David is an amazing guy - totally open with God in his communication of things he wants to really understand well. As he takes pen to paper to record what God has showed him about always being welcomed into the presence of a holy God, I find it amazing how "free" he is in his communication with God. He doesn't have a lot of preconceived pretense in his "discussions" with God - he is conversant with God in a casual, relaxed manner - allowing God to reveal things to him as he would see fit.
David asks a question that had probably been niggling in the back of his mind - how does someone get welcomed into your presence? In turn, God gives him a list of fourteen characteristics that "stand out" in a man's character that makes that man "stand out" in God's eyes. Let's briefly look at each:
- Walk straight - suggests that there is movement in your life - you are not stagnant in your walk. The walk is characterized by straightness - it has directed purpose, an aim in mind. That aim is God's best.
- Act right - when our walk is directed purposefully toward the things God desires of each of us, it becomes easier to have our action be affected by the very goal we are directed toward. Action is always affected by the aim of our heart and mind - if it is rightly focused on God, we tend to act in accordance with his love and grace.
- Tell the truth - look at the progression here: First, your aim in life needs to be Christ-centered. Then, your choice of action is affected by the fact that Christ is at the center and self is no longer the main object of our satisfaction. In turn, we see our speech affected. The words we speak take on meaning and become life-giving. That is what truth is - it is a well-spring of life to those that hear it.
- Don't hurt your friends - did you know that one of the easiest ways we hurt each other is in the carelessness of our words? Our actions and our words can both hurt, but most people will be quick to tell you that words cut deeply. Actions may be more easily forgiven, while words are not quickly forgotten.
- Don't blame your neighbor - in other words, own up to your behavior and don't shift blame to others. It is easy to blame-shift, but takes a strength of character to say, "It was me; I had a part in that outcome."
- Despise the despicable - mean, vile things are to be despised. It is easier to despise a "scumbag", but a little more challenging to despise the sin that motivates the man to act as he does. It is never God's intent that we throw the sinner out with the sin - we are to embrace the sinner, and despise the sin.
- Keep your word even when it costs you - and it WILL cost you! We use our words sometimes a little too freely and promise what we really did not intend to provide. God asks us to only promise what we can provide. Words like, "I will NEVER...." are rarely achievable. We need to learn to be realistic in our commitments - both to God and to others. In so doing, it is easier to keep our words.
- Make an honest living - not to imply that everyone needs to have a job out in the community, but we all have a contribution that is to be made to society, family, and local community. Whatever that is, we need to engage in it with a focus on contributing what we are capable of contributing.
- Don't take a bribe - this really goes hand in hand with making an honest living. Honesty and upright conduct should be the hallmarks of all we engage in.
You will never get "blacklisted" by God if your conduct is reflective of his action within your life. Don't get me wrong - you don't need to be perfect - just moving in that direction! God welcomes those with a right focus - the rest is an outcome of focus. So, come right on into God's presence - he welcomes those who welcome his presence into their lives!