One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4
This verse inspires thoughts of eternal life in heaven with the Lord. The beautiful vision of living in God’s house, worshipping His beauty, and praying in His temple. The verse came up again this morning in my devotion, and I saw a different perspective. I noted the Psalmist declares that he desires to dwell in the house of the Lord – “all the days of my life.” All the days of my life seem to refer, not to a future, heavenly life, but my whole life – all my days—including today.
How do I dwell in the house of the Lord today and always in the mixed-up world of 2020, when everything we see is set against the heart of God and distractions from the smartphone to the election keep my clouded, sinful mind, bound tightly to the old me, not the new one?
It would be natural to think this verse is about heaven because in just about every way, it doesn’t seem possible, in this life, to dwell in the house of the Lord – but I think we’ve been wrong about that. The problem is that we love the world. We love to desire its riches, indulge in its appetites, get ahead, succeed, and win, demonstrating our strength and ability. We’re so distracted we don’t even realize we are chasing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Dwelling in God’s house is similar to “ascending the hill of the Lord,” in that you must have clean hands and a pure heart. You must “love not the world or the things of the world.” In other words, dwelling in God’s house requires a commitment to Him that most are not willing to make.
When Jesus said to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me,” He wasn’t kidding around. We get preoccupied with the meaning of taking up our cross and love hearing sermons about that, but the first thing, the part we would rather overlook, is denying our self. And it is that very selfishness, that love of the world, that will keep us from dwelling in His house in this life.
An old monk gave a few tips for getting rid of the distractions and focusing on the beauty of the Lord instead of our own pursuits. He said:
1 – Avoid self-righteousness
2 – Don’t dwell on past sins forever
3 – Control your tongue
4 – Control your appetite
That sounds like a good start; actually, it sounds impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit and an honest passion for living in God’s presence. If that is what you truly desire, start here.