A smaller filter...
One morning last week I was reading that particular day’s scripture passages from the One Year Bible. I’ll admit that while I always look forward to my time in God’s Word, there are mornings when I’m not filled with anticipation and great expectations for revelations. This was one of those mornings.
I read through the Old Testament passages, which included David’s plans for the Temple, a prayer that he offered to God, and Solomon becoming king. Ho-hum. Next was a passage from Romans with Paul talking about life, death, law, and freedom. Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Look, I’m just being truthful. Some mornings I just don’t feel like reading scripture, but I do anyway. Not out of obligation or fear, but because I know that my life is better when I stay in the Word. Period. Again, this was one of those mornings.
Then I read Psalm 15, a Psalm of David.
1Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
As I read through the Psalm I had a bit of an epiphany.
The Ten Commandments, God’s Commandments, are my yardstick for measuring the way I live my life, or more specifically, my walk as a Christian.
Let me add something here. I do my best to follow God’s commands, not out of obligation or fear, but because it’s my choice to do so, just like reading the Bible each morning. I choose to, because my life is better when I do, and because I feel better about myself too.
Look, I love the relationship that I have with God today. I love walking it out with Jesus every day. And I love being filled with the Holy Spirit. If I’m not following the life-suggestions that God laid out for us, my connection, my relationship, my love affair with all three suffers. It’s that simple. I refuse to be separated in my mind and heart from God’s grace and His love because of something that I’ve done. I refuse to go back to where I was just a few years ago.
That wasn’t the epiphany. This was:
As I read I realized that the manner in which I live my life is so much more than the Ten Commandments. It’s means taking a closer look at myself and using an even smaller filter to determine what is acceptable in my life and what is not.
…whose walk is blameless…does what is righteous…speaks truth from his heart…no slander on his tongue…no wrong…no slur…
The Psalm calls for a higher standard indeed. Certainly more than just rolling out of bed in the morning and trying to do “what is right.”
And I realized that my desire to “dwell in your sanctuary and live on your holy hill” has nothing to do with heaven, although that’s where I want to go when my time clock here is punched.
You see, I want be in God’s sanctuary and stand on His holy hill now! And you know what? I don’t have to wait to die to do it! It’s during those special moments when I’m filled with God’s Spirit, and I know that my mind, thoughts, and heart are clean and pure, and I’m seeking Him with an intensity that consumes me that I feel His presence and know that He’s not only with me and all around me, but in me, and I feel His goodness and love, and I could just burst with joy, that I’m in that sanctuary and on that hill.
I’d love to tell you that I feel that every day, but I don’t, or at least not to the degree that I just feebly attempted to describe to you. But when it does happen, it’s what I consider to be my definition of euphoria: heaven on earth.
That’s exactly what happened as I was reading the Psalm. BAM! Out of nowhere. I was overwhelmed by God’s presence, so much so that I had to pause several times to reflect on a sentence that I’d just read. God’s Word came alive and I saw it through a different set of eyes and I saw that while I try to live my life according to the passage, there are those days when I fall short of my ambitions. The realization didn’t dampen my spirits at all, but actually emboldened me to live my life to an even higher standard. You see, it’s my belief that if I make a commitment to be the man that David spoke of in the Psalm, God will help me to be that man. That’s exactly what happened when I committed my life to God several years ago.
A few thoughts on making a commitment to life change, especially as it pertains to your walk with God. I liken it to pushing a steamroller from the top of a hill. Initially it takes a tremendous amount of effort just to get that thing to budge. In fact, there are times when you feel as if you’re not making any progress at all. But you have to stay at it, regardless of how seemingly impossible the task may seem. It’ll happen.
Once you get that huge machine rolling down the hill (and you will) it picks up momentum, and as it does it becomes an unstoppable force, with you in the driver’s seat. Unmovable, unwavering, unshakable faith.
And to think that I received all of that insight and God’s touch, on a morning when I didn’t even want to open the Bible. Go figure.
One last thought before I close, and it has to do with the last line of the Psalm.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Think about that one for a moment, would you?
…will never be shaken.