Friday, April 7, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Keys that renew the reciprocity of righteousness

The Reciprocity of Righteousness
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” –Psalm 24:4-5 (ESV)

When I was young, I was fascinated by keys. They opened doors. I admired men who had large key rings. I equated the ability to open doors with responsibility and authority. When I was 10 years old, my father gave me a house key. Later, I got a car key. Now I had freedom, I thought.

As I matured and became religious, I discovered some spiritual keys. These keys opened doors of interior authenticity and eternal realities. I became aware of my responsibilities to God, taking good care of my body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, my family and to my community.

Spiritual disciplines and authority over evil inside myself and outside were illuminated to me. I began to comprehend that spirituality was a portal to expansive freedom rather than restrictive rules. I became aware that spirituality was a symbiotic cycle rather than a parasitic relationship. As I received and shared, I received more to share.

The writer of Psalm 24 distills this process to the simplest essence. The clean hands and pure heart are metaphors for renewal and clear, forward focus. Innocence and piety flows into doing good things for people, and enhancing your quality of life, righteousness and blessings.

Life experiences can rob us of naivete. Moral injuries, disappointments and failures can jade us. But life requires that we keep living. It is easy to move through life dragging the baggage of pain and frustration fueled cynicism. Soon, rectitude and a lifestyle of soaring compassion can degenerate into a cycle of simply getting more and doing more.

However, the keys in Psalm 24 are ways to refocus on the presence of God. Psalm 24:1-3 suggests that awe, worship and proximity to divinity are the keys that renew the reciprocity of righteousness. The cycle begins with God awareness and appreciation. Sunrises, sunsets, breath- taking vistas of earth or sea can create awe. The unrivaled beauty of a flower, or a spring of fresh water flowing from a tree, a vast canyon or majestic waterfall can be catalyst for songs of praise.

Reveling in the presence of God can lead to confession and a change of heart that is reflected in open spirits as opposed to clenched fists, open minds rather than myopic bigotries. Tender heartedness feeds optimism and looks for the best in everything, everywhere, all at once.

I encourage you to ask God for godly naivete, the willingness and ability to do good things for Him and His people and for His presence and blessings in the conduct of our lives.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for being with us wherever we go and in all that we do. Let us radiate Your grace and mercy as we live to bless others because You have blessed us. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.