Monday, April 14, 2008

Psalm 1

There was a time in my life when I decided that I needed to ground myself in what the Scriptures say about God so that I could better navigate through contemporary literature. So much of what we do and say is based on our own perceptions of what we want God to be like instead of what the Scriptures say God is like. My decision took me to the psalms, and I ploughed through them, one psalm at a time, through the whole book. When I finished the book, I stopped the discipline.

Well, I think I could use that again. I read a lot about theology, Christianity, ministry, etc., but it's not too often that I just reflect on God. Even when I study the New Testament, I tend to emphasize translation, historical background, and theology. Too often these other valuable things crowd out what God has to say to me through His word.

Today I reflected on Psalm 1 for a bit. It's interesting that a decision to reflect on the Scriptures begins with a psalm expounding the importance of reflecting on the Scriptures. The psalm has three stanzas--one about the man who delights in the law, one about the wicked, and one summary statement.

I find myself easily agreeing with the second stanza. It's easy to see the connection between living apart from God and failing miserably in life. The first stanza, however, is a bit tougher for me to believe--I mean really believe. I can acknowledge with my head that studying the Scriptures is a good thing, but would I go so far as to say that "my delight is in the law," or that I "meditate on it day and night" as the NIV renders the verses? Hardly.

Maybe this is a challenge to me to reevaluate the way I "do Christianity." I study the Scriptures because I enjoy it--it's fascinating to me to dig into the cultural milieu of the anciet world to uncover what was going on in the ancient writers' heads as they reflected on God. But do I go one step further, and ask, "How does this promote wise living?" Perhaps I need to do more of that.

"Father, I confess that at times I have been guilty of treating the Scriptures as an historical document and not a living, spiritual force. I confess that when I have made decisions based on what has seemed right to me at the time, that I have gotten into trouble. Father, I believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that I won't be whole until I figure out what that means for me. I pray that you would continue to mold me. I pray that I would be humble in my thoughts and disciplined in my commitments. I pray that I would develop a spiritual wisdom. I thank you for being patient--for picking me up when I have failed miserably. I thank you for your grace. I thank you for the spiritual community of which I am a part. You are good to me. Amen."

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