psalm 15

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord ?
  Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
  speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

 

Who may worship the Lord and enter his presence? Those who are blameless? Who is blameless?! Certainly not me. Certainly not you. No one—no one on their own. In Jesus we are found to be, but never alone.

 

Doing what is right. How often do I do what is easy or convenient—or simply more desirable—than to do what is truly right? And speaking truth from sincere hearts? Well, I just said I often do what is easy or convenient or more desirable. Speaking truth, being sincere—these are often the opposite of easy or convenient or desirable.

 

Those who refuse to gossip
  or harm their neighbors
  or speak evil of their friends.

 

What will my day and my choices look like when I learn the art of holy refusal? Refusing to gossip, to harm neighbors, or speak evil of friends? I can only assume that “harm their neighbors” here speaks of harming them with words since it is couched between two things which bring hurt through lips.

 

This is far more difficult than I care to admit. Words come so easily; angry words feel so justified, careless words so natural. What was it James said about taming the tongue? Didn’t he speak of the lips we use to praise our God and then to turn and curse those he’s made? He spoke of me. He spoke so truly of me and my heart echoes his words, “This should not be.”

 

Those who despise flagrant sinners,
  and honor the faithful followers of the Lord ,
  and keep their promises even when it hurts.

 

Who may worship and be in God’s presence? Those who despise flagrant sinners. This is easy so long as their flagrance is not in ways I am weak as well. Then it feels like maybe they have a good reason or simply need more grace. But flagrant sin—could this be the worst of sin?

 

And what does it look like to honor the faithful? To encourage them? To lift them up? Does it mean to point them out and speak well of them? Why does it feel like we are dividing rooms and people and friends? Despising the flagrant sinners from the honored faithful? What does this look like in a world of grace and peace that comes from Christ?

 

Those who lend money without charging interest,
  and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.

 

Who may find God in worship? Those who care so little for their stuff. Those who aren’t driven by the constant hunger for the more power, more position, more material. Those who don’t love money. I don’t love money, but maybe I love the things money gets me…

 

“Such people stand firm forever.” I am fortunate to stand for a moment before failing in one, no two, well truthfully—all of these areas. A moment and I am down. A moment and I am flailing and faltering.

 

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.      1 Corinthians 15:57-58

 

It is good and right to be called to high living and right loving. It is helpful to read a Psalm of calling and challenge and remember that I am called to live and love and be as Jesus. And it is better still to remember that in Christ all is accomplished in me. All I cannot do, everything I cannot be. He does and he is in me.

 

So I will strive and today I will commit to be the one who walks in the presence and worships the Lord with my life. Today I will seek blamelessness and sincerity of heart. Today I will practice refusal of words that wound. Today I will despise my own flagrant sin and honor the faithful ones in prayer. And I will pray to love things less than people.

 

In everything I will thank God for the victory that comes only through Jesus.

 

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