I live the wrong way all the time.
I’m not talking about falling into morally disqualifying sin. I can’t say that I’ve been seduced by arguments of atheism. I haven’t questioned the core foundations of Christian theology. I don’t have the desire to quit the ministry to which God has called me and live with selfish and reckless abandon.
But I still live the wrong way more often than I should, in the mundane moments of everyday life.
I let my guard down in times of spiritual warfare, relaxing when I’m called to be alert. I allow sinful desires to cultivate in my heart, not fighting as I should to prevent them from turning into harmful words and actions. I minimize my iniquity, accusing others when only my heart is to blame.
What about you? Can you say that you live the right way all the time?
I love the last verse of Psalm 73 because it’s a manual on living the right way:
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
(Psalm 73:28, ESV)
This manual provides us with three practical steps to live the right way:
1. Acknowledge God’s Presence
God’s greatest gift to you is the gift of himself. “Near God” is something you could never have earned, deserved, or personally achieved. “Near God” is the exact opposite of where your sin takes you.
But you and I don’t always acknowledge his presence. There are moments in life when we get it wrong and live as if he doesn’t exist or is not near. To live the right way, you need to daily celebrate the grace that has brought you near to God and God near to you.
2. Remember God’s Rescue
Under the heat of life in this broken world, you will become weary, wounded, and discouraged. It’s only natural to look for someplace to call “my refuge,” and thus it’s vital to remember that God is the only hiding place worth running to.
It is he alone who can heal the wounds of your heart. Only he can give you the strength you need to get up once more and continue. Only in Christ will you find the inner peace when there is little peace to be found around you. To live the right way, you need to run to the one refuge that can provide true sanctuary.
3. Obeying God’s Call
God gives you the grace of his nearness and the grace of his refuge so that you can “tell of his works.” No longer do you live for your own glory – the glory of getting what you want, indulging what you feel, and satisfying your needs. Instead, you now live with the recognition that you have been sovereignly gifted and positioned so that all that you do and say would point people around you to the one glory that will only ever satisfy their hearts.
To live the right way, you need to look for opportunities to connect yourself to something (and Someone) infinitely bigger and better than your daily agenda.
Let’s be honest: because of remaining sin, we so often get it wrong. But let’s also be hopeful: because of God’s grace, we now have the divine power to get it right.
May your hands be productive because you live in light of these truths: that God is near, that he is your refuge, and thus you will obey his call.
1. In what ways have you forgotten to acknowledge God’s presence? What are the dangers of “God amnesia” - think specifically in terms of your life.
2. What are some other sources of refuge that you are tempted to run to when life gets tough? How do those sanctuaries fail to deliver true and lasting rest, and in what ways may they actually be a danger to you?
3. How have you experienced the joy of “telling of his works” in the past? Why is this more rewarding than living for your own daily agenda?
4. What can you do to remind yourself that God is near and that he is your only source of refuge?
5. How can you by used by God to tell others that he is near and their only source of refuge? Who specifically needs encouragement this week, and how can you plan to encourage them?