No Good Apart From You

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (Psalm 16:2, ESV)

In this sixteenth Psalm, David acknowledges the goodness of God, and what was true for him is true of us.  We have no good apart from God.  In a world stained by sin, He is the pearl of great price.  The goodness of God is a necessity for a full and fulfilled life.  Our hearts too ought to cry “You are my Lord;  I have no good apart from you.”

We have no good apart from Him because he is the giver of every good thing.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17a, ESV)  Whatever good thing we have in this life, it is a blessing from God.  Be thankful and full of praise for those you love, for the earthly goods with which He has blessed you, for health.  Even if you have none of these remaining, be thankful that you yet have breath.  If you count anything good in your life, know that this good thing has come from God.

We have no good apart from Him because, for the Christian, He is the source of our righteousness.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (NIV)  But we do have righteousness, goodness before God, because we have been clothed with Christ: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment.” (Galatians 3:27, HCSB)  We have put on Christ, and when God looks at us He sees the goodness of His Son.    We have been “found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ–the righteousness from God based on faith.” (Philippians 3:9, HCSB)

We have no good apart from God because this life would be without meaning and purpose if we did not have Him.  We are not cosmic mistakes, nor has God forgotten us.  On the contrary:

  • He sees us. “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” (Psalm 34:15, ESV)
  • He has good plans for us.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
  • He has a purpose for us.   “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

We have no good apart from God because there are only two paths we can take in life, and only His path is good.  It may not seem so to us, but the spiritual landscape is quite simple:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

If we choose our own path, we reap destruction.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV)  The good path is walked in the steps prescribed by God; not lived by what we think is right for us, but by what He knows is best.  Realize that there is a spiritual battlefield, a war being waged for your soul.  His plans are to “prosper you and not to harm you,” but know also that “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, KJV)  We have no good apart from God because, if we are not committed to Him, we instead fulfill the plans of the enemy of our souls.  Choose this day whom you will serve, and choose wisely.  The temporary pleasures of sin cannot compare to the good things Christ has in store for us:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10, ESV)