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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The last two blogs seemed to strike a real nerve with many people. I have had more responses to these than to any other I've written. And, to this point, they have all been positive. Yeah, there have been a few wanting more clarification or asking me to "unwrap" this conversation further. Most have simply said they appreciated what we were talking about and what was being said. With that in mind, I want to offer some further thought today.

I told you in an earlier post (I think) that I had been challenged to start reading through the Psalms and meditating on the truths that are held there. I'm not rushing to get through them nor am I reading a "psalm a day". I'm simply taking them and pondering them and moving on as God has "released me" to the next. The last two days I've been on Psalm 15. Here it is in its entirety. I want to spend some time unpacking it a little bit today (and maybe in some days to come).
1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. 3Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. 5Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever. Psalm 15 NLT

Just five simple verses but there is some really good stuff in here for us think about. David (the king of Israel and writer of this passage) asks a legitimate question about who can stand in God's presence. He is asking the same question we referred to yesterday, "What must I do to stay as pure as possible?" Remember, I said yesterday that this was the right question.

Then, David begins to give ten "measures" as to how well we are doing in our quest for holiness and purity. Number one is someone who lives a blameless life. Now, we know from the Bible that no one is perfect. In fact, just one chapter before this (Psalm 14:1) David acknowledges that there is no one who does good. So how can anyone make it? The answer is that we can't on our own. A blameless life is out of our reach without Christ. Even our ability to do good comes from God.

What God measures our lives by is not the external activity of our bodies but the inward desire of our hearts. I can't live a completely error free life...but I am expected to try. And not just try out of legalism or obligation or instruction from others. He wants me to seek holiness out of love for him.

I close with this example. As an athlete, I was told by numerous coaches to give "110%"--a physical impossibility. There was no way that I could hit every patch or catch every throw and do it without error or loss of energy. I was, after all, human. All of my coaches knew that (well, there was this one whose grasp of the obvious could be called into question. We'll save him for a later blog). That didn't stop them from pushing me to give more and try harder on a daily basis. In aiming for perfection, I was made to be a better athlete.

In aiming for holiness, you and I are brought to a level of purity that we would not attain if we were not challenged to do so. And every day of "upright" living brings me closer and closer to the ultimate goal--being more like Christ Jesus.

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