I was cleaning up our garden bench, treating it with special wood-oil. The can of oil carries a well-known advertising slogan, which says, ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’. That’s integrity: a perfect match between what you see in a person’s life and what’s in that person’s heart – between the inside and the outside. When he speaks of ‘the false way’, David means a course of action that is out of kilter with his inner being; what he does being in conflict with what he thinks and believes. We sometimes call it hypocrisy. Let’s face it. We all struggle with integrity. Who doesn’t want to appear better than they really are? David asks for two things: that God should take the false way from him, and that He should impart His Law.
I’ve been trying to improve the grass around our home. Most of it wasn’t grass, but moss. I had to do two things: kill the moss and sow grass. Without killing the moss, the grass seed wouldn’t stand a chance. Unless God removes the ‘false way’, His Law may make us feel guilty, but it won’t change our life.
His Law – His Torah. That’s not just the commandments, but everything that can be included in teaching and instruction – the whole revelation of His will for godly living. When he asks God to ‘graciously grant him His Law’, David’s not thinking about reading it from a scroll. He’s thinking of having it ‘written in his heart’. God had promised that His Law would be very close to His people – in their mouths, even in their hearts’ (Deuteronomy 30:31). And, by His Spirit, God’s laws are written in every believer’s heart (Jeremiah 31:33).
If God is going to remove the false way from us, then we need to live ‘from the inside out’. I find that so many of my reactions and responses are controlled by what’s going on around me. I’m living ‘from the outside in’. What comes from the outside isn’t always good, and so easily feeds the false way.
It’s a bit of a challenge, isn’t it? Jesus warned His followers that they would inevitably encounter opposition and persecution. But they weren’t to worry. The Holy Spirit would give them the words to say so that they wouldn’t lose their integrity. When He was tempted in the wilderness, God’s word enabled Him to defeat the enemy and keep Himself pure.
It’s the same for us. As we allow God’s law to nourish and sustain us on the inside, we will live it on the outside, keeping our integrity.
Prayer: Lord, I’m sorry for the times when I’ve lost my integrity, when there’s a mismatch between what I seem to be and what I really am. Today I ask You to cleanse my heart and keep me walking in Your way. Amen.
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