Bible Insights

Do You Ever Wonder If Your Right Behavior Is in Vain?

Keeping Our Heart Pure Is Hard, Especially When God Offers Us Grace and Mercy

There are at least twelve psalms in the Bible written by Asaph. Psalm 73 is one of them. Asaph’s having a bad day.

He’s going through a difficult time. It’s a rough season for him. He’s discouraged and pours out his angst to God in this Psalm. His words are honest and real, gut wrenching and agonizing.

We feel his pain. His pain may be our pain. His questions may be our questions.

At one point he wonders if his efforts to maintain his purity are in vain (Psalm 73:13). I get that.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. It requires effort and involves sacrifice. And toward what end? There is no reward in sight. There is no “well done good and faithful servant.”

Is it all in vain? Taking the easy path seems the easy thing to do. So why not?

After all we have God’s mercy and grace to rely upon, so do our actions really matter? I think that’s where Asaph is at.

This is wrong thinking, and I often struggle with it.

We shouldn’t do good things to gain God’s attention, receive his favor, or even hear his praise. If we do something good for God in expectation of earning something from him in return, we have it backward.

That’s man’s thinking, not God’s way.

Instead our right actions, our purity of word and deed, should come forth in response to what God has already done for us. It’s our thank you gift to him.

God gives us a life worth living, a future to anticipate. Our right response is to adjust our behavior out of gratitude.

Thanking God through our actions and purity is not in vain. It’s the right thing to do and what he deserves.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Psalms 71-75, and today’s post is on Psalm 73:13.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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