God referred to King David of the Old Testament as someone who walked before Him “faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness” (1 Kings 9:4) and as a man after His own heart through whose lineage He would send Jesus (Acts 13:22-23). God said of Him, “he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22). David experienced many trials and hardships yet remained strong. When he sinned, he repented and accepted the consequences from God’s hand. Where did David find such fortitude? — From his view of, approach to, and obedience of God’s Word.
Fortitude in Our Personal Walk Requires an Adequate View of God’s Word
Look at David’s view of Scripture as written in Psalm 19:7-11. Pay particular attention to the emboldened words.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
We find similar sentiments about God’s Word in Psalm 119, though it isn’t clear if David authored that Psalm. The longest chapter in the Bible, this Psalm focuses in on how we can find not only guidance but strength through His Word to overcome anything that may come against us.
- I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:11)
- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Ps. 119:105)
- You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. (Ps. 119:114)
- Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Ps. 119:133)
- Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (Ps. 119:165)
- Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. (Ps. 119:175)
The psalmist viewed Scripture as his standard for living but also his source of strength to live in alignment. If we don’t have an adequate view of God’s Word and the powerful benefit it brings (2 Tim. 3:16-17), we’re not going to approach it in ways that most profit us.
How We Approach God’s Word Can Determine how much Fortification we Derive from It
The Word isn’t going to benefit us if we don’t turn toward it, which often requires sacrificing other pursuits. And so, the psalmist prayed,
- Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. (Ps. 119:36)
- Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. (Ps. 119:37)
The Word isn’t going to help if we don’t remember it. We must keep it ever before us.
- Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. (Ps. 119:97)
- Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. (Ps. 119:98)
Fortitude Sustained by Obeying God’s Word
Yes, faith does come from hearing the Word (Rom. 10:17) but faith without works is dead (James 1:22-25; 2:17-20). We will quickly wane in our faith if we don’t apply what we learn to life. We might gain immediate comfort or encouragement from a mere reading of the Word but the real reward comes in obeying it. David acknowledged this reality when writing about the law of the Lord. He said, “By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19:11). We read this same truth in the New Testament:
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:23-25)
And, what a difference it makes when obedience to the Word comes out of love for the Word, not mere duty. Notice what the author of Psalm 119 wrote:
- May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. (Ps. 119:80)
- Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. (Ps. 119:129)
- I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. (Ps. 119:167)
Point to Remember: If you want a stronger walk with God, then you must spend time with Him in His Word.
The Word itself is that which fortifies us. We meditate on His Word. Nothing ever can, or should, be a substitute for God’s Word.
God does use other tools to strengthen us in our walk with Him. We can learn from others. But, nothing should ever supplant time spent in the Word. If using devotionals or study guides, let’s choose ones that center on the Word, that not only refer to the Bible, but actually get us reading or studying it.
(If you want devotionals that get you into the Word, check out the Walk the Walk Devotional Guides.)