Psalm 101:2(ESV) – “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.”
The first thing I like to do when I come home is take off my shoes! Walking barefoot is a sure way to help me feel relaxed and carefree. Maybe it’s the country girl in me. Every time I enter my house, I feel soothed. My home is my sanctuary, the one place I feel safe and protected from judgments, where the challenges of living with chronic illness and pain are accepted. I feel free. I know I can let down my guard.
When we think about the way we present ourselves to the world, we realize how easy it is to keep up appearances. When we are in public, whether at church, work, school, or social functions, we follow the rules, even when we aren’t conscious of them. We conform to the established behaviors. We do what takes to fit in and be liked. Sometimes we hide our true personalities and thoughts because we know we might not be accepted as part of the in-crowd.
What really happens behind our closed doors? When we are home? The one place we feel secure? The place we are certain that no one can hear us, see us, or find out our true feelings and motives? When we take off our masks and believe we no longer need to restrain ourselves? When we are truly exposed?
That’s why Psalm 101 intrigues me. It makes me examine my heart and really think about my private life, the life I live when no one is looking. This psalm talks about things we look at, the things we say, and the things we do (Psalm 101:2,3,5,7).
I believe all of us are guilty of complaining at some point in our lives. There are no excuses for it. But what about the times when we are leaving church and we overhear someone complaining? I’m talking about inside the sanctuary, walking to the exit. The sermon not thirty minutes old. Aren’t you saddened? Aren’t you heartsick when the complaints and criticisms are about a fellow worshipper?
Aren’t there times when we give in to fear and doubt? We focus on the worst possible scenario. We forget to look to God, and trust in His love and care for us (Psalm 23; Psalm 34:4; II Timothy 1:7; I John 4:18).
Are we professional gossips? Talking about our loved ones and neighbors, tearing them down and cloaking our malicious talk as prayer requests? Where is our compassion? Will we ever learn the art of edification? (Proverbs 20:19; Proverbs 26:20; I Timothy 4:12; I Peter 3:10).
Do we spend more time watching TV than we do reading the Word? Do we invest our time online with friends instead of spending it with our family?
Are we more concerned with our physical appearance and condition of our bodies than we are with the condition of our hearts and our spirits? (I Samuel 16:7; Psalm 51:10; Mark 7:20-22; II Corinthians 4:16)
We must never forget that we cannot escape from God. We may be able to deceive others, but we will never be able to get away from God’s presence (Psalm 139:7-8).
If our ultimate goal is to live to please God, to let Him be our Lord, and to submit to His will, surrendering every part of our lives to Him, then we must strive to live His way. We cannot try to hide behind a mask. Our entire being must be in agreement with Him. We have to be consistent, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.
We must have the courage to be authentic, to live lives that please God. Lives characterized by love and compassion.
Lord, help us to live in a way that is pleasing to You. Equip us to live with courage and truth. Let others be drawn to You as a result of Your presence in our lives.
Question for reflection: “Does my life betray the things I profess to teach?” -Oswald Chambers