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The Myth of Casual Christianity (Psalm 119:4)

You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently.
Psalm 119:4

Contemplate the fact that the God of the universe, your Creator, has provided you with written instructions. He has carefully preserved these instructions for your benefit. They deal with all aspects of life on this earth, and even explain what is yet to come. Incorporated in these documents are very clear instructions on how you are to live. They are not given in the form of recommendations; they are commands. But they are not commands given by an angry despot.  These are commands, or precepts, that come from a loving God who has our best interests in mind.

The psalmist understood the value of these precepts. They are words from the living God that provide the necessary guidance so that we know how to live our lives. God has graciously given them to us so that we will “keep them diligently.” The idea is that we will guard them, watch over them, and invest the greatest effort in obeying them.

“God’s precepts require careful obedience: there is no keeping them by accident. Some give to God a careless service, a sort of hit or miss obedience, but the Lord has not commanded such service, nor will he accept it. His law demands the love of all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and a careless religion has none of these.”[mfn] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The Treasury of David: Psalm 111-119 (Vol. 5, p. 143). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.[/mfn]

“God will not be put off with anything, but served with the greatest diligence and exactness, ‘to keep thy precepts diligently.’ The Septuagint renders it, ‘That thy commands should be kept exceeding much.’”[mfn] Manton, Thomas, An Exposition of Psalm 119 (Sermon V). West Linn, OR: Monergism Books[/mfn]

“It is a course enjoined and imposed upon us by our sovereign law giver. It is not our choice, as if it were an indifferent thing whether we will walk in the laws of God or not, but of absolute necessity, unless we renounce the authority of God.”[mfn] Thomas Manton[/mfn]

“To command is God’s part, and to obey that is ours, whatever shall be declared to be His will and pleasure.”[mfn] Thomas Manton[/mfn]

Friends, keep in mind that there is a casual Christianity that is not Christianity at all. It is a superficial, pseudo-relationship with the Lord that expects God to accommodate our schedules and preferences. It is God on my terms and does not seriously consider what it means to be a biblical Christian.

The psalmist reminds us that a true Christian is very serious about God’s Word. God is the highest priority in their life, therefore the Word of God is the highest priority in their life. The evidence of such priorities is demonstrated in their desire to both know the precepts of God and to keep them with all diligence. This is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week commitment. It is the passion and delight of the Christian life.

Consider your relationship to God and to His Word.

  1. When considering your life, what is the priority of God’s Word?
  2. When you spend time in God’s Word, is it with the determination to diligently obey all that you learn?

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58