A Life of Purpose
by Charles R. Swindoll
Some people seem to drift aimlessly through life, headed in no specific direction. Without clearly defined objectives, it is not surprising that many adopt a lifestyle that lacks definition and purpose.
I know a few folks who sort of take life as it comes; no big deal. Reminds me of the time I had been invited to a college campus to speak. On my way to the meeting hall, I met a fellow who was obviously apathetic. Hoping to put a little spark into his plans beyond graduation, I asked him a few probing questions. I'll never forget his answer to my asking, "Where are you going? What are your plans?" With hardly a hesitation, he responded, "Plans? Well, uh, I'm going to lunch."
How typical of those caught in the grind of aimlessness! They live from one meal to the next, without much concern beyond that evening's television programs. They drift through life like a skiff in a swamp.
According to the superscript, this is a song of David, whose life was guided by a specific purpose. He understood God's plan for him and, aside from a temporary slump into disobedience, he pursued the course laid out for him. He made decisions in accordance with his purpose, and served the Lord faithfully for many, many years. He was indeed "a man after God's own heart."
Perhaps more than any other passage of Scripture, these eight verses explain David's philosophy of life. In fact, an appropriate title for Psalm 101 might be "David's Statement of Faith." This is his credo. It declares his spiritual aims.
David committed himself to this credo without reservation. He, of course, failed at times; he wandered from the course, but he always kept the standard before him. In this psalm there is not the slightest trace of diplomatic compromise or vacillation, only simple, straightforward, devout words. Therefore, all who hope to live beyond the grind of aimlessness would do well to observe how David decided to conduct himself.
The Passage and Its Pattern
Psalm 101 could be called "the psalm of resolutions." I count at least ten "I wills" or "I shalls." It reminds me of Joshua's declaration when the nation of Israel wanted to disobey the Lord: "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). For four verses David implies "as for me" and lists his resolutions in five "I wills." Following that, in verses 5–8, he turns to his kingdom, implying "as for my house" and lists seven different types of people, making a declaration about each one. An outline could look like this:
As for Me: Resolutions (101:1–4)
- I will sing (101:1)
- I will give heed (101:2a)
- I will walk (101:2b)
- I will set (101:3)
- I will know (101:4)
- As for My House: Declarations (101:5–8)
- Slanderer (101:5a)
- Proud (101:5b)
- Faithful (101:6a)
- Blameless (101:6b)
- Deceiver (101:7a)
- Liar (101:7b)
- Wicked (101:8)
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