When we are in the middle of difficult circumstances, there is nothing more powerful than knowing that God is with us and that all is well. Our needs are already known and supplied. We do not have to ask God for anything, we merely have to open our minds to the knowledge that there is only good in our life and bless our circumstances. God is the source of our wisdom (light) and our inheritance (salvation), the psalmist says. In the knowledge and understanding of our rightful place as children of God, what should we fear? All that is God’s is ours, how can there be any lack? “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31)
In the light of this Truth, all of our worldly experiences take on new meaning. When negative and destructive thoughts threaten to take hold of our mind and destroy our body (evildoers assail me to devour my flesh), they cannot be successful (they shall stumble and fall). No matter how many thoughts rise up against us (though an army encamp against me), we can remain steadfast in our faith.
How are we able to withstand the battles of life? We must remain single-mindedly focused on God and the Christ Presence within (the house of the Lord). For in God alone we have protection and stability. This army and war that we are speaking of is an internal war; a struggle of the carnal and mortal minds against the spiritual mind. We as Truth seekers know that the most trying spiritual warfare takes place in the battlefield of our own consciousness. When we begin to embrace our spirituality, we may consciously and intellectually want to undertake the journey. However we find that there are deeply seated emotions, beliefs and habits that undermine our efforts to change. We know that we should meditate and pray daily but it is so tempting to stay in bed for another 30 minutes. Our mental habits are so deeply engrained in our consciousness, we do not even realize how large a part they play in everything that we do.
There are tests that we all experience. They are not tests given to us by God, rather it is typically us testing God. It is a way for us to see God’s path for our lives more clearly. We might know that God will always protect us (he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble), but it takes us time to understand that we can be protected from the chaos of the world only to the extent that we willingly submit to God.
As we progress in our life lessons, we begin see these subtle saboteurs more clearly and easily (my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me). This is called the process of detachment. It is important for us to be able to separate ourselves from our thoughts and it is the first and most important step in being able to get control over our thoughts. Once we detach ourselves from our thoughts we can release them (offer in his tent sacrifices) and open our minds and hearts to the Truth.
Verses 7–10 seem to suggest a dramatic turn in the psalmist’s state of mind. However upon closer examination these verses are not so strange. Rather than viewing them as indicating a weakening of faith, they can be viewed as the process of coming to the Lord in humility. Spirit can only do its work through an empty vessel. We must remove all traces of our self-centeredness and self-reliance. Unless we are able to detach ourselves from all of our worldly concerns and ideas (if my mother and father forsake me), we do not leave room for God. But if we approach the altar knowing that God is our only source, all things are possible.
The simplest and most direct way, is to walk the straight and narrow path (level path). In Christ, we have been given a blueprint with which to build our house quickly and efficiently, but we must follow it closely. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus reminds us constantly that all that he does is of his Father not of his own doing. The struggle with our personal will is the biggest obstacle to attaining the consciousness of Christ (do not give me up to the will of my adversaries). As long as any part of us believes that we are self-sufficient, we cannot get there. But if we maintain our faith in God and wait for the guidance of Spirit (wait for the Lord), we can take each step on the path in the knowledge that we will not stumble because we are in God’s hands.