Learning How To Really Live.
“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” – Psalm 86:11 NLT
Most of us think we know what we want out of life. We have a general idea of the kinds of things it takes to get the most out of our time on this planet. And they usually include some or a lot of the following: Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity, and power in some form or fashion. We have been sold a bill of goods that those things are what make life meaningful and bring joy and contentment. But David, as the king of Israel, had all of those things. He was powerful, rich, influential, and popular, but he had learned that all of it was meaningless and incapable of bringing him peace. He knew there was more to life and He knew that God was the source. So he prayed, “O Lord, teach me how you want me to live!” (Psalm 86:11 NET). The Hebrew word David uses conveys the idea of a journey or path. He is asking God to show me which road to take that will lead to the right destination. David has an end in mind, a destination. Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity and power all lead somewhere, to a destination, but is it where God wants us to end up? Will they help us arrive at the place He has in mind for us? These things tend to lead us down the path that ends up in pride, self-sufficiency, enslavement, discontentment, greed, covetousness, jealousy, fear, anxiety, and so much more. So David asks God to point him in the right direction, show him the right path to take that will get him where he needs to be.
David continues his prayer: “…that I may live according to your truth.” The Hebrew word translated “live” in this verse is actually a word that means literally “to walk” or figuratively “to live you life.” David knows that living according to God’s truth requires walking down the right path. We can’t live according to God’s will for our lives if we keep doing things our own way or pursuing our own agenda. David understands that it all begins by having God point us in the right direction. We have to know the right path if we are going to walk in the right direction and discover the right way to live. Over in the book of Ephesians, Paul writes to the Gentile believers there reminding them that, “You used to live (peripateo) in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil – the commander of the powers in the unseen world” (Ephesians 2:2 NLT). The Greek word peripateo means “to walk or live your life.” He is telling them that there was a time when they lived just like the rest of the world. But now they know a different way of life, a different path to take. “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life (peripateo) worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God” (Ephesians 4:1 NLT). Now they are to walk differently, according to God’s road map for life. This path produces different results. It leads to a different place. It leads to holiness, humility, gentleness, peace, patience, kindness, and unity. It leads to selflessness, not selfishness.
Finally, David asks God, “Grant me purity of heart” (Psalm 86:11 NLT). The NET Bible translates this request, “make me wholeheartedly committed to you!” He is asking for an undivided, fully committed heart that will stick to the path that God has shown him. Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity, and power will always be beckoning to us along the way, tempting us to step off of the path pointed out to us by God. We need God to equip us with a single-minded devotion and commitment to remain true to His path and not deviate. His path and His path alone will get us where we need to be. His path will allow us to reach the destination He has in store for us. Any other path will take us places we really don’t want to go.
Father, keep me on Your path. Help me take my eyes off those other ways of life that can sometimes look so appealing. Constantly remind me that it is Your way that leads to life. It is Your path that is the only true path to joy, peace, contentment, hope, help, happiness, and eternal life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men