Seems like such an ambiguous term, doesn’t it? What does it mean? Can it be done? I mean, I know it’s been done. I have read the Bible, but can it BE done today? What does holy living look like? And how do I claim it back into my life? I read Psalm 101 last week and it really brought this whole realization of holy living out in my life this week.
There is a progression there, if you notice it. It’s subtle, and I definitely only JUST noticed it last week even though I know I’ve read this passage hundreds of times in my life. Let us walk through it together.
1 I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
First, you see the Psalmist focused on God, but more specifically on the love and justice of God. (Ps. 101:1) What a curious pair of attributes. Think about it: why Love and Justice? They’re kind of polar opposites. When you think of love you think of acceptance, forgiveness, care and concern for the one loved. Love carries with it a relational concept that “covers a multitude of sin.” Justice, on the other hand, holds to a standard. It’s black and white. Justice demands one be held responsible, and brings with it an idea of sin being paid for, wrongs being righted. So, how do love and justice go hand in hand? Does one tie into the other? It is amazing, and no coincidence, that it was this combination that David chose to praise God for using to bring holiness into his life. It is because of God’s justice that we MUST be holy; it is because of His LOVE that we want to be holy. His holiness established the criteria; His justice demands it be met; His love allows us to meet it. (Romans 6-8) It is focusing on the love and justice of God that perpetuates David’s response.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life— when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart.
3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
Next, you see the Psalmist focused on himself: his heart, his home and his habits. (Ps. 101:2-3) The Psalmist first changes his heart “I will be careful to lead a blameless life.” It is an attitude change, a commitment of the will to actively do something to bring about a blameless life. Think about that statement. Can you say this? Can you honestly say, “I am being careful to lead a blameless life” or is just giving it a good try sufficient? This verse challenged me. When I first reflected on it, I asked God to help me be able to honestly say this statement. I had no idea He’d take me seriously. A few days later, an occassion arose that would test this desire to live holy or to live comfortably. I was expecting a deposit at a time when I was trulying hurting for some cash, but when I went online to look at how much I had received, more money was deposited than I had earned, and I had a choice to make. It would have been easy to ignore it, to call it a stroke of good luck and “God’s provision” for a monetary need. But it wasn’t. It was a mistake, and it needed to be fixed. ((Notice it didn’t come when I was doing well financially. Temptation will rarely hit our lives in our strongest moments. Satan likes to kick us when we’re down.)) I needed to make it right and it didn’t matter if anyone else knew about it. Here was my chance. You see, the decision starts within our own hearts, we practically apply it in our own homes(this is where the rubber meets the proverbial road), and it will make its way into our own habits. The question I ask you is: Are you willing to sacrifice conveniences and liberties in an effort to carefully lead a blameless life?
Notice also the progression of commitment the psalmist grows in. It goes from wanting to live blamelessly, to walking in his house blamelessly, to not even setting anything in front of his eyes that isn’t blameless. The closer his walk with God, the deeper his commitment to holiness becomes.
4 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.
5 Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.
6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
7 No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
8 Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.
Lastly, you see the Psalmist focused on his relationships (closest to farthest): his friends, his neighbor, his minister, his acquaintances, and his city. (Ps. 101:4-8) The underlying fact of this portion is pretty self explanatory: those closest to us, affect us. My roommate and I prove this every day. We haven’t even lived together a year and already, we say the same things and wear the same style of clothes. Just the other day, a professor told us that she could tell we were roommates. It’s uncanny, and a little creepy when at 3PM, I finally see her and realize that we’ve been wearing the same dress all day. But the undeniable fact remains: We are not an island unto ourselves. And because we affect those around us, it is safe to say then we are also being affected by those around us. So, the question then is, “Who is affecting you?” Who are your closest friends? Do they exemplify holy living? Do they push you to godliness? Do those who minister to you walk blamelessly before God? Are you affecting the city you live in with your holiness? Or are you just blending in with the world? Look at the consistency shown by the Psalmist as well: every morning. This is an active commitment, not just a Sunday morning one.
It’s not easy. It’s not always fun. But I would much rather be effective for the furtherance of the Gospel by carefully leading a blameless life, than to enjoy this season here on earth. After all, isn’t the Gospel the whole point? Are we really not willing to sacrifice conveniences and liberties in an effort to carefully lead a blameless life?
Lord, may we be women committed to living our lives blameless before a watching world.