Values and Priorities; August 11, 2022


Psalm 16:2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

This Psalm is special to me because verse six was a favorite of my father and his father before him, verse 10 was referenced by Peter at Pentecost, and verse 11 has been very pleasantly set to music in Japanese. However, in a sense all of those are dependent on the attitude expressed in this verse. This verse is in a very real sense the key to David’s life; he got into trouble only when he forgot it momentarily. Our lives are filled with all sorts of things both good and bad. David, and countless saints before and after him, recognized that, as James said, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) When we get into trouble is when we think we can have anything good apart from Him. Actually, as I mentioned a few days ago, apart from Him we would be nothing more than random atoms, if that! Life is ultimately a matter of priorities and choices; that’s what free will is all about. It is when we recognize that God is Lord, that He has absolute authority over us, and that every genuinely good and desirable thing is bound up in Him that we start fulfilling the purpose for which we were created and so experience the blessings that He has intended for us all along. The devil tries to keep us from that awareness any way he can, convincing some people that God “made us wrong,” or that we were “born into the wrong time,” or something of the sort. There are many things about our life and circumstances that we don’t understand, but everything becomes immeasurably better when we come to the awareness David expresses here.

I was thankfully raised with this as a given assumption about life, but I can’t say I haven’t deviated from it more times than I could count. I too have listened to the devil’s lies about some “good thing” that God was “keeping from me.” That has never ended well! At this point in my life I’m blessed to say that this principle is pretty well worked into me, but I’m still vulnerable to complaining at times, not to mention dragging my feet even when I know God wants me to do something. As James said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) I need to apply the truth I know with my whole heart, not entertaining the devil’s lies but walking in God’s truth alone, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You also for the book I’ve been reading that has shown me the humanity and fallibility of some people I had idolized. Help me never condemn myself or anyone else for mistakes, but rather operate fully in Your grace, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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