Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Walking in Righteousness

“Oh, that my ways may be established to keep your statutes, then I will not be ashamed when I look upon all of Your commandments.” (Ps 119:5-6)

So many times in life, the choices that I face and the cares of the journey can consume and overwhelm me. The opportunity to bring shame to the name of my Savior in how I work through those times is very real, and while my desire is never to give mockers cause to profane the name of the Lord, sometimes my lack of action, or my foolish action, gives them that very opportunity.

I have been thinking about these verses in Psalm 119 for quite a while, and by God’s providence I am also studying/teaching through 1st John in Sunday school. One of the issues in 1 John is the discerning between those who walk in the darkness and those who walk in the light (1 John 1:6-10). John describes these two groups in various ways and he gives examples for characterizes either category. The consistent theme is the distinction between Christians and non-Christians; between possessors and mere-professors.

This distinction is key when, at the end of the 2nd chapter and continuing to the 3rd, John describes the various groups as those who practice righteousness or those who practice sin and lawlessness. While only Jesus truly practiced righteousness perfectly, the Christian is to be characterized by righteousness where as false professors are not. It was this idea of practicing, or habitually continuing in, righteousness that drew my attention to Psalm 119:5-6.

I will not ever perfectly practice righteousness, and while my status before God is not determined by that, it is very comforting to see and know that if my heart and desire is to be conformed to Christ then He will establish my ways. So even when I sin and do give cause for others to mock my savior, this will not be what characterizes my life. And more than that, my heart and mind will (hopefully) be quickly made aware of my sin so that I might run to my savior, who is my advocate and my propitiation, so that as I respond to my own sinful behavior, I might display the righteousness and glory of God in and through my own sin and failing.

“I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep your statutes; do not forsake me utterly.” (Psalm 119:7-8)

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