Sunday we began a brief study in the book of Psalms. So, this morning in view of preparing, I read a sermon by Pastor Mark Dever entitled, “The Message of Psalms: Wisdom For Spiritual People.” I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to pass a little of it on to you.
In the sermon Dever seeks to show that the Psalms give us a full-orbed picture of what true, biblical spirituality is. In doing so, he presents 7 characteristics from the Psalms of biblical spirituality. I will simply present those characteristics along with a Psalm reference and a quote for each one:
#1: Praise-Giving–(Ps 145)–“Fundamental to any biblical spirituality is a real joy in God and in who he has revealed himself to be. Biblical spirituality is never centered on people… Rather, biblical spirituality is always focused on God… It’s enraptured with God… and rejoices in him.”
#2: Honesty–(Ps 10)–“Sometimes we think it is more spiritual not to feel pain, and if we do, not to acknowledge it…But according to the Psalms, the truly spiritual person knows suffering, difficulties, distress,… A truly spiritual person… knows the real anguish of crying out to [God].”
#3: Remembering–(Ps 136)–“If we want to follow the model of spirituality given to us in the Psalms, we… need to be a people of memory. God’s promises will bring us hope of future goodness, especially when watered by the memories of past goodnesses.”
#4: Morality–(Ps 1)–“Right belief or words without right behavior has a simple name in the Bible: hypocrisy. Anyone who presents himself as a spiritual or good person and yet lives contrary to God’s revealed Word is deluded and deluding… Christian lives are different.”
#5: Changing–(Ps 32)–“Wrongdoing alienates us from God and from others. When we become aware of our wrong, we need to observe the psalmist’s practice of changing…we need to repent…A Christian faith that does not bring change is a false faith, even if it is surrounded by much emotion.”
#6: Trusting–(Ps 62)–“The psalmist calls us to release everything else in which we might place our trust and to trust in God alone. Nothing else will hold us!…At the end of the day, living the Christian life requires us to deeply and profoundly give up on ourselves and trust God and his Word. We cannot do it any other way. The truly spiritual life is marked by relying on one greater than ourselves.”
#7: Thanksgiving–(Ps 100)–“When we read these Psalms, we should be challenged by how quickly God hears us, and by how quickly we forget.” “Let’s agree that we cannot out-give God! Let’s even agree that we are not able to thank him for every individual gift that he gives us. But can we a least thank him more than we do, both as individuals and as a church?”
So, are we spiritual people? Do our lives reflect these characteristics? Let us fix our eyes on Jesus in whose light and from whose life we see the perfect portrait of a truly spiritual person.
May God grant us grace to experience and live out true spirituality.
(Quotes came from “The Message Of The Old Testament” by Mark Dever and published by Crossway, 2006)
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Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.