It is customary at the beginning of a year to make resolutions. We see things in our lives with which we are not satisfied, and we become resolved that this year we are going to make changes. Perhaps you are resolved to lose weight, to exercise more, to spend more time with your kids. Perhaps your resolutions are more serious yet. You are resolved to deal with the difficulties in your marriage. Or there may be other resolutions you are making for this year. Very often the resolutions that we make center simply in self-betterment or self-improvement and our own glory.
As children of God, we may make resolutions as we come to the beginning of a year. We must renew our resolve that we have as children of God to grow in holiness (what the Bible calls “sanctification”), a holy life of obedience before God. As the Bible says in Ephesians 4, the putting off of the old man of sin and putting on the new man which is renewed in Jesus Christ.
An example of a godly resolution is found in Psalm 101:2. I would like to speak to you today on that godly resolution to live a godly life. We read in Psalm 101:2, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”
I have to point out to you that this resolution that the psalmist (David) is making is fundamentally different from the resolutions that you will find in the world being made today. This resolution is the expression of the love of God which was living in the heart of David. This resolution, first of all, was different from the world’s in that it was not centered simply in self-betterment. But it was centered in his life as he stood before God. David was not looking simply to improve his esteem in the eyes of men, or his own self-esteem. But he was concerned with the eye of God who would judge his heart. And he is resolved there that his life would be before God.
Secondly, this resolution is not made out of human strength or will. This resolution arises out of the new desire of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. Out of the life of Christ, given to us in our heart, arises this resolve to lead a godly life.
Is this your resolution for this year? I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
You see here that David, the psalmist, feels the weight upon his heart, the constraint to live in the presence of his family in a godly way. And he is very concerned about his conduct both publicly, as he is reigning as the king of Israel, and privately, as he lives in the sight of his family. David does not assume a “devil-may-care” attitude. He does not live as if his life is, first of all, proclaiming his own freedom, letting everything hang loose. No, he is delivered from that. God’s glory is his desire. And he understands that his actions and his deeds are important as he stands as the king of Israel and as he stands as a father and husband in his own house. He says, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”
Now David is seeking here a perfect way. That word “perfect” means “blameless,” or “unreprovable.” We could translate it “sincere.” I will behave myself wisely in a sincere way. “Way” in the Bible is our walk of life. So David is saying, “I am not content merely to be an outward professor of religion. I am notcontent merely to give an external confession of my religion. But I am resolved that my thoughts and my actions before men, as I stand publicly as well as privately in my own house, might be sincere, that is, in harmony with my belief, consistent, in order that no objection can be raised that some could say that I say one thing but I do another.”
In his resolution, proceeding from his heart, David speaks here that he wants to do this with a perfect heart, not simply in a cold, programmed way, but from that perfect, or upright, heart; that heart which is the product of God’s grace; that heart which is the gift of the Holy Spirit working the life of Jesus Christ within us. Out of that he wants to behave himself wisely, prudently. He wants the Word of God, the love of God, the glory of God to be before his eye at all times. Whenever anything arises, at his work or in the home, in his conversations or friendship, in every part of his life, deliberately he wants to have his entire behavior governed by the Word of God, proceed out of love for God, and be done unto the glory of God. You see, David is saying here much more than simply what we say to each other when we say, “Think before you speak, do not put your foot in your mouth.” David has a sanctified desire that, as the king of Israel and as father in his house, he will walk consciously with God out of a perfect heart. He will bring everything that he does and all that he speaks before the Word of God in order that it might meet God’s approval and be done for the glory of God.
Is that your resolve?
Today, it is ingrained in us more and more to be careless, or to have a callous indifference about anything other than ourselves, to be, perhaps, rash in our speech or conduct or thoughts, and to live our life as we want. This godly resolve is saying, I don’t want to live my life as I want. I don’t want to live my life without thought as I stand before God. But I want my life to be consistent with the Word of God, to be consistent with my confession as a child of God.
That this resolve is indeed sincere David shows in the entire psalm. Take time today to read Psalm 101. The sincerity of David’s resolve carries throughout the whole psalm. It appears, first of all, in what he is going to look at. He says in verse 3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Positively, he says in verse 6, “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful.” David knew the power of a look, he knew the power of thinking about something, of entertaining himself with wicked things. Do we?
You see, the resolve to live a godly life must be carried out in deeds and actions. And it carries into what we are going to watch. It is to say, I will set before my eyes no wicked thing.
Still more, his resolve carries over to the friends that he will have. In verse 4 he says, “A froward heart shall depart from me.” And in verse 7, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house.” How many godly resolutions lie crumpled as a wadded piece of paper in the wastebasket, never read by men in our lives, because of the influence of so-called friends? David says, I am resolved to turn aside from wicked friends. So often, you know, it is the wrong companions that lead us to break our resolutions unto a godly life.
And still more, David says it is going to carry out in what he listens to. He says in verse 5, “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off.” And, in verse 7, “He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” If we give our ears to hear gossip and the latest tidbits of rumor and evil, if we begin to get the lowdown on every one, we will never keep the resolutions unto a godly life. No, David says, “I am resolved to behave myself wisely and therefore I will form no ungodly friendships. But all of my friendships, my attitudes, my thoughts, even what I look at, will all be in conformity to the will of God.”
