I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life— when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.
Talk about an attitude of gratitude! David really captured the idea here. This Psalm recalls the early days of our relationship with the Lord. First came the love and unbridled praise as we began to comprehend what the Lord has done for us. And then, overflowing with gratitude, we started consciously modifying our behavior, doing that which we knew would please Him and avoiding that which wouldn’t.
Not because we were trying to impress Him, we know that can’t be done. Not because we were trying to earn any favor or position. We’d already been granted both. Not from fear of loss. He gave us everything before we’d done anything. But out of a pure and simple desire to please Him, to show how much we appreciated all He’s done for us. It was a response to love.
Where many Christians use the phrase “What would Jesus do?” primarily to influence the behavior of others, we began to ask ourselves the question, in a concerted effort to improve our own behavior and more nearly emulate our Lord.
Prompted by the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit, we delved into the Bible, soon discovering exactly what the Lord saved us from, the destiny we were busily crafting for ourselves when He came along. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-3) Our reaction to that passage was comparable to the feeling of having been yanked at the last second from the path of an out of control semi, and our level of gratitude soared even higher.
Having learned what we’ve been saved from, a little more study revealed what we’ve been saved for. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7) What’s that? We’ve been seated with Christ in the Heavenly realms? And in God’s view this is already done? Why? To be the shining example for countless future generations of humanity, of the incomparable riches of God’s grace. He’s never done anything as great as what He’s done for the church and never will again. We’re his crowning achievement.
How does one express the kind of gratitude that the knowledge of these things evokes? We don’t have anything He needs so we can’t repay Him. There’s no favor we can return. Our Spirit driven response from the early days is even more appropriate today. We can try to behave in a way that pleases Him. Words alone can’t do it, the gift is too enormous. It takes action. Action prompted by an attitude of gratitude.