With an Upright Heart

Psalm 119:1-3 ESV

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!”

We Are Blessed

We are blessed of God who walk in the ways of the Lord in obedience to his word, who walk in the ways of righteousness, holiness, integrity, and uprightness, and who do not live in open rebellion against our Lord in wicked living and in moral compromise.

We are blessed of God, too, who keep his testimonies, which are his commandments. But let me talk about that for a minute here.

Under the Old Covenant God had with his people, he gave them the Ten Commandments and then he gave them many other laws that they were to follow which were ceremonial and purification laws and laws having to do with sacrifices and food, etc.

Under the New Covenant Relationship God has with us who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, Jesus is the fulfillment of that law. And, he summarized the Ten Commandments into two: Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39).

But the New Testament reiterates all the Ten Commandments over again except for one, which has to do with remembering the Sabbath. And, that is because our salvation in Jesus Christ is now our Sabbath rest, and we are to worship our Lord in spirit and in truth all the time and anywhere. So, we are not under the Sabbath law that the Jews were.

As well, the New Testament goes into even more detail than the Ten Commandments do regarding what is sin. And, it teaches us that we must forsake our sinful practices, be changed in mind of the Spirit of God, and that we must now walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God.

In several passages of Scripture it gives us specific lists of sins that are to be cut out of our lives, and we are warned that if we continue to make these sins our practice (our life course) that we will not inherit eternal life with God. So, under the New Covenant we are not free from having to obey God’s moral laws. So, we are not given permission to become lawless and to live however we want (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Context is Critical

So, when it tells us in the New Testament that we are to obey our Lord’s commandments, it is speaking of the ones given to us and repeated for us in the books of the New Testament under the New Covenant. And regarding Jesus’ teaching, if not all of it, the majority was New Covenant teaching, I believe.

But in determining what we are to obey or not obey, context is everything. We can’t pull Scriptures out of context and build doctrines around them or make them into rules to follow if by removing them from the context we have altered their meaning.

Sometimes the context is cultural, sometimes historical, sometimes it is specific to certain people and not to all people, so we must examine the context to make certain we are correctly handling the word of truth.

For example, the Scriptures teach us to be of one mind and heart with other believers in Jesus. But we must understand that the “one mind” is not the mind of men or of a man, but of the mind of God. And, we are to be unified with other believers who are also unified with the mind of God, of Christ.

So, if you have a religious leader telling you that you must obey him, but what he is teaching is not what the Scriptures are teaching, then you don’t have to obey him, no matter how much he tries to shame you into unifying with him and with his business goals and objectives.

So, when we do obey, we need to make certain we are obeying God and not the teachings of men who may be teaching what is contrary to God’s word, usually because they take the Scriptures out of context to make them say whatever it is they want them to say. And, we need to make certain what we are obeying is under the New Covenant and interpreted in the full context.

But the moral compass that the Lord Jesus has given to us, his followers, should make it quite clear for us what is sin and what is not sin. If we are loving God with our whole being, and we are loving our neighbors as ourselves, then we aren’t going to cheat on, lie to, steal from, commit adultery against or murder anyone, etc. But we will obey our Lord.

Psalm 119:4-6 ESV

“You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.”

We can’t pick and choose what we will obey and what we won’t of our Lord’s commandments (under the New Covenant). And, we can’t pick and choose when we will or when we won’t obey, either. The Bible calls that being double-minded, asking for the wisdom of God, but then vacillating regarding whether or not we will do what he says.

If we keep his commandments diligently (persistently and conscientiously), we will be steadfast in keeping them, and we won’t waver in opinion regarding his commandments or in our commitment to obey them, either.

For, it is shameful for us to profess faith in Jesus Christ and then to ignore our Lord and his commandments and to still live for the lusts of the flesh. It is like a slap in the face to God to profess his name and then to do the opposite of his commands. For we are to honor God with our lives, and we are to walk in the fear of the Lord, showing him respect and reverence.

Psalm 119:7-8 ESV

“I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!”

An upright heart is one that is pure, but it is also honest and sincere. It has no selfish or manipulative motives or hidden agendas. It does not do for God to get something from God in return, but it walks in obedience to our Lord out of love for God and appreciation for him, and out of a desire to want to do what pleases him, because it is the loving and right thing to do and for no other reason.

So, our praise of our Lord should not be lip service only, nor for show, nor to impress others, but it should be out of sincere love and appreciation for our Lord and for who he is and for all that he has done for us and will yet do.

And, we should praise him when we learn of his statutes (his laws). We should be glad and rejoice that God has given us these commands for us to follow, for they are for our good. We should not resent them or grumble and complain over them, but we should want to obey them because we love our Lord and our desire is for him to please him in all things.

And, then, with grateful hearts for all that the Lord has done for us, we must bow in submission to him, and we must do all that he requires of us. We must put off everything that would hinder our walks of faith with our Lord and every sin that entangles, so that we can run with perseverance the race God has marked out for us to run (Heb. 12:1-2).

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

5 thoughts on “With an Upright Heart

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