Really Living


“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1.

What was wrong with David’s soul that needed restoring? We could replace the word “soul” with “life”. Like everyone else, he was aware that his life was out of sync with God from the beginning. He lamented, after he fell into adultery with Bathsheba, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5.

There was a rebellious streak in him that wanted to do wrong for no real reason. The Apostle Paul was aware of the same drive to push the boundaries just because he could. It was as though there was another self in him, taking over the reins and deliberately going the wrong way when his desire was to obey God.

“For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:28b, 19.

David knew, like Paul, that it was not possible to pull himself back on course. The strength of the sin nature in him made it impossible for any self-help plan to work. He needed God to get him back on track. As he looked back over the years, he marvelled that God had been there with him with His provision of grace and mercy which kept him from destroying himself, like so many of his descendants did, by kicking over the traces altogether.

Like all of us, David’s life experiences brought doubts, fears and emotional pain that distorted his understanding of God. His many psalms reflect his feelings and moods; anxiety, depression, resentment, bitterness, anger, guilt, shame, disappointment and grief – he went through it all. One thing, however, makes him stand out from the rest – he turned to God for help instead of allowing his feelings to fester inside him.

“David enquired of the Lord,” was the bent of his life. He found the secret of a restored soul. Instead of brooding, or turning his emotions on others, he turned to the Lord. If only we would take a leaf from David’s book. He knew the Lord well enough to offload his emotional baggage on Him without fear because he knew that the Lord would not be affected by his “stuff”.

He did not need long and costly sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist, or even a Christian counsellor; he had the Lord. It was only at those times when he thought he could go it alone that he went astray. Even then, he chose to return to the Lord and not run from Him as so many of God’s people do because they think that God is finished with them.

But David was not only aware of the grace of God that brought him back from sinful paths and set him right. He also celebrated the good things that the Lord had done through him. He took no credit for his kindness to a potential enemy, Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. Instead of having him killed, he brought him out of hiding into his palace and made him a member of his household. He held no grudges against those who wished him ill when his son, Absalom, turned against him. He “paid forward” the mercy that God had shown him.

David had a passion for God’s glory. Whatever he did right was for His sake and not because he thought he was good. It was his response to God’s goodness to him. He had a “God-awareness” that overshadowed his self-awareness, so that he delighted in the Lord and could wallow in His presence and goodness even when everything went wrong.

David’s recipe for enjoying God’s life in him was to “get out of the way and let God be God.”


Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Luella Campbell

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