Psalm 34:12-13 (ESV)

What man is there who desires life

and loves many days, that he may see good?

[13] Keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking deceit.

We all want to make our mark. We want to know that our lives were not wasted, that what we believed and accomplished helped make the world a little bit of a better place. We would like to think that when it comes time for us to die there will be some sadness. At our funeral we hope that there are at least six men strong enough to carry us out who came because they are heart broken at our death. We want to live long enough to make a difference and we want to see the difference that we have made.

Want to see that your life meant something good? Watch your mouth. Be honest. That is what Psalm 34 12-13 says to us. This is not talking about eternal life that comes by faith. We are not saved because we are honest, although it is true that truly saved people will not be liars (Revelation 21:8). But these verses are talking about a person who demonstrates the changed behaviour of someone who has really come to know God. One of the marks of the redeemed will be honesty. He will be a man of integrity, a man of honesty, a man who does not slander other with his words. A man who does not plot behind people’s backs to get ahead. A man who says what he thinks and thinks good things.

Depart from evil. How often do we hear of executives in companies who have been discovered to be stealing or falsifying the books or cheating investors? They desire life. They want money and all the comforts it brings. And they believe the lie that lying and dishonesty and duplicity will bring it for them. And they become mere shells of men. The one who truly wants to accomplish something worth accomplishing will run in horror from such things.

There will be opportunities to embrace evil. There will be chances to dive into a life of immorality, and emptiness and greed. And it will produce anything but the good that he began his career with. The board rooms of the nation are littered with the immoral, dishonest memories of men and women who got sidetracked from a life of service to mankind and doing good by becoming a part of a sorry chase after all the wrong things. By the time they wake up it was too late. They followed the dictates of a sinful heart into all the wrong places and the words at their funeral will be anything but glowing, if the words uttered there are true at all.

The solution is to get the dictates of the heart repaired. This is what the Gospel does. It delivers us from evil. It makes people new creatures in Christ. It changes people from evil to good.

Are there honest non-believers? Of course. And we rejoice that there are. We can speak of them another time. The thought today from these verses is addressed to those who desire to achieve good. The Bible tells you how. It also tells you what to do to be the person that you long to be. You cannot be that on your own.

You need to be changed from the inside out. This is what Jesus accomplishes through His life, death and resurrection. You are not good. But God promises to credit you with the very sinless righteousness of Jesus Christ if you will come to Him and seek His forgiveness and rescue from a heart that cannot repair itself. It is glorious truth and it is for all who will hear and believe. Or as this Psalm also says:

“let the humble hear and be glad” – verse 2

“none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” – verse 22