Lessons from Psalm 101
We are almost two months into the year 2022, and it has already proved to be quite challenging on many levels! But the good news is that it’s not too late to recalibrate, to get a firm grip on solid ground, and revisit that determination we had in early January to make this year one of growth and change.
David has a lot of good advice for us in Psalm 101 on how to live a successful life, and it’s been helpful for me to take some time this week to evaluate which of these things needs attention in my own heart. Perhaps you’ll find it useful too.
“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to Thee, O Lord, I will sing praises” (v. 1).
The story is told of a humble shepherd boy named Caedmon in 1st century England who dearly loved music, but was unable to sing or even to speak properly. One night a Man appeared to him in a dream and said, “Sing for me, Caedmon. Sing for me.” “I can’t sing”, Caedmon protested. “Sing anyway. Sing for me”, replied the Visitor. So Caedmon began to sing a song of praise to his Creator, and from that day forth was gifted with songs and poetry that continue to resonate through the ages. Sing freely and often to the Creator of your love for Him. He delights in it!
2. Live with integrity
“I will give heed to the blameless way…I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart” (v. 2).
The word “blameless” as used in this verse does not mean sinless perfection; rather it means “sincere, complete, having integrity.” It is within the reach of each one of us to live a “blameless life”, but it requires a careful commitment to walk a life of integrity and sincerity. It is noteworthy that the psalmist makes specific reference to having integrity “within my house.” It is not only before the watching world that we must have integrity, but we must walk it out before the eyes of those closest to us, in our own homes…and that is often where it is the hardest.
3. Guard your eyes
“I will set no worthless thing before my eyes” (v. 3).
This becomes more and more difficult, as the world around us is increasingly filled with “worthless things.” It therefore requires continual discernment and an attitude of prayer as we go through each day asking God, “Should I watch this show/movie?” or “Should I read this book/magazine?” or “Am I lusting after the worthless things in this store?”, or any number of other questions. Each opportunity to make a choice is also an opportunity for growth.
4. Flee from evil
“A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil” (v. 4).
Take no part in activities that grieve the heart of God. Reject “perverse” ideas and flee from temptation (I Tim. 6:11, II Tim. 2:22). “Knowing no evil” also includes standing against evil practices within society whenever possible. In verse 1, David sings not only of the Lord’s lovingkindness, but of justice. As the people of God, we must be careful that we do not neglect fighting for justice in the process of fleeing from evil.
5. Reject pride
“No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure” (v. 5).
Reject every form of pride and conceit. Recognize it for what it is and deal with it! See your life in the light of the reality of God’s holiness, humbling yourself before Him; and it can be useful to do this not only in your heart, but by changing your actual physical posture. Kneeling, lying prostrate, bowing your head, holding out your hands palm up in surrender—these are all ways in which our bodies can help to communicate humility to our own minds as well as to the heart of the Father. Remember that out of the “Top 7” sins that God hates, pride tops the list—above lying, fighting, and even murder (see Proverbs 6:16-19).
6. Don’t tolerate deceit
“He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me” (v. 7).
Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but delights in men that are truthful.” My children all memorized that verse when they were young, through writing it out repeatedly when caught in an untruth! Do not model any form of lying or deceit, within the home or without, and set a strong standard for truth. Jesus IS the Truth, and we approach the Father only through that Truth.
As we prayerfully seek to follow these guidelines in God’s Word, let’s trust Him to make 2022 a year of spiritual growth and blessing!