I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. –Psalm 101:2 KJV
I came across this verse in my quiet time Thursday morning, and it stopped me in my tracks. I’ve learned when that happens – when a verse or a quote lodges itself in my mind – it’s time to SELAH!
Selah, by the way, means to pause and calmly think about what you just read. Actually the meaning of selah is unclear, but this is one of the proposed definitions and the one I prefer, perhaps because I need a reminder to slow down.
So let’s think about this verse.
First, “walk” in Scripture means the way you live your life – what you say, what you do, your actions and reactions, thoughts and feelings.
“Within my house” – now that’s a challenge. Because it’s “within my house” that I let my hair down, let my warts show, and unleash my tongue. It’s where I allow myself to vent, cry, and feel the emotions I shove down deep when I’m with other people but are simmering beneath the surface.
When I spill sugar on the counter or tea on the floor, for instance, my mouth will speak the frustration in my heart. I’m pressed for time because the day’s to-do list is longer than the day. I’m angry with myself because now I have to clean up the spill (perfectly, of course), and I. Don’t. Have. The. Time. It seems I’d rather have a perfectly clean kitchen than a perfectly clean heart.
Even though there’s no one around most of the time to hear me, my words reflect the condition of my heart, and that isn’t very pretty at times.
And so I pray, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).
More often, though, I’m reminding myself to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth …” (Ephesians 4:29).
“With a perfect heart” – now that’s downright scary. How can I ever achieve perfection? Only God is perfect. I’m like Isaiah when he saw the Lord “Woe is me! I am undone!” he exclaimed (Isaiah 6:5). In the presence of God’s perfect holiness, he felt the immensity of his own sinfulness.
Yet Jesus commands us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48), and perfection begins in the heart, where our desires lie.
So, having a perfect heart begins with desiring one, wanting to be perfect as God wants us to be, and not shying away from a command we feel is impossible.
And so I pray, “Lord, give me the desires of my heart. Replace what I want with what You want me to want” (Psalm 37:4).
Sometimes I have to let go of that which He does not want me to want. I’m not talking only about the sinful stuff, but also the good stuff, such as serving Him.
Sometimes we cram our schedules with so much good stuff that it isn’t good anymore. It’s become “just one more thing” on a plate that is way too full. We’re so stretched out (and stressed out), we can’t give each task the time, energy, and focus it deserves because we’re in such a hurry to get it checked off and move on to the next one. Where’s the joy in that?
A perfect heart. Is it even possible?
Yes. God wouldn’t require something of us He isn’t going to help us to achieve (see 2 Peter 1:3).
Besides, we don’t obtain perfection on our own. Nor do we attain it in one fell swoop. It’s a process, a transformation that takes place over a lifetime from the inside out, with the work and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
A perfect heart – Selah!
Help me today, O Lord, to walk within my house with a perfect heart. Amen.
Read and meditate on Psalm 101.
(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Images in public domain.