What Are You Living From?

But these other people’s deeds?  I have avoided such violent ways by the command from your lips.
-Psalm 17:4

One question for the Christian is how to live in the world.  How then, shall we live? There are two ways of life in the world.  One is living from God and the other is to live from your self.  People living from God may struggle to, "do so", and be on a journey of learning, "how to", and that is good.

In the other camp, there are is variety of ways that people don't live from God.  Some purely serve their self, while others serve other gods, and there are those who pretend to serve the real God, but are fakers.  It is worth remembering that it was the (most) religious people who wanted Jesus dead.

The two ways of life in the world are the violent ways and the ways of God's word.  Every young person has to learn to walk in the way of God's word.  The violent way says that, "the ends justify the means", "get all you can and can all you can get", and "you deserve it".

These three ways of violence are ways of pure selfishness or robbery.  The word violence means destruction or robbery.  When we do violence, we destroy or rob others.  There is much violence in word and deed in the world today.

The way of, "the ends justifies the means", stands in opposition to the ways of God.  Doing wrong to do right is not God's way.  You cannot cheat to get righteousness.  The way of the world is to compromise or be expedient, "for the greater good".  That is not the way of God's word.  Follow God's word and not the violent way.

The violent way that says, "get all you can, for your self", is not the way of God's word.  The way of God's word is to earn all you can, and to give away all you can, while saving all you can; as John Wesley was fond of saying.  Our appetites are to be disciplined.  Our souls are to first seek God, to first give to God; and then satisfaction will ensue.

The way of violence is the way of, "you deserve it", the way of narcissism.  There were two popular self-help books, I noticed lots of my peers reading, in high school, that gave me pause, even in my young mind: "Looking Out For #1", and "Winning Through Intimidation".  I knew that these ideas went counter to what I had learned as a Christian, in church my whole life.

These selfish, narcissistic, human-centered ideas were violent robbery of others.  There is the violent way of success in life where you grab and take and force.  In stark contrast, there is God's way, expressed in God's word.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being and with all your mind",  (Deut. 6:5 & Matt. 22:37).  Secondly, "love your neighbor as you love yourself", (Lev. 19:18 & Matt. 22:39).  That is the summation of living by the word of God that the psalmist has in mind, from Jesus.

The advice from the psalmist who was inspired to write these words, is to avoid the violent ways of the world by living by God's word.  We know that God's word is a person who is Jesus Christ.  We live by and through Christ, his words and his life; and it is a cross walk, his cross and mine.