My ethnic heritage is pretty diverse. On my dad’s side, there’s a smorgasbord of cultural identities: German, Irish, French, Native American (so I’m told). On my mother’s side, there’s Japanese. Given my particular mix, it’s no wonder that I esteem honor so greatly. I value my name. If someone speaks my name, I want their mental image to be one of an honorable person. This sounds pretty good on the surface. But, it can be pretty warped.
As I was growing up, I endured a lot of dishonor with my family name by no fault of my own. I won’t go into details, because they don’t matter, except that it drove me to feel like I had to rescue my name. I determined that I was going to live an honorable life. It was an obsession to lift my name in stature and respect. I made deliberate choices in the company I kept, the profession I pursued, even the flavor of Christianity that I eventually chose.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:7)
This really is a beautiful psalm. David, it seems, is feeling pressure from all sides. My opinion is that the weight of leadership was crashing in on him. As he composes this psalm (who knows how long it took), in typical fashion, we see a movement in David’s spirit. First, an assertion of his faith in God. Then he offers lament over circumstances. At verse 7, he is already deep in an affirming proclamation of the refuge found in God.
As I read verse 7, I cannot help but be deeply contemplative over one phrase: my honor.
Have you ever had your honor attacked? Your integrity impugned?
I have. My initial reaction is defensiveness. “How dare they judge my integrity! Who are they to cast stones at me? I do the best I can!”
My. Me. I.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
I think there is virtue in trying to live an honorable life – but only as a byproduct of a holy life. It is in God that my honor is birthed. It is in God that my integrity is rooted. It is in pursuit of God’s agenda that either matter. Ouch.
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
May my life be a pursuit of God.