A Spiritual Problem
The psalmist's lengthy poem about the Word of God holds the keys to regaining enthusiasm. Psalm 119 helps to identify issues that drag us down so we can address them with wisdom from above. After all, a lack of enthusiasm isn't a problem with emotions; it's a spiritual problem that can't be corrected with a pep talk or even a happy experience.
Many well-meaning folks are seeking what I would call a "spiritual high," which is really nothing more than an emotional distraction from the pain of their aching, monotonous lives. As a result, you will find people driving miles and miles to attend nightly meetings or standing in long lines to experience some high-level delight that will send them back home on the crest of ecstasy. But all this inevitably leads to deeper emotional lows.
If we think of the spirit as needing food, the problem is often malnutrition. God's Word—His written Truth—provides the Christian with all the nutrients and true enthusiasm he or she can absorb. Coupled with the indwelling Holy Spirit's motivating power, God's Word can virtually transform a life. But the effects are not instantaneous. You can't reverse the effects of physical starvation with just one meal.
Believers need to get back to the basics! If Psalm 119 says anything, it says we must be willing to consume a steady diet of truth from His Book and digest the principles it contains. Pore over it. Pray over it. Read it. Study it. Memorize sections of it. Meditate upon it. Let it saturate your thinking. Use it when problems arise. Filter your decisions through it. Don't let a day pass without spending time alone with God, listening to the silent voice of His eloquent Word.
All other attempts to gain spiritual growth lead to frustration. I know; I've tried many of them. With each one my enthusiasm waned; with God's Word my enthusiasm grows. Nothing enables us to live beyond the grind of low enthusiasm like a daily application of His Word to our situation—absolutely nothing!
Look at an example. Turn to Psalm 119:97–100. I want to reinforce my point by considering the songwriter's words regarding the benefits of consistent scriptural input.
O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.
I once came across a powerful quote by Daniel Webster that illustrates what the composer is saying here in verse 97. In the presence of Professor Sanborn of Dartmouth College, Mr. Webster laid his hand on a copy of the Scriptures as he said, "This is the Book. I have read through the entire Bible many times. I now make it a practice to go through it once a year. It is the Book of all others for lawyers as well as divines; and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought, and of rules for his conduct. It fits man for life—it prepares him for death."1
Daniel Webster, quoted in Stephen Abbott Northrop, A Cloud of Witnesses: The Greatest Men in the World for Christ and the Book (Fort Wayne, IN: The Mason Long Publishing Co., 1894), 491.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.