SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011
‘HOW TO LIVE A BLAMELESS LIFE’
‘Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill’? Psalm 15v1.
GOD calls his people to be morally upright, and, in this Psalm, he gives us 10 standards to determine how we are doing. We live among evil people whose standards and morals are eroding. Our standards for living should not come from our evil society but from God.
To be in the standards of God, the Psalmist describes the believer as ‘Those who lead a blameless life and do what is right’. Such could be found in the mould of Job: ‘There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless; a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil’ (Job 1v1). Is it possible to find such persons in Nigeria today, Christian denomination or persuasion notwithstanding?
‘Those who speak the truth from sincere hearts’: Words are powerful, and how you use them reflect your relationship with God. Perhaps nothing so identifies Christians as their ability to control their speech – speaking the truth. John 8v32 says: ‘You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free’. How many people sincerely speak the truth from the bottom of their hearts, even if the transaction is business or political?
‘Those who refuse to gossip’: Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and variations into the information transmitted. The term can also imply that the idle chat or rumour is of personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation. The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation, as through excited discussion of scandals. Some newspapers carry “gossip columns” which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities. Watch what you say as a child of God. See James 3v1-12. The control of the tongue is very essential to avoid gossiping. It damages relationships and leaves a deep wound in the hearts of people.
‘Those who do not harm their neighbours’: When someone trustingly dwells by your side and is later hurt, I think it leaves much to be desired. Jesus gave a teaching on neighbourliness in the story of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10v25-37) Are neighbours safe with you? What of their children or daughters?
‘Those who do not speak evil of their friends’: A friend does not stab, even if he needs a promotion. He would not use undue advantage to achieve an unbridled aim. Many do so, and this is bad. If you speak ill about a friend, what do you gain? A friend in need is a friend indeed.
‘They despise flagrant sinners’: You may love a sinner with a view to saving him but not loving his sin. If one loots and you keep the loot, it is bad. You should condemn sin in order to win a soul. God insists: “Those who despise me, I will also despise’. (I Sam. 2v30 (b))
‘Those who honour faithful followers of the Lord’: It is our duty to honour those who sincerely follow the Lord. It takes a believer who is morally upright to accord true followers of the Lord such honour. In our age where money speaks, such could be overlooked. How often, privately or publicly, do we honour those who follow the Lord? In a nation where those who are supposed to be in prison yards are celebrated, there is call for sober reflection. Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach.
‘Those who keep their promises even if it hurts’: Many hearts are bleeding. People make promises and fail to keep them. This trend is found even among believers who claim to be preparing for the heavenly home. Have you broken a promise recently, whether in marriage, contract, etc, retrace your steps. Those who keep promises even when it hurts are blameless before God and man.
‘Those who lend money without charging interest’: God was against the Jews’ charging interest or making a profit on loans to needy, fellow Jews (see also Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-37), although charging interest on loans to foreigner was allowed (Deuteronomy 23:20). Interest was also permitted for business purposes, as long as it wasn’t exorbitant (Proverbs 28:8).
Some people are so obsessed with money that they will change their God-given standards and life-style to get it. If money is a controlling force in your life, it must be curbed, or it will harm others and destroy your relationship with God. (Psalm 15:5).
‘Those who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent’: No matter the pressure, we should avoid lying. At least, the Bible calls the Devil the father of lies.
Given all the above, who can successfully live a blameless life; not smeared before the Holy sanctuary of God? Remember, God cannot lower His standards. It therefore calls for prayers and request for help from the Holy Spirit of God. Certainly, the arm of the flesh shall fail us. God demands that we be upright and blameless. The time for us to do so is now.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.