IT GROWS ON YOU!

When my wife, my children and I arrived as missionaries to the country of Thailand we found ourselves in a totally different environment than we could have ever imagined. Many things were different from how they were in America. Automobile steering wheels were on the opposite side of the car and everyone drove on the “wrong” side of the road. Roads in Bangkok were always full of cars, trucks, and an abundance of motorcycles. At first, there seemed to be no order to traffic. Everyone seemed to be driving wildly and out of control. However, we soon got used to the rules of the road. In time it sort of grew on us.

Even though we were now living in a very hot and humid part of the world our vehicle had no air conditioner. Houses had no central air and heating. The smells and the sights were totally different to what we were used to seeing. And, the food! Well, that took some getting used to also. After our bodies adjusted to the heat and after we tasted the wonderful food we found ourselves enjoying our life in Thailand. It sort of grew on us. I believe the transition to living in Asia was easier for our children than it was for us. In any case, before long we were comfortable and happy in our new environment.

The Thai people are a friendly and loveable people. That was evident from our very first day in Bangkok. The customs, however, took some time for us to learn. In the 70’s, when we moved to Asia, there was very little mission training offered by our brotherhood. So, everything was strange and unusual to us. Even a simple meeting with a Thai was different than in America. They greeted us by holding their hands together as if in prayer instead of offering a handshake as we do in America. This was no problem but it was different. However, it sort of grew on us.

Life in Thailand presented us with many new friends and loved ones. However, the truth is, if we had done proper research and study before moving there everything would have gone much smoother. In any case, moving to Bangkok provided us with blessings beyond measure. We thank God for the opportunity to live and work for the Lord in Thailand and in several other Asian countries as well.

The Christian life also brings shocking differences to our lives that requires a bit of getting used too doesn’t it? It is no longer about serving our own needs first because we are to put others ahead of ourselves. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” Phil 2:4. The new lifestyle promoted by Christianity grows on those who diligently seek to learn and follow the ways of the Lord.

Once the Christian experience takes root and begins to grow we begin to understand and practice a multitude of things that we never did before becoming a child of God. For this process to take place requires that we study the word of God so that we can learn how to live our lives the way God wants us to live. This new life takes some getting used to but it is certainly a blessed way of living. After we become students of the word of God and apply His teaching to our lives we become equipped for service. We will become lights shining in a world of darkness.

Read the following from Psalm 119:11–16 (ESV).

11    I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  12    Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14    In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.    15    I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  16    I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

This passage suggests several blessings that happen when we study the word of God with proper motives. These blessings will enhance our faithful Christian walk.

  1. Put the word in your heart, From 2 Corinthians 3:3 we learn that God writes His word on the tablets of our hearts. When that happens, we will know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
  2. Let His word teach you, v12. This is so important because “it is not in man who walks to direct his steps”, Jeremiah 10:23.
  3. Speak up for God, v13. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,” Psalm 107:2. If we don’t speak God’s word who will? It is up to us to tell the sinful world the Gospel message.
  4. Regard the word of God as a treasure, v14. Where is your treasure? While it is nice to have wealth and comfort for the body, the word of God is of much greater value. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” Matthew 6:19-21.
  5. Meditate on the word, v15. Each of us needs to spend time thinking about how our lives correspond to the teachings of the Bible. King David informs us that believers, “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night,” Psalm 1:2.
  6. Fix your eyes on God’s ways, v15. Strange as it might sound, we can only see clearly when we fix our eyes upon God’s way of doing things. Job gives us an example of this when he said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes: how then could I gaze at a virgin?” Job 31:1. Our behavior is often determined by how we look at things!
  7. Delight in God’s word, v16. How do you feel about spending time in Bible study? Is it drudgery or is it joy? The Psalmist wrote, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth,” Psalm 119:103.
  8. Never forget God’s word, v16. Of all people, the nation of Israel should have remembered God’s word – but they didn’t. God said “My people have forgotten me days without number”, Jeremiah 2:32. Such forgetfulness leads one to forget God’s instructions. Later the prophet Hosea wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you,” Hosea 4:6. If we don’t remember God’s teachings we will surely fall into sinful practices.

In Acts chapters three and four Peter and John healed a lame man in the name of Jesus. Afterwards, the leaders of Israel confronted them. The leaders took note of the fact that these men had been with Jesus, Acts 4:13. When we put His word in our hearts we can show unbelievers who challenge our faith that we have also been with Jesus. When we do this over and over again, this bold manner of life sort of grows on us. God bless you as you grow in knowledge and understanding of the word of God.

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