As I mentioned in part 1, we can see that Psalm 101 is an excellent blueprint for leadership. I explained the vital importance of maintaining pure habits and discussed guarding our feet, eyes, and mind. Now let’s look at verse 3.
Maintaining Pure Company
The third way in which David is going to practice pure habits is to maintain pure company.
Notice the last part of verse 3 and following:
I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
The literal translation of “fall away” here… is “to do acts that swerve.” The idea being works that swerve away from what is true or right–works that leave the straight path and swerve onto the crooked path. Likewise, this word ‘cling’ is very good and very descriptive. It carries the idea of something that sticks to you; like chewing gum. How aggravating is it when you find gum on your shoe right? You almost can’t get rid of it can you? It clings to you! The ideas which swerve from the truth will not stick to me, and neither will those people be in company with me.
Pure company is easier for some of us and harder for others. I work by myself most days. I have my family around me and I don’t see all that many people on some days at least. Others of us, perhaps, have a whole crew of men with colorful language to deal with. It becomes harder in our work associations to manage the company we keep. Sometimes, in business travel, you may not have the luxury of only keeping company with those who have upright hearts. You may be tempted to compromise your beliefs or put them on the back burner for a bit. You may even be persuaded by those in your company to do so. I have heard some in this congregation tell of times when they have been asked to go into places that are not places where a Christian should go. And they have had to politely decline. The pressure is there in the business world for sure! It is understandable that you may have to frequently fight for your standards.
Don’t Live in a ‘Christian Bubble’
Now just as a warning to all of us, on the flip side of things, this is not the idea that we just get off in our little Christian bubble and never associate with anyone else for any reason. There will be times in our lives when we need to get out among others who are not just like us. There will be times when someone who is a little different will come here to church. We must be accepting of those people into our circles. They may be a special project of ours that we pray for and try to be a positive influence on. The idea of the verse today is that David was not going to purposely, frequently surround himself with those who were tempting him to fall.
[box] We need to pull people up to our level and not get down in the dirt with them. It does nothing for the prospects of someone coming to Christ, if you engage in a bit of worldliness with them just to appear to somehow be ‘with the times.’ This does nothing but ruin your witness before them. [/box]
The idea here is that we don’t seek out corrupt company. But if God puts people in our lives that are what we would call a ‘work in progress’, then we should befriend them. We should love them with the love of Christ, and we should bring them up rather than let them bring us down.
Maintain Pure Ears
Then the fourth and final way in which David is going to be pure in habit is… to maintain pure ears. Notice verse 5:
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart Iwill not endure.
David says he is not going to listen to those who slander others. We may have to guard the company we keep in terms of someone who speaks of others in a gossiping fashion or maliciously. It may be that you have to decline the offer to spend time around someone who cannot guard their tongue. Our ears are another avenue into our soul. Our eyes can take in things they should not and our ears can as well. It may be that there are those of us who don’t have a bit of problem with our eyes, and yet we struggle mightily with our ears.
My mom used to say to me, “If you don’t want someone to get your goat, you shouldn’t let them know where it is tied.” This is a good old West Texas way of saying that If you don’t want someone to get the best of you, don’t give them the ammunition they need. Don’t let them know what gets to you. The same holds true of the enemy. He will use the things that tempt us the most. When he came to tempt Christ, he tried to tempt him with things that he thought would appeal to any weaknesses that he had. The only problem with that was that Christ didn’t have any weaknesses. We are not the same as Christ in that regard. Our weaknesses are on full display at all times. We let the enemy know all the time where our goat is tied.
The enemy will come to us in a manner that most tempts us to sin. In your case it may not be your eyes–it may be your ears. You may just love to get the next bit of juicy gossip about someone and this can be just as wrong and sinful as looking at something that you shouldn’t. When Chris was in kindergarten, he had this wonderful teacher that taught this little mantra to her class. You could only speak words in her class that had three qualifications. They had to be true, they had to be necessary, and they had to be kind. If they lacked any of these three, then she didn’t want to hear them in her class. And so Chris would come home from kindergarten and tell us he could only say what was true, necessary and kind. Sometimes that was a tall order for a five year old. That teacher may have had a lot of quiet moments in her class.
