“O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart.”
I try to open up God’s word every morning. Not for study, not for writing, but to hear from God. Because I find myself in an emotional season, I have turned to the Psalms. The rawness of those songs give me comfort as I sing my own ballads. As I was reading this week, a simple truth caught me strongly.
The question is asked, “Who shall sojourn in your tent?” This is where I want to dwell. I want to be near the Lord. I want to be close to the consuming fire. And the song answers the question of who can be there. It is the one who “walks blamelessly and does what is right.” I read that and I ask God if there is any habitual or unconfessed sin in my life. Are there any shadowed corners that I am allowing to gestate?
And this next idea… it gets me. The person who dwells on God’s holy hill, they “speak truth in his heart.” I sat there wondering what such a thing could mean. And it became clear. The person who walks with God speaks truth to themselves. They are real with themselves. it is a common thing for us to lie to ourselves. And if we deceive ourselves, then how great that darkness.
An example: For a long season, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t that overweight. I was at 350 lbs, but I tried to wear loose fitting clothes and I never tried to exert myself physically… so I would never ever come face to face with just how big I had gotten. I told myself stories. That I was so strong underneath the excess. That someday it would just fall off. And the more I lied, the worse the problem became. I didn’t want to face it.
Many of us have blind spots like this. Things we have become proficient in overlooking. And we have become so accustomed to not seeing, that we forget they were there. Like a loose board on a patio deck, we have walked over it so much we forget it needed fixing. This is how a person can go on to an American Idol tryout with very little skill, thinking that they are the next Mariah Carey. They have lied to themselves about their actual ability and skill. And well intentioned friends have kept their mouths shut for fear of hurting them. Instead, we let them go in front of a camera and make an utter spectacle of themselves.
Walking with God means looking in a mirror. To see God as He truly is reveals ourselves in greater detail. Yeah, when comparing ourselves to the greasy blight of our neighbors, we seem fine. But seen in the light of God’s glorious grace, we then see the utter bankruptcy of our souls.
I have to be real. I have to be honest about where I am, how I got here, and what my life is going to look like. That is hard. I don’t want to admit how hurt I am. There are tears I have yet to cry, and I want to pretend they aren’t there. But if I am going to dwell on that holy hill, I have to face this stuff. I have to admit that I am flesh, that I am soft and frail and wounded. I don’t like that. I’d rather pretend I was a machine and just push through. But to do so, I’d be a liar. I’d be putting a piece of myself in a locked room, and would cease to love out of wholeness. My prayers would tiptoe around the obvious.
I’d encourage you today friends… don’t walk around with your eyes closed. Get real with yourself. Get real with God. Talk to Him about the things that keep you up at night. Talk to Him about the real fears that we fight so valiantly to keep at the periphery. Cause the people who dwell richly in the Lord’s presence are the people who can stand truly before Him, without guilt and shame, because they are seen and known and are still loved. They are victims of grace. Saints are not people who are free from sin, but are instead people who know how sinful they are, and rest in God’s love through Christ’s finished work.
Speak truth to your own heart. Come out of the darkness. Get real. Draw close.
A fellow traveller,