Digging in Deeper: Psalm 101:2-8

I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;

I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.

A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an
arrogant heart
I will not endure.

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.

No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.

Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all evildoers
from the city of the Lord.

(ESV – Read the chapter)

These are powerful words.  David was writing this from his position as king of Israel.  He was laying out his commitment to God of how he was going to manage his kingdom in such a way that would keep it on the path of righteousness.  He was talking about how he was going to set guardrails to keep it from teetering into evil.  Drawing from v. 2, he was committing himself to walking in the way that is blameless and then going on to describe how he was going to do that.  

While we don’t have whole kingdoms that we manage on a daily basis, we are responsible for at least our lives.  If we have families, then in a way our homes are our kingdoms.  So, how can we apply what David lays out here?  Verses 3-8 offer a pretty good checklist.

  1. We avoid things that are empty of value.  There are things in the world around us that truly have no purpose.  Consider the amount of brainless nonsense on television.  Or how about pop culture magazines that contain nothing but idle gossip about people we will never meet or who will have any influence on us…unless we let them.  Just stay away from it all.  It adds no value and with as precious and limited is our time, we need to give our focus to other things.
  2. Worse than worthless things are sources of media that are designed to take value from our lives.  There are works out there designed to lead us away from our commitment to Christ.  Consider many of the works of the New Atheists.  While these are worth reading to understand their arguments when your faith is sufficiently strong to withstand them (and this is a goal to be intentional about reaching), prior to that, they are better left alone.
  3. Paul calls us in Philippians 4:8 to give our attention to things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  If we do this, we will avoid the path that leads to a perverse heart.  And what is a perverse heart?  It is a heart that leans into evil and celebrates it when it appears.  We can’t have anything to do with that.  Where there is evil, we must be intractably opposed to it.
  4. In this same vein, we must actively oppose the work of those who would do evil.  Now, if we let it, such a task can totally overwhelm us.  But, our job is not necessarily to stand against all evil.  It is to stand against all the evil in our kingdom, in our sphere of influence.  Where we see racism in our families, we should point it out and correct it.  Where we see hatred, we should demonstrate love.  Where we see injustice, we should work for what is right.  On and on this goes as we stand for righteousness in our kingdoms.
  5. More than just opposing evil, though, we need to actively seek out what is good.  We need to make sure our primary sources of influence are committed believers who are pursuing well the path of Jesus.  We need to make ourselves students who are learning from their examples.  Believers whose lives are excellent demonstrations of righteousness should be the ones to whom we attach ourselves in order that we might follow in their footsteps.
  6. Truth must be our daily goal and guide.  There is much in this world that proclaims as true something other than the path of righteousness.  We must have kingdoms that are rooted in what is true.  Nothing less will do.  We must be committed to the way of truth ourselves, meaning we cannot endure the presence of any falsehoods in our own hearts and minds.  That includes falsehoods about God, about other people, and about ourselves.  Believing a lie about ourselves is just as damaging as believing a lie about someone else .  We must also not allow for any falsehoods to go on uncorrected in our spheres of influence.
  7. All of this is a journey that requires a daily commitment.  We can’t pursue this when it’s convenient.  Each morning this commitment to rooting out evil, correcting falsehoods, and pursuing the good, the true, and the beautiful must be reaffirmed and made as our goal for that day.  Each day brings new opportunities to grow in the character of Christ and new challenges to overcome.  Thus, our commitment to righteousness must be a daily rehearsal.

Pursuing righteousness is a challenge when we are surrounded by the world’s unrighteousness.  But, with helpful, step-by-step checklists like this one in the Scriptures, our way is made much easier.  What will be your commitment today?

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