Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a reward from God his savior. (Ps 24:3-5)
In order to do anything, to accomplish any task, to achieve any goal, there are a certain number of preconditions or requirements that must be met. For example, if anyone wants to build a home, that person would first require a set of blueprints, building permits, building supplies, and skills that would lend to the building. Without any of these, the building project would end rather horribly.
If anyone wants to go on vacation, there is a certain amount of planning that is necessary. There is packing that needs to be done, mail service or newspaper delivery that must be halted, arrangements made to care for animals, watch the home, et cetera. One does not simply jump into a car or onto a plane and leave without taking care of the preliminaries.
The psalmist reminds us that there are certain preconditions that must be met in order to achieve holiness. Can anyone ascend the mountain of the Lord and stand in His holy place? No. The one who will be able to do so is the one “whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.”
When we have a clean heart and we rid ourselves of that which is vain, we look away from ourselves and toward God. If we are concerned only with ourselves — our feelings, our wants, our desires — we will not be able to see the Lord as clearly as we need in order to remain on that path to holiness. If, on the other hand, we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, we will be in a better position to respond to Him.
Life is all about preparation. After all, what we are preparing for is that moment when God calls us from this life to the next. If we want to take that ultimate journey, we have work that needs to be done.
FAITH ACTION: Make a good examination of conscience today to see what things need to change in your life in order to be more prepared to respond to God’s call.