[box] Perhaps we may need to have some quiet moments of our own. Moments where someone is not filling our ears full of garbage. David is saying he is going to steer clear of those who want to talk trash and those who have an arrogant and prideful heart.[/box]
Secondly today, David makes another pledge to God beginning in verse 6, that he will only have pure relationships. Look at verse 6:
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
David, as a leader of his country, determined that his cabinet, his closest advisors, were going to have a certain quality about them. They were going to be faithful to God. They were going to walk blamelessly. They would not practice deceit nor utter lies. Notice he says he will look with favor on certain ones. And those he favors will dwell with him and will minister to him, in other words, work with him. He would promote those who were faithful. Anyone who does not meet those criteria will not live with him. I can only imagine that David must have had a huge staff at the palace. Those who were allowed to serve the king were in an exalted position. Even the lowest job at the palace must have been a more exalted job than anything you could do on your own. I imagine the pay was good, the benefits were probably fabulous, they probably ate the best food and they wore better clothes than others. There were benefits to working for the king. But the king had standards about who he would have a working relationship with.
Of course, because this is an extremely practical Psalm today in content, these things can translate to our relationships as well.
[box] This is more than just the company we keep… perhaps at work or our work associates and such. This is about who we have into our homes–who we are intimately associated with. These are to be people of the faith. Our relationships, which are the deeper ones, are to be with those who are Christians. They are to be faithful people.[/box]
Paul focuses in on these types of relationships in Galatians when he says:
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
We have the tremendous opportunity to live and work and fellowship among some wonderful folks. The lives of those of you who attend and join our church are a good bit intertwined. I know that many of you do school during the week together. You do drama and music and martial arts at the same places. There is a lot of collaboration among the household of faith in this place and that is as it should be. We should seek to show hospitality to one another.
[box] I know it is so incredibly easy to get into our routines and never leave time for fellowship during the week. But it is a vital part of our lives to have people into our homes… to show them hospitality… to have them for dinner… or maybe even just coffee. This is something that is missing from our society and it should be a part of the fabric of who we are as a church and as the people of God.[/box]
In a little book called the Hospitality Commands, a man named Alexander Strauch lays out a plan for the Christian to practice hospitality in our homes. He begins with the premise that it is commanded in scripture. In Romans chapter 12… the apostle Paul is outlining the marks of a true Christian and he includes these words:
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13
You know as a Christian, that there are precious few what I would call ‘earthly types of fringe benefits’ to living this life. Most of our reward is waiting on us after we go to be with God. This is a way in which God creates a longing for himself in us. When the world and the things in the world are not all that great, then we have so much more to look forward to. But fellowship among the saints is one fringe benefit of living this life now that is not only encouraged, it is commanded. And it is a benefit that helps all of us when we practice it.
[box] If you are a part of this congregation, don’t live an isolated life. Have people over, find out about them at lunch, sit with someone else and learn about their lives. There are lots of ways to interconnect as a people. These relationships, by virtue of the fact that we have Christ in us, should be our richest relationships. They should be our safest ones–the people we can trust–the people we can truly count on.[/box]
It is such a beautiful thing when a request for help comes across our e-mail loop. The vast majority of the time the outpouring of help is overwhelming. There have been many times when we have had too much help at some place or another. This is fantastic! What a culture of love and help we are developing as a church! What a safety net we have. If you need my help on anything you can always call on me. If you just want to get together… if there’s food… I’m there! It is a beautiful thing for the church of Jesus Christ to be able to rely on one another… to fellowship with one another… to live life together
Watch the full sermon on our Youtube Channel: Koinoina Livestream
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://koinoniachurch.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Pastor-Dan.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info] Pastor Dan Woody is a founding elder for Koinonia. He has been serving churches as a pastor for the past 13 years. He and his wife Peggy are the parents of two sons, Chris and Jonathan. Pastor Dan is currently studying for his Mdiv with The North American Reformed Seminary. His interests include music, and most outdoor sports like golf, hiking, tennis and fishing. [/author_info] [/author]