“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” Psalms 86:11 NLT
What a prayer! Indeed, we need to know God's ways so we can live in accordance with His truth! Without His Word we are left to a depraved state of mind. This is why a society cannot maintain civility without religious principle. Listen to this: In his Farewell Address in 1796, President George Washington put his finger on the importance of preserving a freedom of religion within a society: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness-these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, “where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in the courts of justice?” And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who this is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?" (The American Patriot’s Bible – Dr. Richard G. Lee, General Editor; Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2009, pg. 183.) In the last part of today's verse the psalmist asks for purity of heart so he may honor God. Purity is synonymous with God. God alone is pure. If we desire purity, we must rely upon His presence and abide in His principles. As we do this, we will walk in honor. Honor is the product of godly character. In short, God's Word convicts, corrects, cleanses, and consecrates. As a result, purity is known and experienced. As we apply this in the daily thoughts we think, words we speak, and the deeds we do, we will walk in such honorable character that God will be pleased. In turn, this creates an an atmosphere and environment that fosters a wholesome way of life. Without this, society becomes uncivil and unstable. Inevitably, it will implode. This is exactly what is going on in our own nation. Today, let's turn the tide by learning His Word and living our lives in obedience to it. Doing so will promote and preserve a civil, stable society. This is essential to our preservation!
Rev. Curtis Norris