I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalm 16:2
This is quite the statement from David: “I have no good apart from you.” How many people, even Christians, could honestly speak these words? How many, from their inmost being, could utter that apart from God they have nothing good? My mind recalls James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I think of Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Jesus, in Mark 10:18 says, “No one is good except God alone.” I agree, cognitively, with what David, James, Paul & Jesus say. I believe that it’s correct that only God is good, all good things flow from Him and He must be the whole focus of our joy and satisfaction. I believe that apart God I have no good. Yet, my belief doesn’t always line up with my heart. Cognitively I believe this to be true, but functionally I often live differently. Functionally, God often shows up several slots down the list of “good things” in my life.
So, how can we begin to close the gap between our minds and our hearts? How can we grow closer to feeling, truly feeling, what David says in the Psalm is true? I believe that the key word for David here is “apart.” What David is saying here is radically profound. He is saying that all things, for them to be truly good, must find their foundation and purpose in God. David cannot be saying here that friendships, spouses, children, work, hobbies aren’t good things. What he is absolutely saying is that these things, detached from God, cannot be good. The only thing that truly can give purpose, meaning and goodness to anything is God Himself. To detach the things of our everyday lives from God is ultimately to render them purposeless. To separate our friendships, spouses, children, jobs and hobbies from God is make them utterly meaningless. Why? Because, it’s at precisely that point of separation that they become temporal. If separated from God all of the things of our lives have a finite existence and the joy, satisfaction, happiness and goodness that they bring will ultimately die. The only Thing that can make the other “things” of our life truly good is God, because He is eternal. If we see our friendships, spouses, children, jobs and hobbies as gifts from God (finding their root/foundation in Him) then they don't stand alone as simply “good things” in our lives, but they are seen now as amazing gifts from a perfect Father to His children. If we see our friendships, spouses, children, job and hobbies as good things to point us back to God (finding their purpose in glorifying Him) then they aren’t simply “good things” that eventually die off, but they are reminders of who our God is, what He has done and they spur in us worship. This is why it so fundamentally important and radically profound that David says “apart from you.” Anything that is detached from God dies, losing its meaning and purpose. For anything to be good it must stay rooted in the only One who is truly good. For anything to have purpose, to bring us joy, to stir in us worship it must stay connected to God. David understood something that we must learn. We must see the gifts of our lives as coming from God, as from a good and loving Father to His children. We must also see the gifts of our lives as pointing us back to God, His goodness, grace, mercy and love. We must learn that must be A PART of everything for if He is APART from anything then these things become meaningless or even more seriously, become idols. For God to stay connected to everything in our lives means that He is ultimate, He is the One to be praised and He becomes the center of our worship and joy, believing that all of the good gifts in our lives are simply meant to remind us Him! Church, let us strive toward this posture and learn that apart from God we truly have nothing good.
PRAYER OF THE DAY: God, help me to see You as good and to see all of the good gifts in my life as reasons to praise and worship You.