I have had only a few relationships in life where I would hold nothing back - sharing from my heart, opening up freely, knowing those individuals would not pick me apart because of some of the things I struggle with. It is a rare find to find one so trustworthy. You know, I didn't start out with these kind of friends, though. It took a long time to find these most trusted individuals! Yet, in the places where I had no one in the "natural" sense to open up to, I always had God. I think this is where I first learned the value of having someone I could open up to! Trusting him first with my life's secrets and struggles was the secret to me finding those whom he placed in my path who would become some of my greatest allies, toughest "critics", and most loving companions in this journey.
Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. (Psalm 37:5-6 MSG)
Our psalmist challenges us to do several things in this psalm. It is a psalm steeped in all kinds of richness. If you have never read it in its entirety, I will link below so you might just have the pleasure of taking it in. In passing through this portion of scripture again and again, some things always catch my eye about what David recorded here. I'd like to consider just a couple of them with you today:
* The company you keep determines a lot about where you will be headed. David's advice is to keep company with God because there is no better companion for the journey. Mom always used to say, "Choose your friends wisely." I think every parent's concern centers on the effect of unwise choices when the companions you choose are a little unruly and undisciplined. This has certainly proven to be true in my life. Those who spur me to do well are those who are also committed to walking with Jesus - just sayin!
* The ability to quiet down determines much about how we will interpret life. It is in the quieting process where we begin to center ourselves on what is really important - the things which really matter. I have to take regular times to actually quiet myself down - since my life usually flies at speeds in excess of the speed of light! If I didn't, I'd only have the perspective of the hectic, out of control life others want to impose upon me. In quieting down, I am taking back control, regaining perspective, and getting square with God's plan. When you are traveling in train, things pass you by and are gone. What you lack is the perspective of what is passing you by. In quieting down long enough and frequently enough, you regain the perspective. Just sayin!
* The perspective we maintain often determines our response to what life sends our way. David puts it well - bridle your anger, trash your wrath. If you have ever spun out of control in this life, you know how easily you find yourself at the edge of anger - always finding fault with things and people, easily excited when the slightest thing keeps life from progressing at the pace you were trying to keep. So, David's advice to get the right perspective also helps us to maintain the right attitude toward the things which would otherwise drive us over the edge! Just sayin!
* The relationship we have with things and money often is an indicator of what is really in control of our lives. To David, he lived by the "less is more" philosophy. In fact, he says, "Less is more, and more is less." Seems like a silly thing to say, but is it really? He is building on each piece of advice as he goes along in this psalm. When we choose our traveling companion well (God), we will also learn to spend time with him. Time with him helps us see things as they are, not as someone else would want us to see them. When we see things in this manner, we often don't find ourselves struggling with the attitudes that further clutter our lives with messes we have to clean up. Learning to live in simplicity is a blessing. Just sayin!
* The path we travel is made more secure because of the one we choose to walk with. In fact, David says it better than I ever could - "Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he’s happy. If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; God has a grip on his hand." (vs. 23-24) We might stumble, but we won't go down! The one we choose to travel with holds us securely. No "tree" in his forest falls without his noticing! Just sayin!
* The condition of the path we walk is often more of a matter of choosing the right path to travel than it is avoiding the obstacles on the one we might have haphazardly chosen. Maybe this is why David tells us to open up before God - to reveal to him the very things we might otherwise want to keep bottled up from the world around us. In getting these things out, placing them squarely in his care, there is often a clarifying of the path we should take. If we have clearly been on the wrong one, he redirects our course. If we are about to take a new one, he gives us assurance of its safety. Just sayin!
So, just some thoughts from a great psalm. Maybe you will find some treasures of your own there, as well. Just sayin!