i will praise you with an upright heart, when i learn your righteous rules. [psalm 119:7]
if we don’t know we’re sinning, how can we repent and grow?
when i learn your righteous rules
it’s easy to think we already know God’s rules, but how well do we really know them? one of the chief difficulties in obeying is seeing how God’s righteousness can be shown in all circumstances. for example, we probably all know not to gossip. let’s say someone asks a personal question they shouldn’t about someone you know. being truthful may be gossip, but simply saying “i shouldn’t say” can imply the answer and give it away, allowing the gossip to continue anyway. sometimes a good lie can kill the gossip, but at the cost of lying! most likely the best thing to do would be to immediately confront that person for asking gossiping questions, but what if you don’t think of that right away and give away the answer, or lie protecting it?
learning to quench gossip while being honest is more complicated than just not bringing it up, and we learn by going to the Lord to ask Him to convict our hearts for the way we talked to people today and repent whenever we receive conviction. only the Holy Spirit perfectly knows the law and how to apply it in every situation, and only by pursuing him through prayer and his word can we learn his righteous rules.
i will praise you with an upright heart
so if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. first be reconciled to your brother, and then come offer your gift. [matthew 5:23-24]
the beauty of receiving conviction and repenting before the Lord is his grace never runs out! seeking conviction from the Lord and repenting of our sinful ways leads to our sanctification, and allows us to praise with an upright heart. do not wait! do not try and get anything from the Lord in prayer until you repent from your known sin and ask him to show you your unknown sin so that you can grow in your holiness!
Lord, teach us to delight in your correction, give us a longing to submit in all ways to your law!
~ stephen hall