Reading: Psalm 15
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…
He who does these things shall never be moved.
(Psalm 15:1-2, 5)
The disciple reflects the one whom he follows. He bears the imprint of his master who has shaped him. We are meant, then, to bear the qualities of Christ Jesus, to be like him. Even the word “Christian” means “little christ.” Discipleship is a call to follow after him and to take up his ways.
But to think that we make ourselves into his disciples, that we are the ones who, by force of will, purify our own character is to take his place and to become our own masters. It is to seek to imitate Christ as only a good example rather than to look to him as your savior.
Despite our best efforts, that’s not the way our sanctification takes place; that’s not the way that we become holy and righteous. In fact, when we pursue discipleship that way, at best we make ourselves hypocrites and moralists. We speak the truth with our mouths but not in our hearts. And because we have succeeded in changing our behavior, we have little compassion for those who struggle to “get it together.”
Instead, true discipleship happens by allowing ourselves to be shaped by the Master Sculptor. Instead of looking at him and then trying our best to be like him—which is, to treat him as though he were dead—our call is to approach him with humble heart which is ready to submit to his active influence.
The psalms are meant to be sung and to be prayed. As such, they are God’s tool for shaping you. As you pray through this psalm, it will condemn you and reveal your sins. You will see that you do not evince these qualities naturally, or completely. And yet, as you confess your sin to him and acknowledge the holy character of the righteous man as true and good, he shapes your heart to be like Jesus—the only truly righteous man.
For it’s on account of him and his work and not your own that you shall never be removed from the house of the Lord.
Father, my pride keeps me from coming to Jesus. I want to do it all myself because it makes me feel good about myself. Your words show me who I really am, that I don’t belong in the house of God.
But you have welcomed me anyways, because you love me. Let that love humble me. Grant to me a willing and pliable heart. Shape me into the likeness of Christ by your Spirit.