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Singing Psalm 131 to assess the economy of your spirit

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-21

You can’t sing Psalm 131 if you are engaging with it at all and not get a sense of the economy of your own spirit, whether you are poor or rich or apathetic in spirit. It compels you to assess the economy of your spirit.

How do you see God? Compassionate? Angry? Just? His compassion makes him slow to anger and willing to pay for the justice he requires for all who put their trust in him. He is the source of peace for all who walk with him, the God of peace.

Is your mode dependent on God or independent from him? Do you see yourself as a fellow worker of God or do you blame God for the sad state of things? Job assessed the economy of his spirit soon after the Lord asked him,

“Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” ~ Job 40:8

Jesus began his sermon on the mount with this concept since it is a prerequisite for all that follows.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“ ~ Matthew 5:3

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

Do you admire God’s unsearchable wisdom? Would you tell him when the news headlines that are too great for you threaten to undo you inside? Would God have you to be complacent, unwilling to help locally where you could meet a need or make a difference for your neighbor? Isn’t it a wonder how God works each individual, sinful life perfectly, moment-by-moment, into his redemptive purposes for the entirety of his people? When you assess the economy of your spirit, you can begin to consider questions like these.

Never complacent, the very next concept Jesus introduces and calls you to is anything but.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4

You mourn at the evil you see all around you and yet are comforted knowing that the Lord is not slow in keeping his promises but will restore all things such that they will be better than if there were no problems to begin with.

Jesus came to bring people out from under wrath and into his grace. There is hope for you when you sin as well as when you are sinned against.

He covers the full gamut in that he makes grace and mercy available to all those who sin, and he makes ultimate healing and comfort available to those who have been sinned against. All just for the asking, trusting that he is who he is: great and good, able and willing to answer.

Jesus would have you ask with hope and believe him that he will do what is right and that he cannot do what is wrong. Most of all, he wants you to know that his very heart is to reward all those who seek him.

You can know that in his infinite economy all things are as they should be. You often don’t see it yet but by faith are working with him striving to do the good he prepared in advance for you to do moment-by-moment as he brings it about in his perfect timing as the good shepherd of his flock.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9

As you assess the economy of your spirit, you can begin hear what has Jesus called you to do. He calls you to love God with all you are and your neighbor as yourself, and take it further, as he loves you.

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Your honest answers to the questions like those above that arise within you as you sing Psalm 131 from the heart, will give you an accurate assessment of the economy of your spirit.

If you find it wearying to be rich or apathetic in spirit, Jesus beckons you to come to him for help to become poor in spirit. He will calm and quiet your soul. You humble yourself by taking his yoke since in sharing it with him, you find that he is carrying the full workload — and he carries you as well.

You are not only okay with that but are happy that you assess the economy of your spirit as poor because only in union together with Jesus does he make you rich.

If you find yourself embittered, disheartened, anxious or angry, in a word, occupied, about how people are treated differently based on their ethnicity or skin color or are apathetic about it, please consider this:

“By recognizing who we are as the people of God — an ingathering of all peoples, each with diverse stories and something to contribute — we tell the watching world that God is doing what he has promised to do. We counter man’s perversions and abuses of separating people by category and see God bring transcendent life and meaning to them. And he promises that he is present with us as we proclaim his truth, to the very end of the age.” ~ Karen Ellis, Director for the Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, quoted from Talking About Race – Gospel Hope for Hard Conversations by Isaac Adams.

You rightly think about each color, nation, and tribe representing the image of the triune God in which each person was made, united in the person and work of Jesus as his bride, his church.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

Singing Psalm 131 to assess the economy of your spirit, it becomes clear that the true battle is of the spirit, not of flesh and blood. The battle begins inwardly on the heart level. Just as the kingdom of God is not ‘out there somewhere’ but within you, so this spiritual battle starts with your inward thoughts before it gets expressed outwardly.

Imitating God’s heart, you work here and now to “counter man’s perversions and abuses of separating people by category” and simultaneously “see God bring transcendent life and meaning to them.”

You ask that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It’s likely that some of the work you are doing on earth will continue in the new heavens and the new earth:

While on this earth, as you assess the economy of your spirit the Lord moves you to eagerly remember the poor asking him to work for systematic societal change for those who are physically poor.

“We have normalized this idea that when you are poor, it’s your fault and so you should be ashamed of it,” Jachimowicz says. “At the same time, we’ve structured society in a way that makes it really hard on people who are poor.” ~ quoted from:

This is the hope and rest you have in Jesus for yourself and for those who are currently either independently occupying themselves with things too great for them (rich in spirit) or who are complacent and uncaring about the oppression that faces those not like themselves (apathetic in spirit).

Singing Psalm 131 you assess the economy of your spirit as rich

Being rich in spirit you take the ball and independently run with it not seeing that the battle is too much for you, not believing that you need the Lord’s help. You ossify your efforts when you expect with certainty what is beyond your ability to know.

Singing Psalm 131 you assess the economy of your spirit as apathetic

Being apathetic in spirit, you carry on as though there is no battle. You do nothing different. “What do I care if it doesn’t impact me?”

Singing Psalm 131 you assess the economy of your spirit as poor

Being poor in spirit, you see that the battle is too much for you, and you lay it before the Lord asking for his help and guidance in your thinking and doing. You aren’t running ahead of the Lord attempting to bring about change sourced from demons or human contrivance, lowering him to the errand boy of your desires and ways.

Rather, the poor in spirit seeking the kingdom of heaven will be partnering with the Lord engaged in helping others right here on earth. What we need is for the Lord to bring the kingdom of heaven into our hearts to empower us to dismantle the evil we see around us here on earth with the love of Jesus. He is the source of all that is good and is worthy of your praise and worship.

He gives you food. You digest it.

It’s important to get the order straight about who does what to avoid being overwhelmed by occupying your mind, as smart as it might be, with what is greater than it can manage as a human being.

You are human. He is other.

He transcends your best ideas as far as the heavens are higher than the earth. You cannot fathom his greatness, love, and wisdom. You cannot conceive what God has prepared for those who love him, for those who wait for him.

When you assess the economy of your spirit, you conclude that bitterness, hate, and vengeance will never do. Self-interest, apathy, and complacency will never do. Merely putting new laws and policies in place that target behaviors but that don’t address the heart will never do because fallen people are experts at finding ways around laws to suit the desires of their hearts.

Holy Spirit, would you please help us assess the economy of our spirits and apply these things to our hearts? Would you cause us to receive them and act from the heart to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God?

The battle is the Lord’s. He’s already won the war. The poor in spirit have their eyes on him for what course to take each moment to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as Jesus loves them.

It is worth taking the time to assess the economy of your spirit as you consider these things. Singing Psalm 131 can help you do that.

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 131

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” ~ Philippians 3:12-21

July 24-29, 2022


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