Okay, confession time: I absolutely love lists, but I am a hopelessly disorganised person. (Well, maybe “hopeless” is too harsh.) You could say my love for lists is more of a dependency.
Most weeks, I take time each Sunday night to sit down and plan out my week. On one sheet of paper, with several boxes, I write out which appointments I have on, which activities I want to do with the kids, what needs to be cleaned, paperwork that needs attending to, etc.
This piece of paper then gets stuck on the fridge, and it helps me to stay on track throughout the week.
Sometimes I also like to write a Bible verse at the top of the sheet. This is for me to memorise during the week, but also to provide a focus – an encouragement or a reason for doing what I do.
And last night as I planned my week, I turned to Psalm 37. It is such a fantastic Psalm – I encourage you to go read the whole thing!
I pulled out verses 23-24 to write on my weekly planning sheet for this week:
If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
he makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I find this verse so encouraging, because I’ve been doing a lot of stumbling lately. Hey, most of the last few weeks I haven’t even been making a weekly plan at all!
But I have been steadily walking along, praying and asking God to help me, and I finally feel the sparks of motivation once more!
And so, I come to this verse and it gives me such hope. Though I stumble, I will not fall. God himself is holding me up with his hand!
But there is an “if” in there… “If the Lord delights in a man’s way…”
How do we delight the Lord with our “way”… with the way we live? How do we live in a way that brings a smile to the Lord’s face?
I don’t think this is talking about the “entertainment value” of our lives, I think it’s talking about righteous living as the thing that gives God true, deep enjoyment. When he sees people living according to his way.
The rest of Psalm 37 contrasts the righteous and the wicked again and again.
Here are some of the qualities of the “righteous”:
- they trust in the Lord
- they do good
- they delight themselves in the Lord (enjoying God for God, not just the things he gives)
- they commit their way to the Lord
- they wait patiently for the Lord (especially when he seems slow to deliver justice)
- they refrain from anger and wrath
- the righteous only have a little, but they give generously
- they speak wisdom
- the law of God is in their hearts
By pursuing this kind of life, we give great joy to God. And the humbling thing? We can’t do it without him.
Perhaps this should be my “to do” list for the week…