Is this resolve yours? Then you must begin in your home. David says, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” There is where David will begin.
David sees here a connection between the throne room where he sits as king and his living room where he sits as a husband and a father. That is, David sees a connection between his public life and the duties of his private life. And it is well that he does see a connection, because there is that connection for every child of God. You must know that. Sometimes we want to deny that. Sometimes we pretend to ourselves that we can lead two lives. But that is not possible. The root of true godliness and sincere Christian living is to be found in the home, for that is the way God willed it. David says, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” Only when that is the case can he say, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way” when in public.
If there is no humble, sincere resolution to behave yourself godly in the sight of your wife, children, husband, or parents, there can be no true resolve to do so in your office, workplace, school, or when you are in public. David knew that from experience. So do we. So often our failures behind the walls and doors of our own home are revealed in our walk outside of the home as well. That is because the gospel always confronts us at the heart, always comes to the very core of our life, and stands there, first of all, with its call: Be holy, live unto me first, at the most basic part of your life. For most of us, that is the home. In those most intimate relationships of marriage and home, parent and child, right in the home, there the gospel calls us to holiness first.
When the gospel of Jesus Christ calls you to a new and holy life, when Jesus Christ says to you, “Be a shining light in the midst of this world,” then that call does not stop first of all at the office and ask your boss and fellow workers what kind of a person you are. That call does not, first of all, go to the super market where you shop or the businesses where you hold accounts and ask about your credit. It does not first ask the guys that you chum around with, or your teachers or friends that you have at school (before whom we can be all sweetness). But it comes into your home. It comes behind the drawn curtains. It comes into our marriages and families. It comes to our parent/teenager relationships. And it asks this question: Is there any reality there? Has Jesus Christ been there? Has His presence warmed the walls of your house? Is His presence felt in your marriage? Is His presence felt in your parent/child relationships? There the first works of a sanctified heart are to be seen.
A sincere Christian life is not seen, first of all, in how a man treats his secretary, but in how he treats his wife. A sincere Christian life is not seen, first of all, in how you treat your friends, but in how you treat your own sister in your house. A sincere Christian life is not evidenced, first of all, in your reputation and your skill in the business world or in the office, but in how you stand before your children in the home. The work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in order that we are resolved to live a sincere Christian life, begins, first of all, with our life in the home, that our life there in marriage and in parent/child relationships be brought into harmony with God’s Word. There is our life at its spring, at its fountain, at its source. There God says, “Serve me.”
We can understand that. We can understand that there is a connection between our life in private and our life in public. That is why David says, “I am resolved to live a godly life. Because I am resolved to live a godly life I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” You see, only when we walk within our house in a perfect way is there validity or sincerity to our Christian confession. We have the words of I Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
David is a king. And he is called to defend the helpless of his land. The helpless must come to him for judgment. He must reign as a righteous king. But if he is to do that, he must begin, first of all, with his own flesh and blood in his own house. If he does not begin there, there can be no validity, no sincerity in his public life.
So also our conduct must be blameless in our own home. We must seek, first of all, to be obedient unto Jesus Christ within the walls of our own home. If we are to stand before the world in which we live and work, and where we bump elbows with the wicked and unbelieving, and if we are to confess to them the gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation in Jesus Christ, and that God is the only God and Lord who must be obeyed, then all of these things must be seen in our husband/wife relationship, in our homes. If there is no forgiveness, if there is no living fellowship, if there is no obedience in the home, then all of our words outside of the home to the world are a big zero.
Still more, you will find that the vitality to conduct yourself in a godly way as you are outside of your home can only come if that godly life is connected to your living in the home. Have you ever had the experience when your mouth has been stilled by your own conscience? You knew that you were called to say something, something of the truth of God, but you could not say it because, ringing loud in your ears, your conscience said, “But it is not so with you in your own home. In your own home you do not live up to what you are about to say to this other person.” Therefore, your mouth was stopped.
The vitality of our Christian witness and our resolve to live a godly life begin in the home. There, first, must be sincerity, the godly resolve and determination to live a holy life.
That is why David, in the middle of this verse, makes the interjection that he does: “O when wilt thou come unto me?” Maybe you thought that this interjection was misplaced. What is that doing there? you might ask. It is not misplaced. If you understand this resolution to live godly and to live godly beginning in the most private parts of your life, then you, too, will spontaneously cry out, “O when wilt thou come unto me?”
It is as if David, faced with this resolve, and all that it must mean, and faced with his own inabilities and sins, in the midst of the resolve cries: “Lord, when wilt Thou come to me? I cannot do this without Thy presence. How in the world can I perform these godly resolves unless Thou dost come to me.” So, with a heartfelt, urgent cry he says: “Lord, come to me. Then I will behave myself wisely. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Come to me, O Lord, in Thy Word. Come to me in prayer. Give me the grace and strength to do this.” Then, depending upon His strength, you will have the strength to behave yourself wisely, first in your family and then in all of your life. And God will be glorified.
May this be your resolve today and every day: To walk with a perfect heart before God.
Let us pray.
Our Father in heaven, we pray that Thou wilt write these Scriptures upon our hearts that we, too, might have the burden to conduct ourselves to Thy glory first in our house and then in our public life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.