Recently, our church had the opportunity to spend some time in Psalm 37. It seems like the perfect Psalm for American conservative Christianity as we explore how to be true to what we believe in a land that seems to have turned on many of the things we hold as foundational. Let me recommend, that if you haven’t read Psalm 37, give it a read. Pray over it. You may even want to check out a sermon I preached on July 12.
There are a number of very important passages in Psalm 37, but one seems particularly important for the long haul. Let me set up the passage. Those who were against God’s ways had won favor in the culture. Those who wished to follow God’s ways had become a minority. What now? David says: Don’t freak out. Don’t want what they have. God’s ways are still good and will prevail in the end. Live among the people and do good among them. Then he says this:
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalms 37:4 (NLT)
What do we delight in? God. God is love. God made this beautiful world and the original version was a paradise of interdependency and love. Ever since we started loving ourselves instead of others, things just haven’t worked right. God’s love was shown perfectly in Jesus, whose life embodied paradise and whose sacrificial death gives the forgiveness of sins. When we have that forgiveness, we can see the good again. Our heart’s desire is for interdependency again. We also have a choice to make:
Am I going to love the good more than I hate the bad?
Until Jesus returns the world will have it’s fair share of those who oppose God’s truth. We could spend every hour of every day looking into what is wrong with the world and denouncing it in righteous anger. This is not the way of Psalm 37.
“Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.” Psalms 37:8 (NLT)
What do other people know about what you believe? Do they know more about what you are against than what you are for? Do they see someone who is angry with the world and upset that things aren’t going their way? Do they see someone who is hopeless and ready to give up?
Love good more.
We have a tremendous opportunity to put the beautiful timeless truths of God on display for the world to see! Concerned for where our world is going? Then delight in what is good! Love like Jesus! Support families. Value every life. Love our enemies. Pray for those who persecute. Humble ourselves. Simplify. Mobilize. Evangelize.
You never show someone how to do something by only telling them about what not to do. Correction has it’s place, but when we model and point people toward what is good, we give them the positive example of what to “turn” to when they repent. Of course, we could never be this example without Jesus, and the same goes for them. That’s why we give them Jesus. We love good because Jesus loved good enough to take our bad. We follow him. Love good more.