Psalm 101:4, 6 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. … 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.
From our point in history we might struggle with a Psalm like this one when the rubric at the beginning (which the Jewish Rabbis consider to be part of the Inspired Text) tells us that it was written by King David. We know enough about David’s life, and his open penitence in Psalm 51, to call his claim to lead a ‘blameless life’ with a ‘blameless heart’ in verse 2 into question!
However, we can identify with his conscious desire to live every part of his life in a way that is consistent with God’s revealed truth in spite of the innate weakness in his heart, and so will make a positive effort to minimise all influences that would make it more difficult to do this.
But this raises another problem. If we are to be effective as ‘ambassadors for Christ’ in this fallen world, as the apostle Paul urges us to be (2 Corinthians 5:20), then we need to put ourselves into situations, wherever possible, where we can rub shoulders with the people who need to know him. The pattern Jesus himself gave to us is one of ‘eating and drinking with sinners’ (cf Mark 2:16), because “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). In the light of this, it is interesting that ‘evangelism’ is an anagram of ‘meals given’!
I guess we all need to seek the Holy Spirit’s aid in being realistic about what our own limitations are, and in making sure that we are competent enough swimmers before joining the local Surf Life Saving team! Perhaps King David realised after his sinful encounter with Bathsheba that he needed to be more circumspect about his social contacts. Often the influence of behaviour that is not honouring to God or helpful in our walk with him, comes upon us unawares (as I’m sure it did for David as he enjoyed the fresh evening air on the rooftop at his neighbour’s bath time!), and our sinful minds become expert at finding self-justifying reasons (excuses) for what we do and say. For myself, I find David’s advice in Psalm 101 very pertinent as I look for opportunities to exercise my ambassadorship. And there is nothing more helpful than regular, directed and meaningful Christian fellowship around God’s Word, such as I get in the family of my local Church!
– Bruce Christian