Psalm 101

I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing.

I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence.

Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord.

——

There’s a recent popular book entitled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Its a great book about not letting ultimately-insignificant things stress one out. This saying, however, become a saying that ultimately undermines a person’s integrity. I have found that sinful actions don’t happen as big events all at once, but instead a series of small actions that lead to larger ones. CS Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, reflects this in a striking way when it says, “Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” This Psalm reflects this idea as well – the writer speaking of living in integrity (which’s definition of “who you are when no one but God is watching” is the best definition I have come across) and noting the ways that he (and others) can live in ways that are not of God, but are hard for others to see – secret slander, haughty looks, arrogant hearts. These are actions that are possible to be held in check when others are watching.

Its in the details. Its in the details when you look closely that you see things that you don’t see otherwise. If you ignore the little things then you will miss the bigger.

To shift from the darkness of sin to the beauty of creation, this picture is a macro shot of a tiny flower (periwinkle) which is only about an inch across. But when looking closely, you see the tiny hole in the middle, the detail on the petals, the texture of the plant.

Look closely. Look closely at your life. Look closely and look for the small things. Look for the small things that can lead to the larger – whether its in the darkness of sin or in the beauty of living the life that Christ has set before us.

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