It’s easy to be that person who speaks out slamming all of the things we have in our culture. It is easy to write the post about how messed up we are because of smart phones, selfies, and social media. It is easy to take shots at the 30-year-old gamer and his friend, the social justice political Tweeter-, both of whom are still living in their parents’ basements. Goodness, yesterday I saw a tweet from a man linking to his article about how he needed to step away from social media—he tweeted it instead of just doing it.
So, I don’t want to take the easy road of declaring that everything modern stinks. That has all been done. But reading God’s word, I am reminded of a couple of prayers we need to have on our lips if we are going to try to live in this odd culture that has become ours in the 21st century.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
These two verses are a great check on us today. They are not hard to understand, but they need to be central to us. David wants God to direct his heart, not toward selfish gain, but toward God’s testimonies. David wants God to focus him, not on getting ahead, but first on the word of God. Because David knows that a focus on the word of the Lord, the testimonies of who God is and what he has done, that will change his personality, values, and worldview.
David also prays that God keep him from focusing his eyes on worthless things. There are so many to choose from, and David did not even have the Internet. Yet David knew that focusing on worthless things would be a way to have his heart turned away from the Lord. David knew that life is found in the ways and commands of the Lord, not in the foolish time-wasters of his day.
If David needed these prayers, how much more do we? On the negative side, let us pray that God would keep us from seeking selfish gain and looking at worthless things. I’m not here aimed at legalism. I will not define for you what is and is not worthless. You, if you will talk to the Lord and study his word, will have the Spirit of God help you to know what is worthless. You, if you will be honest, will know when you are frittering away your time and focusing yourself on yourself and not on the things of God. Pray for God’s protection here.
And do not think that the positive sides of these commands are not important. They are where we find life instead of just turning from wrong. Ask God to incline your heart toward his testimonies and give you life in his ways. That, dear friends, is a heart focused on and leaning toward the words, the proclamations, the commands of holy Scripture. That is asking God to make you a strongly biblical person, a person who loves and obeys his word. You need this to battles selfishness and foolishness in this generation.