Is a godly life one of your goals? If so, how does that happen? The answer is difficult for a society addicted to short, concise answers. Why? A godly life isn’t built on sound bites. But Scripture holds many ‘snapshots’ for our examination. One of these is Psalm 71. And this is a good place for pointers on a godly life.
A Godly Life: Refuge
The Psalmist opens with: In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge. To take refuge means to find a place of safety. And a safe person or place is one we trust. That’s a key to godly living. One can trust in many things. But the only Person Who will never fail or let us down is our Heavenly Father. So step one is to trust Him. Find your safety in Him, and do it daily.
A Godly Life: Remember & Give Thanks
One of my life goals is to be like that tenth leper. You remember those ten lepers Jesus healed? Only one turned back to say, Thank You. Notice what the Psalmist writes:
For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You.
And a key to thankfulness is consistency. From his youth he has trusted the Lord. Notice the writer comes back to the idea in verse 17:
O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds.
Do you think thanksgiving is absent? The word is not written in these verses, but what do we call it when someone acknowledges a kindness we have shown them? We call it giving thanks.
A Godly Life: Say So
Another psalmist wrote, Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. If our Father has done great and marvelous things, we should speak up about them. Here, the Psalmist says it this way:
My praise is continually of You (vs. 6c)
Remembrance, praise, and thanksgiving are not one-time things. They are to be the constants in a godly life. But there is something else we should note about them. We see it in verse 14:
But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
The more we see and recite the mighty acts of our Father, the greater our understanding of the need to do so. The Psalmist hopes in the Lord and praises the Lord more and more. These constants should be increasing.
This fact is easy to acknowledge and yet it’s easy to doubt. We doubt to our own peril. God is good and can be nothing less. He gives good and perfect gifts. His answers are always for our good and His glory. And His goodness didn’t change because I:
- Have difficult circumstances
- Was attacked
- Didn’t get the answer I wanted when I prayed
- Don’t have everything I think I need
Let’s look again at verse 14:
I will hope continually…
My God is bigger than my circumstances. His answers are better than mine. He knows the end from the beginning. And if those things aren’t true then is He much of a God? I/we can hope in Him continually.
A Godly Life: Declare Salvation
It is true: God loves us just like we are. It’s also true He loves us too much to leave us that way. To speak of His salvation to a world that doesn’t know Him is to say to all, There is hope. It’s possible to live a life with joy and purpose! The Psalmist instructs us in verse 15:
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them.
The realization here is the limitation of our time and ability to speak. If we use every word at our disposal and speak through all of our days, we cannot exhaust the righteousness of God. And notice how he mentions the sum of them. What is that? Salvation would have to include every sin of every person who has ever lived. How many sins is that? However many it is, God knows it. He laid it all on Jesus at the cross of Calvary.
And what if he had God’s righteousness in mind? How could one measure the infinite? We cannot. So to even begin to do Him justice our task is to constantly declare the wonder of Who He is. If that was our goal it would sure cut down on time for rumors and gossip!
A Godly Life: A Future Focus
One of my all-time favorite song texts is, O may all who come behind us find us faithful, may the fire of our devotion light their way… Someone who is living from God’s point of view wants to reach the next generation. Notice what the writer said in verse 18:
And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.
Declaring the goodness of God to this generation would be the current generation. But the Psalmist has acknowledged his advanced years. It’s never enough to reach my own generation. The next generation must also be reached.
These things came to mind over the past few days. I received a letter from some friends. They had enclosed a check to support this ministry. Our goal is all the things above and they know that. But their check was in memory of someone who lived like this Psalmist. And for their recognition of the life that was so well lived, and the gift in honor of that life, this is another opportunity for me to be like that tenth leper!