“I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.” Psalm 101:1-4
“It is easier for most men to walk with a perfect heart in the church, or even in the world, than in their own families. How many are as meek as lambs among others, when at home they are wasps or tigers.” Adam Clarke
“Piety must begin at home.” Charles Spurgeon
When I was a kid, I had a Sunday School teacher who defined integrity as “what kind of person you are and how you act when no one else is looking.” It’s not a bad definition but could be improved. Integrity is what kind of person you are and how you act once you realize that God is always looking. “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:13). The Lord is always looking. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). This explains why David says in this Psalm, “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.” How a Christian lives when he is home alone is the test of his integrity. How does he live when God alone is present?
I am often reminded of how R.C. Sproul says that Coram Deo is “the big idea of the Christian life.” Coram Deo means “before God.” Christians are called to live before the eyes of our loving God who is always looking. He sees our outward actions and our inward motivations. Nothing escapes the purview of our omniscient God!
We can observe the way this consideration impacted David’s attitude in Psalm 101. It is for this reason that he pondered the way that is blameless (v. 2), refused to set before his eyes worthless things (v. 3), hated the works of apostates (v. 3), desired a perverse heart to be far from him (v. 4), and did not want to know anything of evil (v. 4). After this, if we were to continue reading in Psalm 101, we would see that he was opposed to slander and arrogance (v. 5) and desired to remove all deceit (v. 7) and wickedness (v. 8) from his house. David was a man of God who sought to bring his entire house under the Lordship of Almighty God. He desired his house to be a little temple in which the Spirit of God would dwell. He did not want to do anything in private or in secret that would compromise the presence of God’s favor upon his life.
What a difference this would make in our lives if we walked before the Lord with integrity of heart in our homes! It’s a matter of consistent holiness. We would be able to stop pretending that we are one thing in public while we remain another thing in private. Many masquerade as saints in public but are blatant sinners in private! Pharisees on the streets may be publicans in their homes! Integrity of heart and life is a rare jewel. We should pursue it with intensity, zeal, dedication, and complete devotion.
As one application of integrity, consider the line in verse 3 about not setting before our eyes anything that is worthless. This single line has specific application to our day. We live in an age of electronics and entertainment. Christians should celebrate these good gifts and enjoy them in moderation and self-control. Yet we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that this electronic age does not bring with it a host of temptations. We might apply this verse to what we see while watching television or surfing the web. What should we be setting before our eyes? (Hint: Philippians 4:8) Since we usually enjoy these activities in the privacy of our homes, it calls for self examination. We should try to remember that when we are watching the television, God is watching us. When our eyes go to and fro from website to website, the Lord looks to and fro for those whose hearts are blameless before him.
I once heard of a man who placed this verse (“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.”) on his computer and above his television. Such reminders are not a bad idea, but it would be far better to have these words sealed to our mind and heart. We want to walk with the Lord and bear fruit in every good work.
It is only the grace of the gospel of our Lord Jesus that can grant us the motivation to live above reproach in all these matters. The Lord Jesus who died and rose again can make a hypocrite into a consistent Christian. He washes us clean from all our filth with his precious blood and gives us his Spirit to assure us that we are his beloved and to empower us to live for him. Integrity of heart is rare indeed, but Christ gives us new hearts with the capacity to live for him in sincerity and truth.