”? It is a requirement given by God in scripture.
So the question is, how well do we do at keeping the requirements of Scripture? Are we intentional about knowing what Scripture requires of us, even for our daily lives?
Do we take those requirements seriously, or do we feel like the boundaries of Scripture are bendable and elastic?
David says that God’s requirements are right. They are righteous because God is righteous. And righteousness brings joy.
If you’re like many Christians who grew up in church, when you think of righteousness you may get a mental image of a sour-faced, self-righteous Christian who is constantly walking around with their spiritual measuring rod.
But this has nothing to do with true righteousness.
True righteousness isn’t tied to what we do or don’t do, but what Jesus has done.
But wait! I thought that statues were requirements that we’re supposed to keep, and they are righteous.
Yes, that’s true! But our keeping them doesn’t give us “righteous points”. We can only keep them by the grace of God and we wont keep them 100% all of the time. That’s what God’s forgiveness is for!
True righteousness is saturated in humility, because it acknowledges that we are only righteous because of the blood of Jesus.
True righteousness brings joy, because anytime we live and walk in fellowship with Jesus, we will have joy that isn’t dependent upon our circumstances, but that is a gift from Him.
4. The commandment of the Lord
So how do commandments differ from statutes?
Commandments are orders from God. Most often we think of the 10 Commandments, but there are other commands in Scripture, too.
Jesus gave us a new commandment in John 13, that we are to love one another as Jesus loved us.
By now you may be feeling a bit of stress of frustration thinking, “Yea, I knew it. This Christian-thing is all just a set of rules”.
But let us not forget that we are called to be Jesus’ disciples. Disciple is just another word for a very disciplined student.
And as with any school, there is a code of conduct that we are expected to keep.
That code of conduct includes a law, statutes, and commandments. But we must also remember that Jesus promised us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
And the commands of God are pure.
They demand purity of heart, and when we walk in God’s commands we will have a pure heart. A heart free from manipulation.
A heart free from hidden motives.
A heart free from impure thoughts and immoral desires.
And I love what David says the result of keeping God’s commands is: enlightening the eyes.
You can tell a person has a pure heart by looking in their eyes. An immoral and manipulative person has a certain look in their eyes that they cannot hide.
When we have a pure heart, our eyes will be pure.
5. The fear of the Lord
Solomon said multiple times that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
He also said that it prolongs our life, is our protection, and our treasure while the Psalms tells us that those who fear the Lord are blessed.
What does it mean to fear the Lord?
Fear of the Lord is a respect for the Lord, a realization deep inside of us that God is not only our daddy; He is not only our friend, but He is also the one who holds the power of life and death in His hands.
It is a clear understanding of His righteousness and our depravity; and the fact that our sin deeply offends Him.
I often equate it with my own father, who is loving but strict.
I was never afraid of my dad, but I feared him. I was never afraid to share with my dad things going on inside of my heart, but I feared the consequences of breaking our house rules.
Because consequences in our home were consistent.
I knew I was loved and fully accepted for who I was, but I also knew there was a code of conduct in our home, a set of expectations to live up to – that were fair and not beyond my capability.
These house rules helped to lay a foundation for a healthy fear of the Lord in my heart.
I was diligent to walk in this, and it kept me pure in a generation that was quickly going off the rails.
I grew up as a teenager in 80s. And while classmates and kids in youth group were drinking, experimenting with drugs, and sleeping around, I did none of those things.
The fear of the Lord keeps us pure.
It keeps us from assuming that God will look the other way when we sin.
It keeps us from equating God to a lenient parent who bends the rules “just this time” and makes excuses for bad behavior.
It keeps us pure in a generation that is corrupt and hedonistic.
And the fear of the Lord endures forever, because God Himself is from everlasting to everlasting!
6. The Judgements of the Lord
The Lord is our judge.
We often hear this said, “Don’t judge me, God is my judge”. And yes He is, but I don’t think many understand the seriousness of this statement.
We judge ourselves by our intentions, and very often even our interpretation of our intentions is flawed and horribly inaccurate.
We are the worst person to interpret our intentions. Even the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 that our heart, above all things, is deceitful, and desperately wicked.
That is a pretty damning statement.
It really doesn’t fare well for us if we think we understand what’s in our heart; because we don’t. We’re deceived right from the start and it doesn’t get any better from there.
God is our judge – and He doesn’t just judge our actions (which are often laced with manipulation and tangled with strings attached), He judges our hearts, our hidden motives, and our corrupted intentions.
The Bible says He will also judge every idle word. Every word we said without thinking. Every word we said in passing. Every word that “just slipped out” of our mouth.
Now that we understand this, we can begin walking in the fear of the Lord and His judgments.
This is why it is so important to treasure these six things.
When we embrace the law, statutes, and commands of God and say with David, “Oh how I love Your Law! It is my meditation all day long”; when we cling to the testimonies we have in God’s Word and all the amazing things He’s done for us, and when we daily walk in the fear of the Lord….
We are not in danger of judgement.
We have the blood of Jesus on our heart and we have wells of grace available to us each and every day, so that even in those moments of weakness when we truly desire to do right but inadvertently do wrong….
…as Paul said in Romans 7,
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
…we can trust in the everlasting love and grace of God to forgive us fully and completely and then cancel the judgment against us, declaring us as if we’ve never sinned!
His judgments are true and righteous, because He is true and righteous.
God cannot be bought out by our other good deeds.
The good things we do will never cancel out the sins we’ve committed, because the good things we do are most often laced with corrupt motives.
God doesn’t have scales.
For the unbeliever, He looks at our deeds and makes a pronouncement. But for the believer, He looks at the blood of Jesus and makes a proclamation