“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.”
Psalms 15:1-5 NKJV
When people abide in Jesus, they have a life that runs counter to that of the typical earth dweller. They are people who are harmless, in that their motives are pure and oriented to the worship of the Lord. These are the ones who never seem to get caught up in scandals, have few enemies, and hold no grudges. All that they do is for the glory of the Lord.
These are safe people, bent more on blessing than cursing, who are not out to do evil to anyone. As I have grown and matured in my faith, I have noticed that I am often surrounded by difficult people. When I served at my previous church, as a deacon, I often ministered to people on the fringes. They always seemed to find me.
I was the one who listened without judging, who was always ready to pray with them over some need. I offered counsel where needed, and I offered respect. I think that last one was the most important. Often this who have difficulty are the ones avoided, relegated to the end of the cue, not receiving loving ministry.
Reading Psalm fifteen this morning reminded me of some the qualities I aspire to, as I walk with the Lord. In my reading, my mind is taken to other texts that depict the man or woman of God.
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV
Abiding in the Lord is abiding in what is holy, spending time in the word of God, in prayer and submitting to the authority of the God in all matters. It is the development of holy habits, that become second nature over time.
The pressure of these times are an occasion of testing for me, as the Lord uses pressure to root out the remaining dark places. I rejoice in all that He is doing as He worked, as I have begun to see the transformation in me. I have learned to remain quiet when faced with conflict, to focus on things that are good, when tempted with evil, and have learned to keep my eyes on the Lord, even when baser temptations are placed before me.
In my obedience, I have been refined and made more useful to the Lord. The more I obey, the easier it has become.
There was a time in my life when I was anything but “safe,” as I had much difficulty living with others. I did not have the values of God guiding me, and my only god was myself.
The Lord has worked on me, ordaining trials and troubles to bring me to the end of myself. My adversaries mean me harm, but the Lord has used it for His glory’s He has used conflict to change me from the inside out.
Through all that the Lord has done, He has made stronger, able to withstand all that enters my life.
Brothers and sisters, let the goodness of our God shine through all that you do. The world we live in has become an increasingly sad place, with countless people wandering around with no hope. Few feel as if they can trust in anyone, as it seems that everyone out for themselves.
May we be people that they can trust, people with whom they feel safe. Let us proceed with a spirit of love, as we take the message of the Gospel into the world.
Stay safe, my people. The winds of change are blowing…