I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me? (Psalm 101:2)
In general, every Christian wants to live a life that pleases God. We want to reflect God’s glory in grace in our personal lives, families, jobs, and churches. This is a great goal in the Christian life, but it can be discouraging and overwhelming. One of the reasons it can be so daunting is because it can be difficult to identify where to begin.
Psalm 101 is a great place to start and it gives us an outline and starting point to cultivate a God-centered life. David starts Psalm 101 by praising God for who He is and worshiping Him in truth. He resolves that he will be deliberate in the way that he follows the Lord.
Notice this is not passive or reactionary attitude. David is making his intention clear: I will worship God in spirit and truth, and I will lead a life that pleases Him. Then he sets out a system for how he will accomplish this.
1. Remove Temptation
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless. (101:3)
David says that he will set no worthless thing before his eyes. He seeks to remove the impure objects that could pull his heart away from worshiping God.
This is where we must start, we must be diligent to see what temptations in our life we are most prone to that can lead us astray. Being proactive against sin and not letting it gain a place in our homes and intimate parts of our lives will help us to spend more time pursuing what is good and holy.
2. Hate Evil
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. (101:4–5)
David takes an almost war-like stance against any form of evil in his life or kingdom. He declares war against sin and pledges himself to destroy it any way he can.
John Owen, the puritan theologian, says this: “Always be killing sinor it will be killing you.” David understood this. Not only would he remove temptation, but he would fight against what is evil in all areas of life.
3. Seek the Godly
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. (101:6)
The next step David takes is to surround himself with people who are godly. Sometimes it can be easy to settle for friends and people that speak into our life. But notice David says that he will not settle for advisors and friends. He will be searching for people who are faithful to the Lord, and not only find them, but then have them speak and minister to him.
The people that will speak into the most intimate and important parts of David’s life will be those whose resolve is also to walk faithfully with the Lord and glorify Him.
4. Remove Ungodly People
No one whopractices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes. (101:7)
Likewise, while acquiring Godly people, David wants to remove ungodly people from his counsel. He refuses to be influenced by people who do not walk faithfully with the Lord. In our lives we must also be careful to take note of those people who speak into our lives.
This is not to say that we should not engage with unbelievers. On the contrary, we want to share the gospel of Christ with those who are far off! However, we need to have wisdom and make sure that an ungodly person does not “dwell in [our] house.”
When I was young my parents were careful to take note of who were influencing my sister and I. They wanted to know what our teachers were teaching us, what Sunday school teachers told us about God, and what friends we were keeping.
They knew that if we surrounded ourselves or were open to ungodly insight, it could pull us away from God. Like David, we must be careful only to let the godly “dwell in [our] house.”
5. Be Quick to Do What is Right
Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
from the city of the LORD. (101:8)
The author uses the language “every morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land.” Kings used to hear court cases in the morning. This was for two reasons: first, their minds were fresh, and second, it hadn’t gotten extremely hot!
It was the best time to make the wisest decision concerning a judicial case. David wanted to show that he would not be slothful to do what was right. Every morning he would be committed to making decisions that honored the Lord and not be tempted to let doing what is right fall victim to procrastination.
While this is a great resolution to follow, we can be reminded of our shortcomings. We can be reminded of the sin that wars against us, the difficult relationships we have, and our inability to serve the Lord well.
But thank God for Jesus Christ who because of His work on the cross makes us new and redeems us. That through His Spirit we are given the power to do what we were once unable to do. That when we fail, He is faithful to forgive us and work powerfully through our shortcomings.
May we look to this year with a resolve to cultivate a Godly life through the power of Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith!