Daily Devotional: Psalms 17:1-5
1 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer--it does not rise from deceitful lips. 2 May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. 3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. 4 As for the deeds of men--by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
While these two passages seem to portray opposite attitudes toward serving God, they do not. The Psalmist is talking about his personal commitment to God and his intense desire to always do his will. When we study the life of David, we see that he faced all kinds of temptations but resisted most of them. He was human like us and he did fail at times but his heart was always set on serving God. When he did sin and was faced with it, he repented with great sorrow.
The apostle Paul was just as determined to follow Christ in all things. He said that he no longer lived but by faith Christ lived in him and that his will was crucified with Christ. Paul just recognized that his true righteousness and thus his standing with God was not based on his own works but was based on being forgiven and his absolute trust in Jesus. His only boast and glory was in Jesus, in his death, his burial and resurrection and the cleansing this gave him (and gives us).
Holy Father in heaven, give me greater faith to trust in you, in Jesus and in your word. Give me wisdom to understand your will for me and strength to carry it out each day. Keep me from being greedy or putting my trust in material things so I will keep focused on Jesus as my example and heaven as my goal. There are so many of my friends who face physical problems, who are sick and facing surgery or are taking treatments, so I ask your healing for each of them. Even more than physical healing, give them your peace. Give strength to those who are struggling to be faithful to you. Use me to help each one. I pray in the name of Jesus.