Have you ever lived your entire life, saying and hearing and writing and seeing words, knowing the meaning or thinking you know the meaning, and then, one day, you decide to try to define those words, actually define the meaning in clear simple English… and you find that you can’t?
Have you ever believed that your life reflected a virtue, believed that other people can see it, then you find yourself brought face to face with a definitive picture of that virtue… and you realize that you don’t have that virtue at all. Or if you do, it’s pretty shallow and not very strong.
Some people don’t think definitions are very important. All my life I’ve heard words, connected certain definitions to those words, and lived my life based on those definitions.
You know, a dictionary is an amazing thing. I’ve always loved ours, but I don’t think I ever used it enough. The Bible is even more amazing, but have you ever thought that a proper understanding of the definition of a single word, can make a well-known Scripture verse even more powerful?
For instance, the definition of joy. To rejoice; to be glad; to exult. That can certainly give new meaning to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” James 1:2
Or how about thankfulness: Gratitude; a lively sense of good received. Follow that up with “In everything give thanks: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Then there is the definition of praise… To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works. And To do honor to; to display the excellence of. Then I find this verse: “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1
How about trust? Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I got these from Mr. Webster’s 1828. It’s my favorite. :)
So, you might be wondering what my point is, about now.
I’ve read these verses a hundred times. Maybe more. But I haven’t always either fully known or just brought to mind the fullness of the definition behind the words. For instance, if I am to consider it all joy – whenever I face trials – I am to rejoice when I am facing trials. Rejoice!
Taking these definitions in hand, I can say that I am to rejoice during any trials, while having a lively sense of gratitude at all times, extolling my LORD in song continually, while resting my mind on the integrity, veracity, and justice of the King of Kings.
Also, notice the continual use of “whenever” or “continually” or “in everything.” There shouldn’t be a break in any of these. There will be. I am finite, human, and lacking in perfection. I am fallen and not without sin, therefore, I will fail. But these should be in my focus. They should be in the forefront of my life. I should be joyful, thankful, praising, and trusting every day and every minute of my life, and when I am not, I should be realizing that and working to fix it.
But, when I do fail, it’s a sin against my LORD and that brings me to repentance. Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)
If I truly repent, than He truly forgives. To relinquish the practice of my sin, means I must acknowledge or confess it first. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Forgiveness: The act of forgiving; the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. The pardon or remission of an offense or crime; as the forgiveness of sin or of injuries.
The pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. That line… The LORD offers me that. Despite the fact that I sin so much and so often. Praise Him for that! “Praise the Lord, all nations; laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 117)
The dictionary is an amazing tool. One that should be utilized more often and not forgotten. Methinks I shouldn’t let it get so dusty quite so often.
To the KING be all the glory!