Psalm 15 (NRSV)
Verse 1O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Verse 2Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;
Verse 3who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
Verse 4in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
Verse 5who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.
I recall reading many years ago that Ben Franklin had a goal in life to foster practices such as we find highlighted in the “fruit of the Spirit” of Galatians 5:22f.—things like patience, love, kindness, etc. Franklin discovered that he could develop and practice one or two of them fairly well; but to add a third made it difficult to hold on to one of the others. The words of Psalm 15 not only highlight characteristics that are “above reproach”—like walking blamelessly, doing what is right, speaking what is true, etc.—but they also assume that through the Lord God’s help and guidance the people of God will be able to live in such a way even on a daily basis. When Jesus told his disciples as he commissioned them for ministry, “I am with you always, to the close of the age,” he spoke a word of promise that’s meant for all of life. It’s a word that is valid and available to us all.
Lord Jesus, as you walk with us day by day, help us to develop those abilities that will keep us centered on others rather than on ourselves. In your name. Amen.