Part 2: The Principle of the Whole (vs.2,3)
“Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise? Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.”
Ever felt fractured? Ever sensed there is more to life than the segmented, crazy nine-to-five or 24/7 jumble that often defines our lives? Accepting the goodness and love of God mentioned in verse one was the first facet of our coming into the wholeness God wants for you and me. Part two of this process comes from our embracing something a Russian writer (Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You) called ‘The Principle of the Whole”.
He observed we tend to live our lives from one of three views, three broad categories from which we believe the meaning of life can be drawn. We embrace the me view, the us view, or the Him view.
The me view sees life through the lens of the individual; it says I need to look out for my own personal happiness, because no one else can, wants to, or will. Tolstoy calls this the ‘animal’ view of life.
The us view sees life through the lens of societies of individuals (the family, tribe, nation or government); it says I will find fulfillment only if I look out for both myself and my group. Tolstoy calls this the ‘pagan’ view of life.
We get the sense now of what he’s driving at. He’s presenting the weakest view first, rising to the second stronger, more viable view. But it will be the third one that really answers the need we have within us to live lives of wholeness.
The Him view sees life in terms of “the eternal undying source of life – God”. This is the principle of the whole. Verses two and three of Psalm 106 echo this principle. They speak of the wonderful, creative acts of God in forming and sustaining our existence, and our only right response in worship of Him. The principle of the whole says that we do what is right — we act justly — when we make Him the centre of our existence. Only then will we find the peace and fulfillment that wholeness offers.
The me and us views of life have their foundation in injustice – they fail to give God due credit for His mighty works and preeminent position. The result of these worldviews will be hollow, joyless lives void of the blessing that comes through praise of our Maker. The call to praise God is not some medieval arbitrary demand by a power-hungry sovereign; it is the place in which we find our souls right with all that is good and loving and true.
Father God – eternal undying source of life – I see clues of You all around, within and without, and I praise you now. You are indeed the source of wholeness. As I praise You I sense that wholeness filling my mind and soul, spirit and heart – even body. And yet, knowing all this, there are times when I slip back into the group ‘us’ mentality of the meaning of life, or worse yet, the selfish ‘me’ view. I know the confusion and fracture these forays produce. Please draw me by Your vast love and goodness, up and ever higher, into the source of life, the wholeness of You, great Giver of Life. You alone are worthy of praise. Bless the LORD, O my soul.